I’ve been thinking about how I would write this post and what will be included for a while now. At first, I thought that I would make a Top 5 list…..ha….yeah right! Then, I thought I might be able to narrow it down to a Top 10 list…..not happening either. So I decided to not set a number limit and to just list off the books that I absolutely loved reading this year. These are all books that have made it to my very special “Some Of My Favorites” shelf on my Goodreads log. While most of the books listed were given a 5 star rating by me, some of them were given a 4. I’ve mentioned before, but I’m very particular with giving out 5 star ratings for books…so while something might get 4/5 stars from me, it can still make it to my favorites list.
So….for this list, I tried my best to list them in order of how much I loved them or how much they moved me. That was also hard. In the end, I narrowed it down to 17 books that I absolutely loved this year and would definitely recommend to others. That is not to say that there aren’t more that I’ve recommended or really really liked as well…when someone asks for a book recommendation, I try to find out what they enjoy and suggest based off of that. This list is one I feel that has a good mix of genres and topics.
Let’s get to it then….
17. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail – I really enjoyed reading this book. 4/5 stars. Yes…some things about this woman irritated me and yes, there were plenty of times I wanted to slap her for making such poor choices. But I think that was the point of her making this awesome journey. I love the way she told her story and I loved reading about her experience with it.
16. Cane River – Fantastic & tragic story. I loved the way it was split into different parts following the generations of women. It’s a historical fiction that takes place at the turn of the century in the deep south of the country. I also really enjoyed the addition of actual documents and photographs throughout.
15. Out Of The Easy – Ruta Sepetys is one of my favorite authors. I absolutely loved Between Shades Of Gray, as it is one of my favorite books(further up on this list). I was worried this, her second book, wouldn’t hold a flame to that…but it was equally as good. It’s rather hard, if not impossible, to compare the two since the only thing they have in common is the fact that they are both historical fiction. This book, while a serious story and sad at times, isn’t nearly as heavy as BSOG. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I loved reading this story, loved all the characters and didn’t want it to end.
14. The Nightingale – This is the typical Kristin Hannah that I love. The relationship between the sisters was the highlight of the book as well as the historical aspect. If you are a fan of WWII historical fiction, try this one out.
13. Station Eleven – I really really enjoyed this book! Loved the characters and I really wanted the story to continue because I wanted to know more.
It’s a post apocalyptic story without the typical teenager angst. The apocalypse isn’t necessarily even the focus…the characters and their stories are.
12. Unbroken: A WWII Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption – Excellent book! Very difficult to read at times purely due to the haunting details of the story, but it’s definitely worth the read.
I’ve read quite a few books based on true stories of WW2 and its survivors. But this is the first book I’ve read that is about the Japanese side of the war and specifically about the Japanese POWs. Very informative…I learned quite a lot about that aspect of WW2.
My one and only tiny complaint: I find the fact that author, and thus Louie, attributes his complete cure of some pretty severe alcoholism as well as severe PTSD to a few religious meetings with Billy Graham. But…in the end, that part was rather insignificant for me so I didn’t hold it against the story.
11. Bird Box – If you are in the mood for a creepy, eerie, and a make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up book…this is for you! It’s definitely intense and you really FEEL the fear of the characters. I love a good book that leaves me feeling terrified and this did not disappoint. Another plus is that the story line is very unique and like nothing else I’ve ever read.
10. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo – Loved, loved, loved this book! I know I’m late on the hype of this book. But I don’t like to read books or see movies that are played up too much. I like to let the hype drop off a bit and not be influenced by all the other chatter. Anyway…Lisbeth Salander might just be my favorite female character in a book yet 🙂 I can’t wait to read the rest in the series.
9. Winter Garden – I’ve read a handful of other books by Kristin Hannah (see #14 in this list) and I enjoy her writing style. This is the second of her books that made my top list. It did start a bit slower moving… But wow, does the emotion and story pick up.
By the end I was ugly crying. I think the imagery in the end of this book will haunt me and stay with me forever.
8. The Book Thief – Another beautifully written WWII historical fiction that will stay with me forever. The characters are so well written and the story line is just emotionally fantastic. I think, by now, most people have read this book…but if you haven’t….pick it up!
7. A Fine Balance – This was actually the first book I read in 2015 and it is one that was on my to-read list for a while.It’s an excellent story that is beautifully written. This story is such a sad, tragic and beautiful story of friendship. It’s a book that definitely makes you feel fortunate that we are born into a first world country.
6. Orphan Train – Another book that has a historical fiction line to it that I loved. I also loved the relationship between the two main characters despite their generational gap. I felt myself feeling so attached to each of them in different ways.
Ok….on to the pièce de résistance….my top 5 books from 2015. What makes a book an absolute favorite for me is a book that gives me ALL THE FEELS!!! It doesn’t necessarily have to be happy or good feels, but a book must make me FEEL if I’m going to give it a 5 and call it an All Time Favorite. So, here we go:
5. Still Alice – LOVED this book! I haven’t read anything quite like it before. The story line sucked me in almost immediately and I didn’t want to put it down. There were quite a few times that this book made me cry. Heart wrenching and heartwarming all at the same time, if that makes sense. So many strong feels in this one!
4. Between Shades of Gray – This is the second book by this author in my list…so it goes without saying that I’m a huge fan of Ruta Sepetys. I really enjoy historical fiction, obviously… and this book might be my favorite historical fiction taking place during WWII. It takes place during Stalins invasion of Lithuania….a topic I’ve read much less about. Not a feel good story…it’s heavy, deep, and depressing at times. But it’s Oh So Good…and the feels….oh the feels!
3. Mudbound – Wow! What a fantastic story! I loved the way it was written with getting a different character’s perspective with each chapter. The characters, themselves, we’re so colorful and lifelike. It was a book that I found myself thinking about long after I finished reading it. The story had a good pace throughout and towards the second half, I couldn’t put it down.
If you enjoy The Kitchen House or Cane River, you’ll enjoy this!
2. Me Before You – I’m not a fan of romance stories… in fact, I have barely any romance on my read or to-be-read list. But I actually picked this up to fit into the “Romance” prompt of the 2015 Reading Challenge that I completed. I found this title on a list of romance books for people who don’t like romance…lol..perfect! Anyway…this is definitely one of my favorite books I’ve ever read. I could not get enough of the characters and their story. It was so much more than just a romance story.This book had me laughing and crying…lots of crying….ugly, UGLY, go-through-an entire-box-of-kleenex crying!
1. The Kite Runner -Why did I wait so long to read this??? I absolutely loved this book! It’s incredibly sad and haunting but so well written and so engrossing. I know many (if not most) people have already read this book, so my review and it’s place on this list will likely not be a surprise to others….but, I LOVED THIS BOOK!!! I cannot wait to read Khaled Hosseini’s other 2 books.
So…there you have it, my friends! My favorite books of 2015. I started the year with a reading challenge to get me back into the swing of reading more often and it worked 🙂 I’ve read more books in 2015 (58 to be exact) than I ever have in any other year of my life. It also got me to pick up titles that I otherwise wouldn’t have thought to read…and some of those turned out to make my favorites list! 2016 will hopefully bring even more reading, as I’m challenging myself to read at least 60 by year’s end 🙂
I’d love to hear what any of you think of the books on this list! I’d also love to hear what you have plans to read in 2016. I’d suggest to set a personal challenge to yourself to read more in the new year…whether that be a specific reading challenge, like the Pop Sugar 2015 Reading Challenge I completed this year, or just a general challenge to read a certain number of books. But any goals, resolutions, or challenges are most successful when there is a very specific goal set. So…I challenge you….set a goal to read more in 2016! Pick a specific number of books you’d like to complete or start an already set up challenge like the 2016 Pop Sugar Reading Challenge. If you aren’t already a Goodreads member, I highly suggest signing up! It’s a great, free website to track & review books that you’ve read as well as keeping a list of books you want to read. The website also has a “Reading Challenge” tab where you can set that specific goal for yourself to read more. So, keep me posted on what your book plans are for 2016 and HAPPY READING!!!!