My Favorite Books of 2015

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I’ve had an interesting year in books. I read a lot I didn’t love; I abandoned quite a few books (four I can think of just in November and December!). Because of my “book club” with my best friend, I read more classics than I’ve read since college. I read a lot of books by authors I love. I read fantasy for pretty much the first time. I read the whole Bible.

Obviously the Bible doesn’t qualify for this list, because … it’s the Bible. I am so glad I finally read it cover to cover, but I can’t compare it to other books!

Here are the books I really loved reading in 2015.

Favorite Nonfiction of 2015

Nonfiction

  • Being Mortal by Atul Gawande – Probably my very favorite book of 2015. I read Gawande’s book Better years ago when it was released, and remembered him as an exquisite writer. I was not disappointed by Being Mortal. So well-researched, interesting, and important.  (Full review.)
  • It Was Me All Along by Andie Mitchell – Food blogger Mitchell chronicles growing up with food issues, quirky parents, and finding her way to a reasonable relationship with food. This book hit home for me, and I love Mitchell’s authentic voice (here and on her blog). (Full review.)
  • Daring Greatly by Brene Brown – When this book wasn’t making me have a mental breakdown, I enjoyed reading it. In any way, I found it striking and well worth the read. (Full review.)
  • Atlas Girl by Emily Wierenga – Wierenga’s narrative of her young-adult life is rife with grief, caretaking, and eating disorders. Through all this, her faith struggle is relatable and poignant. (Full review.)
  • Real Church by Larry Crabb – At a time when we were really struggling with decisions about our church home, Crabb helped me through my emotions about church and ideals. I put this book into our interim pastor’s hand and although I don’t totally agree with it, I think it could be recommended reading for every Christian. (Full review.)
  • Honorable mentions: Anchored by Kayla Aimee, A Grief Observed by CS Lewis, When Did I Get Like This? by Amy Wilson

Favorite Fiction of 2015

Fiction

  • Winter by Marissa Meyer – I was so happy with this conclusion to the Lunar Chronicles. Meyer is brilliant, and I will read anything else she writes. (Full review.)
  • Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson – This was my 2015 feel-good but not in an overly sappy way YA book. Matson could have made this really cliché and awful, but the book reads so well and I was invested in the characters. A great winter break read if you’re looking for one still (and even better for summer reading – I think it was on the Modern Mrs. Darcy summer reading guide for 2015). (Full review.)
  • Lizzy & Jane by Katherine Reay – I rated Dear Mr. Knightley higher on GoodReads at the time (I read these almost one after another), but Lizzy & Jane is the book I find myself recommending and recalling often. I love that it’s a sister story with strained relationships that they really try to conquer for the sake of family. I loved the food, too, of course, which is probably what put this one over the edge for me! I cannot resist reading about yummy food. (Full review.)
  • Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier – I was captivated by this story, especially in the second half, and understand why it’s such an enduring tale. (Full review.)
  • Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese – I’d seen this book on many must-read lists, but didn’t tackle it until this year. It’s definitely worth the time investment: a chronicle of the life of twins Marion and Shiva, as they grow up without parents in a hospital in Ethiopia. (Full review.)
  • Honorable mentions: All the classics I read this year (The Woman in White, Tess of the d’Urbervilles, Cold Comfort Farm, Wives and Daughters), plus The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate diCamillo, The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, and We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas.

So what were some of your favorite reads of the year?

10 thoughts on “My Favorite Books of 2015

  1. So hard to pick just a few! Some good non-fiction/memoirs that I read were “Heart in the Right Place” by Carolyn Jourdan and “Tattoos on the Heart” by Gregory Boyle. Another non-fiction that I really enjoyed was “Lessons from Madame Chic.”

    “The Sweetness of Forgetting” may have been my favorite fiction from this year. I like cozy mysteries and read quite a few of Donna Andrews. I reread some Jane Austen and also some books based off her books or her characters.

    Last night I spent about an hour rearranging my reading list on my Kindle. I have books that I am currently reading, have started but not finished (and still want to finish) and books that I want to read right away- 81 books. I won’t run out of things to read!

    • I haven’t heard of any of those titles you mentioned, so I will check them out! I used to read cozy mysteries but got out of the habit or overdid it, maybe. I am not a huge mystery reader, but it might be nice to revisit some of those characters this year.

  2. I adored the Lunar Chronicles, which I heard about here. Since I started so late, I could read everything except Winter straight through…and then had to wait. Well worth the read!

  3. Thanks, Jessie! I have added a few titles to my library hold list. I’m certainly hoping to read more books *for me* this year than I did in 2015.

    I think I’ve already shared this title with you on a round-up from a few months ago, but my favorite fiction of the year was Watership Down by Richard Adams.

    This year marks 3 titles by Frances Hodgson Burnett, and I have only a little bit to go to finish Secret Garden. They’ve been enjoyable.

    Favorite audio book was the only audio I completed, A Christmas Carol performed by Tim Curry. I would like to do more with audio books this year. I tend to listen to podcasts if listening to something.

    Favorite non-fiction…I abstain this year. I read a few that were so-so and had some helpful nuggets, but none I’d go out of my way to recommend. I think I ran into a similar situation as you did — I read some books by established bloggers and didn’t want to critique them too heavily. I care about their feelings! 😀

    • I read a lot of blogger books, and it is hard because those feel like “real people.” Obviously some are great and some not for me. I have defaulted to podcasts rather than audiobooks lately too, but if I am driving with the kids I will get one off Overdrive. We just finished listening to The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry and I loved it!

    • Totally understand that!! I finally kicked The Woman in White off that list of mine this year. There are still a trillion classics I need to read. My best friend is an English professor, and we’ve been reading some together this year, which encourages me to actually do it!

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