My Top Ten Best Reads Of 2015

So, I have yet to die of surfeit, although the next forty eight hours might push me over the edge, so before I explode I thought I ought to give you my run down of my top ten books of this year. I’d hate to go with bookish loose ends a flapping and what not.

In no particular order:

  1. The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness – I finished this yesterday. It is absolutely brilliant. In fact, I think, even though I said there was no order, this is probably my favourite read of the year. It’s a teen novel, but do not let that put you off. It is genius and utterly fresh and exciting. I reviewed it here. Buy a copy, read it. Enjoy it and then spread the love.
  2. Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave. I wrote a blog post about this book here. This doesn’t come out until April, but you can pre-order your copy now, and you really should. It’s beautiful.
  3. The Tiny Wife by Andrew Kaufman. This is an absolute gem of a short story/novella. It is magical realism at its best. It reminds me very much of a Daniel Kitson monologue, which if you know me, is praise indeed. I loved it. Be warned. It is short though.
  4. The Green Road by Anne Enright. I’m not usually one for award winning literature. I read it, but tend to find myself disappointed. I caught the end of this novel being serialised on Radio Four and loved it. The book did not disappoint. Funny, dark and strange. It is also written exquisitely.
  5. Fire Colour One by Jenny Valentine. Another teen novel. Why don’t more adults read teen/YA fiction? I despair. There is some seriously amazing writing in this genre that totally deserves a wider audience. Fire Colour One is bold, powerful and absolutely heart wrenchingly wonderful. I wrote a review of it here.
  6. Living, Thinking, Looking by Siri Hustvedt. Hustvedt is an amazing writer. The Blazing World was one of my standout novels of last year. This is a collection of essays about neurology, art and how we see the world. It sounds dry but it is not at all. It is absolutely riveting, thought provoking and brilliant. I wrote about it here.
  7. The Astounding Broccoli Boy by Frank Cottrell Boyce. We all know how much I love Frank Cottrell Boyce so it will be no surprise to see that Broccoli Boy makes it into the top ten. Fresh, funny and wonderful to share. His books are cram, bang full with love and affection and amazingly inventive adventures. What’s not to love? I reviewed it here.
  8. All my Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews. This is a devastating read about a woman whose incredibly talented sister finds the world so very hard to live in, she repeatedly tries to kill herself. It’s raw and brutal and incredibly sad but also rather wonderful and I have thought about it a lot since I first read it.
  9. Late Fragments: Everything I Want to Tell You About This Magnificent Life by Kate Gross. A memoir/farewell, from a dying woman to her family. Beautiful, uplifting, hopeful and not the slightest bit sentimental.
  10. Skink: No Surrender by Carl Hiaasen. Another book for children that’s wasted on children. Hiaasen is a brilliant writer. Funny, sharp and macabre. This is wonderful. The children and I loved it. I wrote about it here.

Special mention must go to Amanda Palmer’s The Art of Asking. This book finally motivated me to write my own book, which is pretty amazing after 43 years of noodling about thinking about it. I wrote about her and the effect of the book, here.

I also seriously considered Louise O’Neill’s Asking For It, another stellar teen/YA novel about rape and consent which is a powerful and difficult read but absolutely brilliant. I wrote about it here.

Finally, my  very speciallest special mention goes to The Shepherd’s Crown by Terry Pratchett, which I wrote about here.

It’s been another excellent year of reading and I’m glad to see that my top ten ended up as eclectic as ever. I’m looking forward to seeing what 2016 brings.

What were your best reads of the year?

11 responses to “My Top Ten Best Reads Of 2015

  1. Thanks for the suggestions – I’m adding Hustvedt to my list as I love a well-written essay. I read the Patrick Ness last month and it was really excellent. All My Puny Sorrows I too found brilliant and challenging. I’ve read interviews with Toews and it is even more sad to know that the character in the book is based to some extent on her sister’s life. I also recommend her “A Complicated Kindness’, although it has been a few years since I read it.

    I also really enjoyed Kate Atkinson’s God in Ruins this year.

    • I’ve put God in Ruins on my to read list. Looks fantastic. Don’t know why I hadn’t registered it before. I really like her.

  2. I loved Hustvedt’s Summer Without Men, will look for more by her. Among my favorites were fantasy: The Goblin Emperor by Addison and the Peter Grant series by Aaronovitch.

    • I too loved Summer Without Men. The Burning World is my favourite of hers. I also love the Aaronovitch series. Never heard of The Goblin Emperor. Will go and look. x

  3. I’ve not read any of these and weirdly not heard of many for someone who prowls Waterstones as a pass time!

  4. So, so delighted that you love the Patrick Ness. I would have put money on it. If you ever, ever get the chance to meet him at a signing or reading, go … go! He is as brilliant and funny and entertaining and normal as Terry Pratchett or Neil Gaiman (and you know what high praise that is from me) . Thanks also for capturing exactly how I feel about The Shepherd’s Crown. I shall have to dip into your pile of recommendations.

  5. I have H is for Hawk. Haven’t read it yet though. Will make sure I do it soon.

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