I love to read. I wholly subscribe to the idea that in order to be a writer you need to read a lot. I consume almost everything in print: blog posts, news articles, magazines, and books. This year was a great year for books for me. I’ve compiled a list of some, definitely not all, of the best books I’ve read in 2015. There’s no set qualifications for being mentioned on the list, simply these books stayed with me for one reason or another after I was done reading.
Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari
When I picked up this book I thought it was going to be written in the style of a memori and have hilarious stories of Aziz’s dating experiences. I was shocked when I found that it was some serious in-depth research. Aziz, I feel like I’m on a first name basis with him for some reason, made the information digestible with his sense of humor and story telling ability. The conclusions he draws about dating in the modern world are refreshing and don’t just chalk it up to trying harder and bad luck.
Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson
I had been chomping at the bit for this book to be released. I have loved The Bloggess since I was introduced to her via Beyonce the Giant Metal Chicken so many years ago. Her first memoir Let’s Pretend This Never Happened was laugh out loud funny. This memoir is equally funny but also touched me in a way a book rarely does. Jenny’s chapters on living with depression and anxiety communicated everything I’ve ever felt about being anxious myself and let me know I’m not the only person in the world to feel like that. It made me tear up and that’s a big order for anyone or anything to do.
You by Caroline Kepnes
I’m easily scared and freaked out. Any out of the ordinary sound in the house after dark and I automatically assume it’s a burglar getting into the house ready to kill me. So when I set out to find a creepy book, it was completely out of character for me. Elle over at This Is Mommyhood recommended it back in October and I finally got around to it the first week of December. Nothing says “Christmas” like a creepy book, right? Anyway, this novel fulfilled the creepy requirement and more. The actions of the main character were so unbelievable they were almost believable, if that makes any sense. I was thoroughly creeped out at the end.
Yes, Please by Amy Poehler
I love Amy Poehler. She is hands down one of the funniest women. Her comedy seems almost effortless. I also love the love affair between her and Tina Fey. When I heard she had a memoir coming out I was just as excited as I was for Furiously Happy. And again I was completely surprised by the subject matter inside. There were definitely funny stories but her honesty shocked me. I found her very relatable in both the way she told her stories and in the actual facts, she grew up like I did and dealt with the anxiety that can feel crippling at times. I know everyone is in love with Bossypants by Tina Fey, and I do like that book, but I think Yes, Please surpassed it.
The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
I think I may have picked this up through a BookBub recommendation. (If you don’t know what that is, you really should check it out.) I read it during my vacation to the Outer Banks in the summer. It’s historical fiction, which I love, based on the marriage between Ernest Hemmingway and Hadley Richardson. McLain brought Paris in the 1920’s to life and I suspect Hemmingway’s characterization in the novel wasn’t too far off the mark. For a beach read it was perfect.
Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll
Written in the style of a Gillian Flynn novel, I was hook by the end of the first page. Ani narrates the story as a twenty-eight year old, Manhattan bride-to-be. She’s bitchy and sarcastic and a not very likable person. As she explains what happened to her during her freshman year of high school, her relationship with her parents, and how she handles it all, you can’t help but feel guilty for not liking her and counting your blessings that you dodged the shit she’s had to deal with. Knoll doesn’t let all the details out until the very end by which time you’re dying to know just what exactly happened. It was a page turner for sure.
I read a lot this year (24 books if anyone is counting), probably the most I’ve ever read in a single year. There were only a handful of books that I was unimpressed with or couldn’t finish altogether (Parade’s End I’m looking at you). Honorable mention should go to the last two books in the Outlander series, The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells, In the Unlikely Event, and all of the Gillian Flynn books (Sharp Objects stands out to me).
I’m looking forward to the release of The Fireman by Joe Hill (son of Stephen King) and I think I’ll give Both of Me by Jonathan Friesen and The Grownup by Gillian Flynn a try in the new year. You can also follow my Pinterest board for more book recommendations.
What were the best books you read this year? What’s on your reading list?
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