The top 32 from the Best Books of 2015 List of Lists


Even more exciting (and wildly popular) than my 2014 List of Lists was my post on the Best of the Best. It was the books that appeared most frequently on all of the lists I listed. So before I have to write the words ‘best of the best’ and ‘list of lists’ again, here it is, the 2015 Commonly-Agreed-by-the-People-Who-Publish-Best-of-2015-Book-Lists-in-November top 32 books to add to your To-Be-Read stack.

Books that made three lists –

1. In the Country: Stories by Mia Alvar
2. The Book of Aron by Jim Shepard
3. The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro
4. Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart
5. Gold Fame Citrus by Claire Vaye Watkins
6. Honeydew by Edith Pearlman
7. The Mare by Mary Gaitskill
8. My Struggle: Book Four by Karl Ove Knausgaard
9. Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights by Salman Rushdie
10. The Visiting Privilege: New and Collected Stories by Joy Williams
11. Ghettoside by Jill Leovy

Books that made four lists –

12. The Mark and the Void by Paul Murray
13. The Turner House by Angela Flournoy
14. The Story of My Teeth by Valeria Luiselli
15. Mrs Engels by Gavin McCrea
16. The Tsar of Love and Techno by Anthony Marra
17. Beauty is a Wound by Eka Kurniawan
18. Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh
19. Fortune Smiles by Adam Johnson

Books that made five lists –

20. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
21. City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg
22. A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson

Books that made six lists –

23. Delicious Foods by James Hannaham
24. A Manual for Cleaning Women by Lucia Berlin
25. The Sellout by Paul Beatty

Books that made seven lists –

26. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
27. The Green Road by Anne Enright
28. Purity by Jonathan Franzen

Books that made eight or more lists –

29. The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen
30. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
31. The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante
32. Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

I’ve only read two of these. I own another seven of them. They’ll be read in 2016 as part of my only-reading-from-what-I-already-own resolution.

19 responses

  1. Two astonishing things about this article. 1. Anne Enright appearance on so many lists – I thought the book was just ok, nothing more. 2. None of the lists include the winner of the Booker Prize, Marlan James with A Brief History of Seven Killings. This is one I’ve not yet read but it’s meant to the be the cream pf the crop if it won the prize.

  2. One if the only books I haven’t heard of on these lists is The Sympathizer – I wonder why I haven’t seen it around…
    I’m reading Eileen right now, and it is very good.

    • I hadn’t seen anything about The Sympathizer either and only heard about Fates & Furies in the last few weeks – and yet, they’re both mentioned over and over again.
      I’m looking forward to Eileen.

      • I have seen a lot of Fates and Furies, and thought it was good. One of the best? I don’t know, but definitely good.
        Funny – it must depend on the circles we’re in.

  3. Like you, I’ve only read 2 of these books, with 2 more on my TBR pile.

    Curiously there are about 4 books on here I’ve never heard of at all – which is surprising only because I work in an Indy bookshop & most literary lust books end up on our shelves one way or another.

    Interesting that your 2014 list picked this year’s Booker winner 🙂
    After our holiday in Vietnam earlier this year, The Sympathiser caught my eye – perhaps next year’s Booker winner??

    • Was wondering if the ones we aren’t as familiar with is because of different release dates around the world?? The one that caught my eye was Fates & Furies – exactly the kind of book I go for but hadn’t heard anything about it until a few weeks ago when I saw it on some Best of lists and then heard it mentioned on the ABC Book Club.

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  5. I’ve only read three of them (and hated one of them, but I am in the minority on that). Do you know how many you have read or which ones you really want to read? I had so many false starts on newish books last year that I am beginning to realize my predilection for older books is far stronger than I thought.

    • I’ve read A Little Life and The Green Road – loved both. I’ve got Fates & Furies, Girl on the Train, the Ferrante, Purity and a couple of others. Will read the Ferrante series this summer and looking forward to Fates but not in a hurry for Purity (it didn’t get rave reviews from other readers whose opinion I trust!).

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  7. I have 14 of these on my TBR list. Have only read 2: Fates and Furies (not what I considered to be worthwhile read) and The Girl on the Train (I found enjoyable, not worthy of all the hype, IMHO!) Those I am anticipating the most highly among those listed, are at the end of the list! As usual for me! 🙂

    • I haven’t read either of the ones you have but both are in my reading stack for this year. Since compiling this list, I have heard more and more about The Sympathizer and The Sellout but NOTHING about Purity (apart from the hype, I’m wondering did the Average Joe actually read it?? I’m guessing no!).

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