Best Books for 2015


It’s that time of year, the time when I remind people of all the books that I’ve been pushing on them over the last twelve months. The first nine are in no particular order:

The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood – I reckon Wood has the Stella prize stitched up.

Days of Awe by Lauren Fox – darkly humorous.

The Beautiful Bureaucrat by Helen Phillips – memorably odd.

The Golden Age by Joan London – exquisite.

Vanessa and Her Sister by Priya Parmar – historical fiction at its best.

The Night Rainbow by Claire King – unexpected.

Past the Shallows by Favel Parrett – Parrett writes exceptionally beautiful sentences.

The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison – the fact that I’m still bringing these essays up in conversation speaks volumes.

And an honourable mention to Skippy Dies by Paul Murray – I’ve only just finished it and haven’t had time to process all my thoughts but it was a very good way to end my reading year.

My very favourite books of 2015:

Hausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum – an exceedingly clever, complex novel.

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara – proceed with caution.

18 responses

  1. Agree with you about Charlotte and the Stella Prize. Hausfrau and Empathy Exams & Skippy Dies all on the list, for 2017… Agree too about A Little Life, as you know. But the Parrett, I did not love it, much preferred her first one. Oh well.

    • I’m trying to anticipate the Stella list (because I want to read them all but the book-buying-ban is in place….) – I guess we’ll know in a few months time.

      A Little Life remains one of the few (maybe only) books that I have felt incredibly strongly about but have not told a single person to read.

    • I have to say that I wasn’t a fan of Parrett’s novel, either. I found it to be an unbalanced narrative and had too many unanswered questions at the end.

    • Hope you got a few frozen margs in. I managed some fizz and there may have also been Aperol spritzers and jugs of sangria in the mix… recovering today with a lie down and Wallace Stegner.

      • I got two margs in NYE, and thus no hangover yesterday. Last night another marg, and no hangover today. I have a bottle of Piper in the fridge, left over from Christmas that I was intending to crack, but the frozen cocktail trumped it. Might open that tonight… Am on my own because boys to cricket, daughter to friends. Me on my own, working. Love it.

  2. Skippy Dies was really good! I haven’t read A Little Life because I’ve heard mixed things. Sounds like a great book but maybe too intense for some people, which has kept me away. Beautiful Bureaucrat’s on my TBR list!

    • I really enjoyed Skippy Dies – not the overarching plot as much as the detailed characters – the schoolboy dialogue is perfect. Am now looking forward to his recent release (The Mark and the Void).

      Beautiful Bureaucrat is CRAZY. It’s not a particularly long book and I read it in virtually one sitting – couldn’t put it down and couldn’t predict where the story was going. Enjoy.

    • It really is not for everyone. There are some significant plot flaws but I looked over those because I was so caught up in the characters. Equally, looking back, the writing isn’t particularly lovely or memorable and yet… The characters. So memorable.

  3. You had a wonderful year and I can tell we have very similar tastes in books. Many of your faves are either my faves too or on my TBR list.

    Have a Happy New Year.

  4. Pingback: Six Degrees of Separation – from A Prayer for Owen Meany to Fates and Furies | booksaremyfavouriteandbest

  5. Pingback: Reading the Stella Prize Shortlist – The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood | booksaremyfavouriteandbest

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