Kristina’s Top Reads of 2015
I'm excited - it's that time again when I share my favourite reads of the year with you. I have been aching to write this for months!
One, because it’s the post I look most forward to writing and two, by August, I had already decided on the majority of titles to add to this list. That may be because I did such a bang-up job of generating my summer reading list. Or maybe I just haven’t read anything good since then.
As per usual, these are not necessarily new books that were published this year, just ones that were new to me. I envy those who get to read them for the first time.
Here were my top pics of 2015, in alphabetical order:
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
Ove is an old grump, allergic to change and a slave to order, who lives alone in suburban Sweden. When a new family moves in down the street, he gets even more ornery after they repeatedly interrupt his nefarious plans – he’s trying to kill himself. As heavy as that sounds, this is actually a heart-warming story with a curmudgeony hero with a heart of gold. Along the lines of “The Rosie Project” and “The 100-year-old Man Who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared” – the best word I can use to describe this book is “delightful.”
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
And you thought politics were tough at your kid’s school? Big Little Lies follows the story of three very different women who come together because their children all go to the same kindergarten. The school begins to divide when one child accuses another of bullying. Entertaining and suspenseful, the real scandals here move beyond the schoolyard and into the bedrooms of Australian suburbia.
Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll
You want a page-turning successor to “Gone Girl”? This is it. It’s “Gone Girl” meets… Actually, I can’t tell you or I will ruin it. When we’re first introduced to heroine Ani FaNelli, she definitely does seem like the have it all, luckiest girl alive: a rich finance, a swanky job… but hey, why the bad attitude and acid tongue? You’ll find out soon enough. Reviews were mixed on this one, some readers hating it. I couldn’t put it down.
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
It’s 2044 and teen Wade Watts is living in virtually reality, much like everyone else on the planet. He goes to school there, hangs out with friends there and even drools after girls there. Things really get interesting when a Steve Jobs type figure dies and leaves his fortune to anyone who can solve his puzzles, hidden in the virtual universe he created. Ready Player One’s dystopian world had me analyzing my own dependence on technology while simultaneously wishing I could take part in this sci-fi scavenger hunt. I heard a major director may be turning this one into a movie. Can’t wait!
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
The world is coming to an end, not via vampire plague (oh Justin Cronin, when is the final novel in your trilogy coming out?!?) but thanks to a worldwide flu pandemic that leaves billions dead in just a few weeks. Moving back and forth in time from the end of days to two decades in the future, it follows a group of motley traveling actors as they try to find a foothold in this brave new world. This well-written and gripping sci fi novel may very well be my favourite book of the year.
The Rocks by Peter Nichols
The Rocks is a hotel perched on the cliffs of Majorca, Spain. It tells the story of two families living on the island whose fates are intertwined by a disturbing incident that occurred 60 years before. The story is told in reverse, one of my favourite literary techniques, so you don’t discover what led to these messed up relationships, missed opportunities and broken hearts until the final pages. If you’re off on a sunny beach vacation this holiday, be sure to take this one with you.
Two honourable mentions, “The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins and “All The Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr. I’m only including them because I am in the minority: everyone else seemed to like them a lot more than I did.
I’m currently reading “Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore” by Robin Sloan (I love books about books) and then “Fates and Furies” by Lauren Groff is next on the list. Let’s see if they make it to next year’s list!