I’m that person who scours the best-of book lists all year long, and, in doing so, I like to find personal blogs with lists of favorites, too, such as on Elephantine. Rachel is an aspiring writer/blogger in Seattle who offers monthly book recommendations, and they usually resonate.
Among my friends, I often get texts or emails in that vein. Last month, I received an email from a close friend in Michigan: “Any suggestions for feel good short stories? Reminders that there are happy, good people in the world? To help me get back to reading more??”
The text came about a week after the San Bernardino shootings. My friend, stretched thin lately, is a mother to two under 3 years old, works full-time, recently moved houses and her husband travels to the West Coast frequently.
I shot her a few suggestions, and she wrote back, “Thanks, I knew I was consulting the expert.”
I love feeling like I can help. So, hopefully this list will inspire someone who needs a good book recommendation (and yes, I know these lists usually come out in December, but better late to the game than never). Many of these — including “Our Souls at Night,” “Still Alice,” “Nightingale” — brought me to tears. I was drawn into all of them, often neglecting my husband in the evenings: “I’m going to go read.” I also read a few blockbusters, like “Girl on a Train,” but to me, the writing wasn’t strong enough to merit this list.
Here are my top nine books that I read in 2015, in no particular order:
- “Our Souls at Night” by Kent Haruf
- “Everything I Never Told You” by Celeste Ng
- “Still Alice” by Lisa Genova
- “All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr
- “Circling the Sun” by Paula McClain
- “The Nightingale” by Kristin Hannah
- “Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Mandel
- “We Are Not Ourselves” by Matthew Thomas
- “My Brilliant Friend” by Elena Ferrante (I have book no. 2 on my nightstand)