Sunday, January 24, 2016

Top Ten Books of 2015

Getting a little late for an end-of-the-year list, but what the hell. I read 43 books in 2015. The books on my list weren't necessarily published in 2015, just books I read this year.

10) Shotgun Lovesongs, Nickolas Butler: written by a fellow Badger, this is an ode to Wisconsin, to friendships, to family, to women who make men better.

9) Go Set a Watchman, Harper Lee: I could easily do a whole post on this one (and probably should); regardless of its literary merits and the circumstances of its publication, this book generated a lot of discussion in the Riley household.

8) The Crossover, Kwame Alexander: a YA novel in verse; a mix of rhythm and heart; a sports story that crosses over to speak about so much more.

7) 11/22/63, Stephen King: haven't read King in a long time; thoroughly enjoyed following Jake Epping on his journey back in time to save Kennedy.

6) The Book of Unknown Americans, Christina Henriquez: the beautiful, tragic, intertwined lives of immigrants with a slow burn to a devastating ending.

5) Redeployment, Phil Klay: excellent collection of short stories about soldiers' experiences in Iraq and their return to domestic life.

4) 800 Grapes, Laura Dave: great Napa Valley setting; each member of the Ford family is at a crossroads, and I enjoyed how Dave navigated the characters through their choices.

3) The Turner House, Angela Flournoy: excellent debut novel; the struggles of the Turner family mirror the struggles of their beloved Detroit, a setting that always intrigues me.

2) All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr: don't take my word for it, this won a little something called the Pulitzer Prize.

1) Station Eleven, Emily St. John: a literary descendant of Cormac McCarthy's The Road and David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas.

Let me know what you think of my choices. I'd love to hear what other people enjoyed reading this year in the comments, might give me some ideas for 2016. Your top book, top 3, 5, 10, whatever works for you.