So apparently when I said later tonight I meant Thursday. Sorry everyone but life got in the way!
Not in any particular order, here are my Top Ten Best Books I Read in 2015. (Books I read in 2015 but weren’t necessarily published in 2015!) This feature is part of a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.
1. Elizabeth is Missing, Emma Healey
If you read last week’s Top Ten for Tuesday then you’ll already know how much I loved this book. I think overall it’s strength was the characterisation and the way it played with the unreliable narration. It was very emotionally striking for me and I really felt for Maud.
2. Rivers of London, Ben Aaronovitch
Also on last week’s post! Rivers of London is in my top ten because it got me hooked on Ben Aaronovitch’s writing this year. Strengths would be his knowledge of setting, Peter’s charismatic narration of events, and Aaronovitch’s interpretation of supernatural creatures and magic.
3. To Hold the Bridge, Garth Nix
Because I am such a Garth Nix fan, and it really seemed like this year was the year of the short story collection. First off we have an Old Kingdom short story, which I loved and was so excited about because he seems to be expanding on the world outside the Abhorsens now which hopefully indicates more books!
As for the other short stories, I think the way he divided them into differen genres was great. Vampire Weather was amusing, Strange Fishing in the Western Highlands was great even though I have never read any Hellboy, and Infestation was an interesting take on vampires. Low points were probably Holly and Iron, The Curious Case of the Moondawn Daffodils Murder, and A Sidekick of Mars – but Holly and Iron had some really interesting world building and I think the other two were just not my thing. As much as I love different interpretations of Sherlock Holmes, this felt a bit too wacky.
By far my favourite was A Handful of Ashes, which feels a bit like a mash up of His Dark Materials setting wise and Harry Potter. Old school magic! I really wish he’d continue this as it’s own novel. And overall, I think we all know I’d read Garth Nix’s shopping lists if he published them. (Not a suggestion though)
4. The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins
I read this quite a while ago now, but the unreliable narration and the characters really made an impression on me. I found it impossible to put down, as most thrillers are designed to be. I sympathised with the main character but it quickly became a love hate relationship as you watch her make all the wrong decisions. I highly recommend it though if you’re looking for a book to take over your life for an afternoon.
5. Station Eleven, Emily St. John Mandel
The premise – and the cover – really made me pick this up. It was really interesting to see art and the power of it examined after an apocalypse level event, where survival is priority one. The interconnected characters and storylines really drove me on through the novel. If you’re looking for something a bit different post-apocalypse, give this a try.
6. I’ll Give You The Sun, Jandy Nelson
I picked this up again because of the cover and it sounded a bit different. Nelson’s writing style is certainly individual and that was a great strength of the novel, once you get into it. Noah and Jude were certainly fully fledged characters in terms of individuality and they definitely grew on me. The plot did hook me in until about three quarters of the way through where I figured out what had happened but that didn’t make the situation any less heartbreaking. I think I’ll definitely have to pick up Nelson’s first novel, The Sky is Everywhere, soon.
7. Carry On, Rainbow Rowell
Like many people this was on my TBR the minute it was announced. As an ex-fanfiction writer (meaning I write it in private now and read a ton of it) and part of the Tumblr generation, I loved Fangirl and I was so excited about Simon and Baz getting their own novel. Overall strengths of Carry On would be the way that Rowell created her own unique world that, while it was all really a loving reference to the giant that is Harry Potter, had great individuality and invention. I particularly loved her interpretation of magic. I would definitely call this a YA novel over a fantasy novel, though it does have some dark moments. I also loved the relationship between Simon and Baz, because it was a novel where we all knew what was going to happen and it was great seeing the lead up to it.
8. The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern
This is one of those books I have seen around and intended to read for years and I finally got around to it (thanks, mysterious donator to Oxfam!).
This book is very description heavy, and kind of reminds me of F. Scott Fitzgerald. There’s an emphasis on opulence and wonder, everything is intricately designed and over the top, though with some contrasts. Again, as I love world building, this felt like the main strength of the book, though the plot was intriguing. I was a little disappointed in the end but I would still rate it as one of the best I read in 2015. I also read it in autumn and it felt very much like an autumnal book – so try reading it in October!
9. Nimona, Noelle Stevenson
This was also on last week’s list! Nimona was great because it was original, funny and had some really touching moments, especially with Nimona and Lord Blackheart. If you’re new to graphic novels but into YA like Fangirl & Lumberjanes this would probably be a good introduction. It’s not overly text heavy and has some great scenes colour wise (the final battle especially).
10. Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn
Well. I feel like everyone has already read this, so you probably already know how awesome it is. I tend to watch a lot of crime drama and I read a lot of different types of crime fiction for one of my university modules, but none of them were quite thrillers like this one. It’s designed to make you pick it up and then not be able to put it down till you finish it and that is certainly what it did. If you’ve only seen the movie, definitely pick up the novel. It sucks you in, and I think one of it’s strengths was it’s power to grip you. Also: characterisation. Amy reminded me of Eva from We Need to Talk About Kevin in that I really disliked her but kind of liked her at the same time, and the same with Nick. It’s a really dark, twisting thriller about human relationships where the two main characters are really vindictive. I actually picked up Sharp Objects after reading this but I wouldn’t say it’s as good. I’m certainly planning to read more of Flynn’s work though.
So that was my Top Ten Best Reads of 2015. I think from doing this weekly feature I’m now aiming to read more new authors next year and read a bit more widely in contemporary fiction too. Sorry for the delay! I’m aware I’ve rambled about some more than others but some I read a really long time ago now and I’m always going to ramble more about Garth Nix.
See you next week for My Top Ten Books I Wouldn’t Mind Santa Leaving Under My Tree This Year. Back to my Amazon wishlist for that one!