The Best Books I Read in 2015

by - Thursday, December 31, 2015

I love books and could spend days curled up on the sofa doing nothing but reading (Is there I way I can make that profitable? Because if I could basically get paid to read all day that would be awesome).

I read a lot of books in 2015 -- or at least more than I expected to with grad school taking up a lot of my free time. On Goodreads, I set a goal to read 24 books this year, figuring with school, I'd average about 2 per month. Well I totally blew that goal out of the water. I read 54 books this year, which on average is more than a book per week.

Totally normal number of books to bring on a week long vacation amirite?

I'm usually a fiction girl to the core, but this year I branched out into more nonfiction, and I've been on this weird history kick too lately, which is so different than my usual suspense/thriller norm.

So without further ado, here are my favorite fiction and nonfiction books of 2015. To qualify for this list, a book has to be something I've raved about to friends or recommended to my book club a bunch of times.

My Favorite Fiction Books

Absolutely loving this book @SFMclernon let me borrow. One of the best books I've read this year. Highly, highly recommend. #bookstagram

The Art of Fielding - Chad Harbach

I just finished this book a few days ago and it immediately became my favorite book of 2015. I read it on a recommendation from a friend of mine from my reporter days and just instantly fell in love with the story and the characters. As the name implies, this book is about a college baseball player and all the people who circle in and out of his life. It's 512 pages, and I tore through it in about two days over winter break.

The Martian -- Andy Weir

Until I read The Art of Fielding, this had been my favorite fiction book of 2015, I think in large part because it was so different than anything else I'd read. I loved the element of suspense throughout the book, mixed in with the nerdy science and math stuff. I still haven't seen the movie, part of me is afraid to because I'm not sure it will do the book justice.

China Dolls -- Lisa See

I picked this book up on a whim at the library right before my beach vacation and it instantly became the book I loved the most this summer. It's the story of three Asian American girls in San Francisco and how their lives change after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

My Favorite Nonfiction Books

Book club reading by the pool. #nofilter

The Boys in the Boat -- Daniel James Brown
I've lost count of the number of times I've recommended this book to people. Every time someone says they're looking for a good nonfiction read, this is what I suggest because it was definitely my favorite nonfiction book of 2015. This is what I wrote on Goodreads: I am not normally a nonfiction fan, but I loved this book. I'm not sure why, it didn't have griping dialogue and at times the plot moved a bit slowly, but there was something about the writing that I just couldn't stop reading.

Ghettoside -- Jill Leovy
If I didn't know this book was nonfiction, I would have thought it was a fiction story for how fast-paced and griping the narrative was. Overall the book looks at crime trends in the country, specifically what happens when black males and why so many of them are murdered. It's a must read.

American Sniper -- Chris Kyle
I loved this book. It's raw, it's real and yes, it's a little bit irreverent. If you're easily offended, you will hate it. My favorite parts where actually the sections written by Chris Kyle's wife.

Unbroken - Laura Hillenbrand
This was another one of those nonfiction books that I almost didn't believe was a true story. In part because some of the things that happened seemed so impossible to believe and in part because of the way the book was written. Still haven't seen the movie here either, but want to at some point.

If you're curious about what else I read this year, you can check out this very pretty summary that Goodreads put together.

And as always, I'm always open to book recommendations, so feel free to leave any in the comments that you think I should add to my list for 2016.

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  1. I totally just added The Art of Fielding to my reading queue! And I love your pants in that photo... elephants for the win!

  2. Fred and Tina8:36 AM

    Wow, 54 books, that is amazing! Such a great mix, even Nicholas Sparks, LOL. Hope you have at least as much fun reading and running in 2016. :) Thanks for your book reviews!

  3. I haven't read The Martian yet, but I did see the movie - of course I can't compare, but I thought the movie was very well done and Matt Damon is quite funny in it.

    Have you read The Nightingale? I really enjoyed it - some people thought it started off slow, but I ripped through it. I also read My Mother's Ring, which I loved.

    The Baker's Daughter. The Paris Architect. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. All books I couldn't put down!

  4. Karen C12:32 PM

    I was really happy to come across this post. “Ghettoside” sounds amazing! Thanks for sharing this list with your readers. My favorite memoir of 2015 was “And They Found No Witches” by retired police sergeant Tom Alessi ( <— his website has a lot of extras – photos, video, and more. He and four of his colleagues in the Rochester police department were indicted for crimes they didn't commit and the 2 1/2 years that followed were an absolute nightmare as they did everything they could to prove their innocence. The book covers the court case as well as the intimate details of how is life was put on hold for something he didn't do. He lost his job, his wife, and once he was found innocent he had to start all over again. It is amazing how these men stood and fought against the justice department, the media, as well as friends and family who didn't believe them. I cannot recommend this book enough. I hope you will check it out