Am I allowed to have 36 books on my end-of-year list? Because that’s how many I had at first, while trying to write a post like last year’s (highlighting my favourite books by the month). So, I decided to simplify.
Here’s my pared down list (it only took me about 10 years to come up with it in the end) as well as a few other ‘favourites’ lists just for fun.
Top 9 Best New Fiction of 2015:
- Do You Think This Is Strange? by Aaron Cully Drake – I can’t tell you how much I loved this book. Freddy is my ‘character of the year’.
- Fifteen Dogs by Andre Alexis – Most original. Winner of the 2015 Scotiabank Giller Prize.
- When the Saints by Sarah Mian – A funny and warm debut. (Atlantic Canadian.)
- Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller – A page-turner about survival, both physical and psychological.
- Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh – Morbid and painful, but surprisingly fun to read.
- All True Not A Lie In It – Alix Hawley – I couldn’t leave out this historical fiction novel about Daniel Boone. Who knew his life would be so captivating?
- Miss Emily by Nuala O’Connor – The perfect book to have on vacation with me.
- Captive by Claudine Dumont – A creepy page-turner.
- Martin John by Anakana Schofield – Strange and disturbing, but so well done.
Top 10 Best Backlist Reads of 2015:
- The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert – Why did it take me so long to get to this book? It has reminded me of my love for biology and the history of science.
- And the Birds Rained Down by Jocelyne Saucier – Balm for the soul.
- Every Blade of Grass by Thomas Wharton – A beautiful epistolary novel about friendship, love, and the meaning of life.
- Rilla of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery – Even better than I remembered. A classic about living on the homefront during WWI. (Atlantic Canadian)
- The People in the Trees by Hanya Yanagihara – Through scientific and anthropological discoveries, this book explores some big moral questions. Fascinatingly disturbing.
- The Voyage of the Narwhal by Andrea Barrett – More history and science with some Arctic exploration thrown in.
- The Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence – A Canadian classic. It’s hard to beat Hagar Shipley.
- Every Little Thing by Chad Pelley – I was surprised by how much I liked this book. My literary crush of the year.
- Us Conductors by Sean Michaels – A good book for just about anyone.
- Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy – A good reminder to read more Hardy.
If I had to pick one of these books to give to everyone for Christmas this year, it would be Do You Think This Is Strange?. I think it has wide appeal, I don’t think it has gotten nearly the love it deserves, and I really, really loved it.
Top 5 Nonfiction:
- In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick – Satisfied my fascination with sea adventures.
- Dead Wake by Erik Larson – More sea, with some WWI thrown in.
- The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert – Satisfied my interest in biology, evolution, and the state of our planet.
- The Inconvenient Indian by Thomas King – A fast and furious look at the history of indigenous people in North America, how new-comers to the continent have treated them and categorized them over the years, and why it needs to change.
- Drunk Mom by Jowita Bydlowska – Best memoir. Raw, honest, and kind of alarming.
Top 5 New-To-Me Authors:
- Jocelyne Saucier (And the Birds Rained Down and Twenty-One Cardinals)
- Thomas Wharton (Every Blade of Grass and Icefields)
- Chad Pelley (Away From Everywhere and Every Little Thing) (Atlantic Canadian)
- Stephanie Domet (Fallsy Downsies) (Atlantic Canadian)
- Andrea Barrett (The Voyage of the Narwhal)
Top 7 Debut Novels:
- Do You Think This Is Strange? by Aaron Cully Drake
- When the Saints by Sarah Mian
- Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller
- All True Not A Lie In It by Alix Hawley
- The People in the Trees by Hanya Yanagihara
- This Godforsaken Place by Cinda Gault
- The Capacity For Infinite Happiness by Alexis von Konigslow
Best Short Story Collection: Eating Habits of the Chronically Lonesome by Megan Gail Coles
Best Classic: Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
Top 9 Book Covers:
Top 5 Non-Review Posts (from my blog):
- Reading The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen To My Son
- A Visit To Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
- Endless Shores, Endless Books
- Literary Love: In Honour of Valentine’s Day #2
- Year 2 of Reading CanLit
Top 5 Posts With the Most Traffic Overall:
- Hopeful Reading List for 2015
- And the Birds Rained Down by Jocelyne Saucier, translated by Rhonda Mullins
- Fifteen Dogs by Andre Alexis
- Sweetland by Michael Crummey
- Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller
I have to take a look at that Hopeful Reading List of 2015 soon and see how I did!
What are your favourite books/covers/posts of the year? What is the one book you read this year that you would give as a gift to everyone on your list?