It’s that time of year again! Gift wrap, eggnog, awkward family arguments over honey-baked hams. And most important: cookies! No just kidding—books! With another 12 months of publishing under our collective belts (which are currently loosened due to the aforementioned cookies) it’s time for the annual rundown of those books that made our hearts sing and our eyes tear up, books that made us laugh or sob or laugh while sobbing while also taking the train to work.
Per tradition, and ever-aided by an abundance of coffee and a few spreadsheets, I’ve combined 20 year-end book lists into one master file, which features the 10 must-reads of 2015 (i.e. any book that showed up on six or more lists). This year’s list includes some obvious ringers—I don’t think anyone will be surprised to find Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me near the top. But there are also some sleeper hits: Lucia Berlin’s A Manual for Cleaning Women, a compendium of short stories, showed up on seven lists, while Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The Sympathizer, set in 1970s Saigon, also appeared a half-dozen times. Then there are the ones I’ve actually read: Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life (I still can’t even find the words to express how much I loved this novel) appeared on 11 lists, and Jonathan Franzen’s Purity and Paul Beatty’s The Sellout also had strong showings. Even Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Buried Giant (which, ehhhhh) made the Top 10.
Below are all 10 books, plus four runners-up. Happy holidays & happy reading!
|A Little Life|
|Between the World and Me||Ta-Nehisi Coates||11|
|Fates and Furies||Lauren Groff||11|
|The Story of the Lost Child|
|A Manual for Cleaning Women||Lucia Berlin||7|
|H Is for Hawk||Helen Macdonald||7|
|The Sympathizer||Viet Thanh Nguyen||7|
|The Buried Giant|
|A God in Ruins|
|A Spool of Blue Thread||Anne Tyler||5|
|Welcome to Braggsville||T. Geronimo Johnson||5|
Lists: Washington Post, Amazon, Refinery29, Publishers Weekly, The Guardian, BuzzFeed Fiction, New York Times, Boston Globe, Seattle Times, Goodreads, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Newsweek, Slate, Huffington Post, Wall Street Journal, Daily Beast, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, NPR, The Atlantic, Barnes & Noble