The only best books of 2015 list worth reading (because I combined all the other ones)


It’s that time of year again! Gift wrap, eggnog, awkward family arguments over honey-baked hams. And most important: cookies! No just kiddingβ€”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 ringersβ€”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
Hanya Yanagihara11
Between the World and MeTa-Nehisi Coates11
Fates and FuriesLauren Groff11
The Story of the Lost Child
Elena Ferrante10
A Manual for Cleaning WomenLucia Berlin7
H Is for HawkHelen Macdonald7
Jonathan Franzen7
The SympathizerViet Thanh Nguyen7
The Buried Giant
Kazuo Ishiguro6
The Sellout
Paul Beatty6
A God in Ruins
Kate Atkinson5
A Spool of Blue ThreadAnne Tyler5
DreamlandSam Quinones5
Welcome to BraggsvilleT. Geronimo Johnson5

ListsWashington PostAmazonRefinery29Publishers WeeklyThe GuardianBuzzFeed FictionNew York TimesBoston GlobeSeattle TimesGoodreadsSt. Louis Post-DispatchNewsweekSlateHuffington PostWall Street JournalDaily BeastMilwaukee Journal SentinelNPRThe AtlanticBarnes & Noble

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