For me, December is the time of end of year lists, when I add more books to my “I want to read this” list than I’ll ever be able to finish.
In our own contribution to the season, Winnipeg Public Library staff have chosen our favourite reads of 2015. Some of these titles are brand new, some are a few years old, but all are worth a look.
If you’re interested in catching up on previous years, here are WPL staff picks for 2014 and 2013. And if you still crave more, check out the Largehearted Boy blog’s annual collection of year end lists – there are hundreds!
Let’s dive right in…
Fiction for all
Aaron chose Italo Calvino’s The Complete Cosmicomics, which “takes difficult scientific and mathematical concepts and twists them into beautiful lucid dream stories… the perfect night-stand companion before falling asleep.”
Alan found Your Fathers, Where Are They? And The Prophets, Do They Live Forever? by Dave Eggers “a quick, easy read that isn’t afraid to handle heavy topics.”
For Brian, And The Birds Rained Down by Jocelyne Saucier was “a rare novel written in exquisite prose and by far my favorite read this year.”
Derek and Suzy both chose Paula Hawkins’ bestseller The Girl on the Train, a “gripping thriller” with a “totally unreliable” narrator.
Jane “raves” about A God In Ruins, Kate Atkinson’s meticulously researched novel about a young RAF pilot’s experiences in WW2 and beyond.
Joanne says that the suspense and “stories within a story” aspect of Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s One Amazing Thing “had me hooked right from the start.”
Kamini “laughed out loud so many times” at The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion.
Another double-double: Laura calls Fredrik Backman’s My Grandmother Sends Her Regards And Apologises “a great homage to story-telling and fairy tales… full of quirky misfit characters” and Erica says “why everyone has not already read this book, I do not know.”
At the opposite end of the spectrum, according to Lauren, Confessions by Kanae Minato is a dark story of a mother’s revenge that “will make you yell, “Holy — !” out loud.”
Lori calls Sophie Divry’s The Library Of Unrequited Love “a touching and at times laugh out loud funny story.”
Patricia enjoyed The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George with its depiction of “a literary apothecary, who prescribes novels to mend broken hearts and souls but can’t heal himself.”
Petra calls Joshua Gaylord’s When We Were Animals “a unique coming of age story that combines a mix of genres to illustrate the physical and mental brutalities of growing up.”
If you’re looking for “a fast paced, OMG, what next kind of book,” Tracey thinks Andy Weir’s The Martian (of the blockbuster movie) will fit the bill.
Vicky chose Uprooted by Naomi Novik, a vibrant story of “magic, romance, politics, intrigue, war…”
All kinds of non-fiction
Andrea recommends listening to the audiobook version of Yes Please to hear Amy Poehler read her own book (along with her parents, Kathleen Turner, Patrick Stewart, Carol Burnett, and others).
Brittany found Dan Harris’ 10% Happier
that recounts his world-wide search for peace and spiritual enlightenment “a non-preachy endorsement for meditation.”
Chance was enthralled by the story of poet James Merrill
as told by Langdon Hammer, from wealth (as in Merrill Lynch) to communing with spirits through a Ouija board.
Kyle believes Ta-nehisi Coates’ Between The World And Me is “one of the best books that outlines the violence that African-Americans face in the United States” and “more relevant than ever.”
In preparation for an overseas trip, Lyle read Phil Cousineau’s The Art Of Pilgrimage, about how to make travel “a meaningful journey of the human heart, rather than just an escape from everyday life.”
Randy says that Oprah Winfrey’s common-sense-filled What I Know For Sure is “definitely worth a look.”
Rémi‘s favourite book was H Is For Hawk by Helen Macdonald, “touchingly honest and filled with passion and grief, the first for her hawk and the second for her late father.”
Monica chose M Train, Patti Smith’s “beautifully written and insightful memoir.”
For young and young-at-heart readers
Colette says that “younger readers will enjoy all the secret codes and alchemical symbols” in Kevin Sands’ The Blackthorn Key, but she recommends it for all ages.
The Tide Of Unmaking by Wayne Thomas Batson and Christopher Hopper is the final book in the Berinfell Prophecies trilogy, and impressed Courtney with “so many things woven together as you go along.”
Kathleen finally picked up John Flanagan’s popular Ranger’s Apprentice series this year (starting with The Ruins Of Gorlan) and tore through these “approachable for reluctant readers and detailed enough for a more sophisticated read.”
Lindsay picked Me, Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews: “It was blunt, and it was honest. And it was also hilarious.”
According to Terri, if you read B. J. Novak’s The Book With No Pictures to a child once, get ready to read it again, and again, and again!
What would you choose as your favourite read of 2015?