2015 bookshelf wrap-up + top 10

I read a grand total of 61 books in 2015. Yes, you read that right. I was 100% on board the reading train this year.

Here’s the breakdown on my book stats:

  • First reads: 55
  • Re-reads: 6
  • Fiction: 55
  • Non-fiction: 6
  • Classics: 7-9, depending on your definition of classic
  • Graphic novels/Comic compilations: 4
  • 5 Stars: 21
  • 4 Stars: 19
  • 3 Stars: 16
  • 2 Stars: 3
  • 1 Star: 2
  • DNF (Did not finish): 2 (I think?)
  • Books on my TBR list: 93…oops.
  • Additions to my All-Time Faves list: 2

*The explanation of my star rating system is on my Goodreads page in my bio, if you would like a bit more info*


In the grand tradition of the Internet, I figured I owed my 2015 a top 10 list of my favorite new reads this year. So, here we go:

  1. The Martian, by Andy Weir18007564
    This is unequivocally my number one book of 2015. Even when parts read like a super-intense physics word problem, I could not put this book down. The narrator’s snark was humanizing and endearing, and the author’s love of science and its intricacies was evident in his detailed writing. I cannot recommend this book enough. And if you don’t have the time to devote to reading it, the movie was an excellent adaptation.

  2. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smithtumblr_inline_nav8i0u6fa1qjhivf

    “Serene was a word you could put to Brooklyn, New York.  Especially in the summer of 1912.  Somber, as a word, was better.  But it did not apply to Williamsburg, Brooklyn.”

    Without a doubt, this was the best opening of any book I read in 2015, and it set the perfect tone for this classic about a Irish-American family living in an NYC tenement at the turn of the century. Instead of your standard plot-driven novel, Brooklyn is driven by its richly-drawn characters. I know I’ll be re-reading this one many times over.

  3. The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins22557272
    If you just finished Gone Girl and are looking for your next thriller fix, you’ll want to read this one. It ticked many of my favorite fiction boxes: unreliable protagonist, multiple POVs, twisty plot, British setting, and more. There’s a reason it was Amazon’s #1 Customer Favorite Book of 2015.

  4. The Magician’s Land, by Lev Grossman51jyh5gyxrl-_sx324_bo1204203200_
    Man, oh man. I absolutely devoured The Magicians series this year, and I was so delighted to find that the series only got better with each book. The Magician’s Land is exactly what you want from the end of a trilogy, from believable character development to a comfortably satisfactory ending that fits the tone of the series. This is a series perfect for any adult (please do not let your children read this) who is looking to fill their Harry Potter void with something with more bite and grit (quite a bit more, in this case).

  5. Attachmentsby Rainbow Rowell71zlxoecx4l
    While Rowell is best known for her YA fiction, I think I’m more partial to her adult-targeted works. This was such a lovely novel and a super-quick read, exactly what I was looking for during the early summer months. The 1999, Y2K computer panic setting only made it better. If you’re looking for something sweet and funny, this is it.

  6. The Mime Order, by Samantha Shannon17901125
    I really liked, but didn’t love, Shannon’s The Bone Season when I read it last year. It was an inventive introductory novel, but I wasn’t completely sold yet. The Mime Order changed all of that. With main character Paige Mahoney back on her home turf, the series really took off, and I became intensely invested in the story. And that cliffhanger! This is another one for those of you looking to get in on the ground-ish floor of a new fantasy/sci-fi series. The third book won’t be released until Fall 2016, so you’ve got plenty of time to catch up.

  7. Motherland, by Maria Hummel41jmhxdvg4l-_sx336_bo1204203200_
    This one packs a punch. Based on Hummel’s own family’s experiences in WWII Germany, this novel explores the war from the perspective of common German citizens. How much did they know about what was going on? Were they knowingly or unknowingly complicit in war crimes? What did the civilian population do to survive? It’s not an easy book to read, but it’s absolutely important.

  8. Why Not Me?, by Mindy Kaling41er04s8kol-_sx329_bo1204203200_
    I can’t tell you how many times I sent quotes or screenshots of this one to friends of mine with captions of praise hands emojis and “THIS IS TRUTH.” The section on the difficulties of long-distance friendships and the agony of realizing that the friendship will never be the same? That chapter alone deserves every award and accolade millennial women can bestow. While I doubt Kaling’s second memoir will ever top her first in my own rankings, this is still a quality outing.

  9. Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel51-qq2tbipl-_sx323_bo1204203200_
    What I love best about this novel is that it’s an apocalyptic story that focuses more on the people left behind and their efforts to rebuild civilization as opposed to the apocalypse itself. It’s such a human story, with no one “big bad,” but instead with many smaller obstacles and challenges for the survivors to overcome. It kept me up late into the night because I couldn’t bear to stop reading. Of course, I’m also quite partial to theater being an intrinsic part of rebuilding society, so…

  10. All the Light We Cannot Seeby Anthony Doerr81trtuhjsnl
    WWII historical fiction? Check! POV swapping? Check! Timeline hopping? Check! Beautiful cover? Check! So many things I love, all tucked into one lovely novel. While the pace did begin to lag in the middle, I was sold once the plot threads began to tie together. There’s also some beautiful literary imagery going on.

Honorary mentions:

  • The Great Divorce, by C.S. Lewis
  • Ms. Marvel: No Normal, by G. Willow Wilson
  • The Invasion of the Tearling, by Erika Johansen
  • The Rest of Us Just Live Here, by Patrick Ness

For a full list of the books I read in 2015, here’s my 2015 Bookshelf on Goodreads. My bimonthly breakdowns are linked here: Jan/Feb, Mar/Apr, May/June, July/Aug, Sep/Oct, and Nov/Dec.

Anything you think I missed out on this year? Ratings you disagree with? Let me know! I’m always open to lively discussion/arguing.

I haven’t officially set my 2016 reading goals yet, but I think I’m going to shoot for another 60 books and working my TBR down to 50, either by reading them or weeding out books I no longer care about. We’ll see how that goes.

To 2016 and the books to come. (And remember: Save money and support your local libraries!)


2 thoughts on “2015 bookshelf wrap-up + top 10

  1. Pingback: 2015 bookshelf update: part 6 | various and sundry

  2. Pingback: 2015: whoa | various and sundry

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