20151216_184600According to Goodreads, I’ve read 58 books this year, which is 7 short of my goal.  If I add in the books I’ve read that for one reason or another didn’t make it on to Goodreads, I have read 65.

2015 started off a bad year for finding new fiction that grabbed me.  Looking back, it seems that most of the books I really enjoyed fell in the latter half of the year.  That doesn’t matter; what does matter is that I found books I loved, books that took my breath away, made me laugh, made me think, touched me in some way.

In case you’re wondering, I’ve left erotica and erotic romance off this list.  That doesn’t mean that there wasn’t any.  On the contrary, there were many, many.  But I tend to read these in a different way: writing them is part of my work, so it’s different.  I do read them for pleasure,  but then it feels like picking favorites.

So, here are my favorite books read in 2015.  I didn’t rate them all 5 stars–sometimes a 4 star book is still a favorite.  This list is in no particular order:

Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver

This excellent book broke the drought of good books.  Excellent characterization, and even though the environmental message was a bit heavy-handed, it wasn’t enough to mark it down from 5 stars.

Cobbler’s Dream by Monica Dickens

The first of a few re-reads to make the list, and the only children’s book.  Warm, witty, and beautifully written.

Island Home by Tim Winton

My enduring literary crush, and quite simply, the writer whose prose I admire the most. This memoir doesn’t disappoint.

Fifteen Dogs by Andre Alexis

Unsettling and quite bleak, almost simplistic in the telling, but it stayed with me a long time.

The Thing About Great White Sharks and other stories by Rebecca Adams Wright

My favorite kind of short stories. Edgy, twisting, open-ended and filled with magical realism.

Molesworth by Geoffrey Williams and Ronald Searle

A book I last read when I was about 10 or 11.  Laugh-out-loud hilarious, and so very, very clever.

Happiness Like Water by Chinelo Okparanta

Sparse, beautiful, often open-ended, and unutterably melancholy.  The second short story collection to make this list.

The Chrysalids by John Wyndham

It hasn’t aged as well as The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, but even so, this old favorite got a re-read in 2015 and is still great enough to make my list.

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

My surprise favourite of the the year.  I put off reading it for a long time, and then was instantly hooked by the writer’s flowing and natural style.

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark

A literary classic that endures so well, with writing that hasn’t aged. Plus I always envisage Maggie Smith in the title role.