- In 2015 I read 145 books.
- I read the most books in February (30).
- And the least in August and September (5 each).
- I have made a list of the best 25 books I read in 2015. Out of the 25, 13 are by men and 12 by women - basically an even split.
- This means that over 17% of the books that I read were good enough for me to want to put them on a Best Of list.
That's pretty good, isn't it? Well done, books.
The rules for the books below are that I must have read a legit copy or a proof copy in 2015. Doesn't matter how long ago any were published, I used to split this in to stuff published this year and stuff published in the past but it was long as fuck and who really gives a shit anyway? I've tried to order these but I can't, so they're in the order that I read them (ish), cos it's easier for me to link to original reviews that way.
From the January round-up
The Islanders by Pascal Garnier
If you like your fiction dark and delicious as fuck then Pascal Garnier is for you. I've read almost all of his now and this one is the hands-down stand out. Wonderfully sinister noir.
Before I Go To Sleep by SJ Watson
I read a lot of psychological thrillers in 2015 and Before I Go To Sleep was the one that stood out by a mile. Proper give-yourself-goosebumps kind of creepy and a real page turner.
From the February round-up
Us by David Nicholls
David Nicholls knows how to write about love and relationships and in his latest book has fucking smashed it out of the park again. Made my heart ache and my arms want to grab him and give him a fuck off great big hug.
Beatrice and Virgil by Yann Martel
Another dark one about a man who receives a mysterious story through the post. After some investigation it turns out it has been sent to him by a local taxidermist. If you’re in the market for a Yann Martel book this one shits all over Pi.
Lazy Days by Erlend Loe
A family go on holiday. Bleak and funny, with characters that if you're anything like me you will recognise in yourself and your friends.
The Suicide Shop by Jean Teulé
A fable from the future where life is not so great and so the Tuvache family business of stuff you can buy to aid your suicide is thriving. Pretty fucked up but with wonderful and compassionate characters.
From the March round-up
The First Bad Man by Miranda July
A story about a woman who is unable to have any kind of normal relationship with anyone. This book is a fucking dream, a treat from start to finish.
From the May round-up
Spill Simmer Falter Wither by Sara Baume
A story about a man and his one-eyed dog. Fucking beautiful writing, lovely fulfilling story.
Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell
One that had sat unread on my shelf for a long time but now I’ve read it is one of my firm favourites. The best Orwell I’ve read (so far).
From the June round-up
The Last Act of Love by Cathy Rentzenbrink
The only non-fiction on my list, this is Cathy’s memoir of her brother Matty, a young man who was hit by a car and later died. An emotional and brave book, the transparency of Cathy and her family makes this tragic story feel close and rejuvenating.
The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie
Fucking love me a bit of Agatha. The first Poirot mystery and a great comfort read if you like a good whodunit detective story.
The Woman Who Went to Bed For a Year by Sue Townsend
The title does the job pretty well here, it’s a woman who gets fed up and goes to bed for a year. Reading this reminded me how funny and clever a writer Sue Townsend is and made me sad that she’s gone. Next year I’m going to delight in re-reading the Adrian Mole books.
The Seed Collectors by Scarlett Thomas
I fucking hated My Y but I loved this – an amazing array of characters in a dysfunctional family saga. Bit fucking mad at times, but a very satisfying read.
From the July round-up
Saint Mazie by Jami Attenberg
Is there a bigger babe than Saint Mazie in all the land? No there fucking well is not. An incredible story about a woman’s life and legacy. Made me feel actual feelings in my cold, dead heart.
The Dust That Falls From Dreams by Louis de Bernières
The new one from Louis is not the South American lolfest that some of you will only be interested in him for, but is the beautiful words, epic family histories, and heartfelt words about love that keep bringing me back to Louis’ writing every time. He is a fucking wonderful writer, and this book cements that fact.
From the August round-up
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
Yes it’s long as fuck but it is also fucking good. I like stories that focus heavily on one character through their life and then a smattering of other characters around them. This is one of those. It’s a story about a boy, a tragic event, and said boy's subsequent growing up.
Disgrace by J. M. Coetzee
A story about a professor at a university, his mistakes and his downfall. A great book that examines motives and the aftermath of decisions we make in the moment.
From the September round-up
Tampa by Alissa Nutting
Celeste Price, a glamorous and well respected woman, is in search of a teenage boy to seduce. Shocking, funny, controversial and clever, this is a fucking good book.
From the October round-up
The Woman in Black by Susan Hill
A good old fashioned ghost story. Even though I read it back in October I still think I can see that fucking black cloak swishing about whenever I get up during the night.
Playthings by Alex Pheby
A book about a man with a nervous condition, we follow him as his condition deteriorates to the point that we’re confused as to what is fact and what is fiction. A very clever story, and one that was written based on a true story.
Fifteen Dogs by André Alexis
A couple of gods make a bet as to whether dogs could cope with human emotions. What follows is not the lovely dog-filled romp that I was expecting, but a strong and cautionary tale about relationships, status, power and love.
Fear of Dying by Erica Jong
I just love stories about people and their fucked up lives. Like with a lot of the books on this list, this is a story that focuses around one person. A woman. This woman is realising her own mortality as she’s surrounded by people who are slowly deteriorating. A really engaging read.
From the November round-up
The Stand by Stephen King
The only post-apocalyptic novel I’ve ever read that hasn’t ruined it all with supernatural bullshit. A harrowing yet human story about people in the midst of a deadly flu virus that is sweeping America.
From the December round-up
The Finding of Martha Lost by Caroline Wallace
From the author of The Drowning of Arthur Braxton, a modern day fairytale about a girl who lives in Liverpool Lime Street train station. Full of heart and hope. This one isn't out until March, but is available for pre-order now.
Am I Cold by Martin Kongstad
A story about a man whose life changes and he begins to live in excess, but without believing in monogamous relationships. Really, really, really fucking funny. Literary but not slow and shit.
So there you have it. Enjoy.