Top 10 Books for 2015

Hooray, something “fresh,” though I must apologize for the late post. I actually wanted to re-open the blog by the start of the year, but the last week of 2015 has been a hectic one. Well, people are still sharing their top books for the year, so I guess I am not truly that late.

Having read 92 books in 2014, I upped the ante again and pushed my reading challenge to 75 books. This year, I wasn’t as fast of a reader as last year, but I did manage to read 82 books, still hitting my goal.

I believe I explored a lot this year. Though I didn’t get to follow my “seven books check list,” I was able to read books from different topics and country of origin… and I got to read more NA contemporary and Fantasy books this year, something I don’t usually read.

Interestingly, though I got to read a lot of beautiful books this year, choosing my top 10 was easier compared to the previous years. I guess by now I have adjusted really well and I already know what I want in a book. If you must know, I am a very personal reader. Sure I try to rate books as “professional” as possible, but when it comes to favorites, I go for books that touched me in a personal way, be it with the story, it’s message, or it’s characters. Being at the top 10 list doesn’t mean I gave it 5 out of 5 stars. There were books here that I gave 4 stars, and there were some 5 star books that didn’t make the cut. It is kinda weird, yes, but even if there are common threads between “favorite” and “top” books, at times I consider them different as well.

Before I count down my top 10 favorites for 2015, five honorable mentions first –

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“Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock” by Matthew Quick – I have read a handful of YA contemporary books about suicide or psychological instability, most of which were good, but didn’t fully satisfy me. This one was different from the rest.

“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” by Mark Haddon – Another book about psychological matters, this time about a young man with Asperger’s Syndrome. It has a simple plot and the story itself wasn’t as heavy as expected, but it was quirky, it was fun to read, and very interesting.

“Rose Under Fire” by Elizabeth Wein – Considered a sequel to Wein’s previous book, “Code Name Verity” (though this can stand alone), this one tackled a familiar look into life during WW2 – concentration camps. Very sad, very heavy, yet very uplifting, this one was beautiful, except that I have read so many wonderful books this year, this just didn’t make the final cut.

“The Humans” by Matt Haig – A surprising book, indeed. I am not much into sci-fi and alien type of stories, but this one had a realistic twist to it. What I loved about this book is it’s wisdom and philosophy, and although my copy of the book didn’t have a good cover, I actually considered it a rare gem. I am thankful I gave that book a chance.

“The Silkworm” by Robert Galbraith – Definitely a much better book than Galbraith’s first Cormoran Strike novel, “The Cuckoo’s Calling.” I loved it because I wasn’t able to guess the main perp, and right to the end of the novel it still had twists.

Now, my top 10 books for 2015. This is a countdown, will start with #10 and work my way up to #1.

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“The Wrath & the Dawn” by Renee Ahdieh – I gave this book 4 stars, as there were some things missing or lacking, but what made me include it is the fact that it surprised me in so many ways. I love the characters, the drama, the love triangle… and although I am not really into fantasy, this book left me wanting more.

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“To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee – I have had this book for more than a year before I decided to read it, and I was ashamed not reading it as soon as I acquired it. Though this book is more for the Americans, I somehow could see a little resemblance of it to how it was (and still is) some things go here in my own country. Though American in nature, the essence of the book rings true to every nation.

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“The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry” by Rachel Joyce – This made me love elderly characters as their experiences in life I find rich and a source of wisdom. Harold Fry is just an average person, until he decided to go on a pilgrimage. I love the character development, the pacing of the events, but what made this book unforgettable is the words. Not only are they inspiring, they were heartwarming as well.

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“The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini – This is a book that I am grateful to have read. While I did get to watch its movie adaptation nearly a decade ago, reading the book made me love it more. In a time when Afghanistan is synonymous with “chaos,” I consider it a blessing that through this book, I got to take a look at what Afghanistan was like back then. Not only that, the story between two young boys, their similarities and differences surely captured my heart. It was heartbreaking, it was sad… but at the same time, there is this hint of triumph to it. A highly recommended book.

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“Every Last Word” by Tamara Ireland Stone – This year, I felt myself slowly disconnecting from YA Contemporary. Having read a handful of books that talk about different psychological issues that didn’t fully satisfy me, reading this book was off on a shaky start even before I actually opened it. This is a book that spoke volumes to me, and although I am not in total similarities with the main character Sam, it was through her that I got see myself – like she is some kind of a spirit animal or something like that. Of all the books I have read, this is the one that I got to relate to the most.

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“The Martian” by Andy Weir – I am not into sci-fi books. Personally, I feel sci-fi stories (and fantasy ones, too) are better watched in movies or TV shows, as these genres are best explained in a visual way. Although there was an urge for me to read it, I didn’t pick it up until it was chosen as a the book of the month over an Instagram-based book club (now defunct) I joined in. It was such a wonderful ride… quite technical in some aspects, but oh boy was it hilarious and fun to read.

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“Lost & Found” by Brooke Davis – A book I have never heard about until it was picked as the book of the month over the book club I joined in (same club mentioned above). At first this didn’t grip me at all, but once I got the groove of things, I slowly fell more and more in love with it. It was different from any kind of  road trip / adventure books I have read, and although there was a corny vibe to it, I just saw myself laughing at it. I don’t understand it, really… if I have read those kind of scenes from other books I might roll my eyes at it, but with this, I just embraced it wholeheartedly, loving the good parts, as well as the bad parts of it.

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“The Steel Seraglio” by Mike Carey, Linda Carey, and Louise Carey – Reading this book was a spur-of-the-moment thing. I read it for two weeks (first full week of August, and first full week of September), but that didn’t mean it was a slow pace kind of book. It was actually an unputdownable book, I just took my time reading it because I loved it so much. It is fantasy, with just the right amount of magic, but what I loved about this book is how epic it is. The characters are amazing, the story is out of this world… and complete – no need for any kind of epilogue or sequels, because it just ended well. Very rare do I come across a book like that.

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“I’ll Give You the Sun” by Jandy Nelson – With a massive disappointment I got from reading “The Sky is Everywhere,” I almost didn’t want to pick this up. However, I didn’t want to leave 2015 without reading this, so I did…and oh my gosh, it was beautiful! There’s something predictable about one certain thing about the story (you will know once you read it), but there was something that caught me off guard, and knowing that little secret made me realize at how fate draws people together. It is true, there are no coincidences in life and that everyone we meet will affect our lives in different ways. This book is now one of the unforgettable stories I have read.

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“Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption” by Laura Hillenbrand – At the top part of my favorite books for 2015 would have to be this, the story of Louis Zamperini’s life. This book gave me the chills, it brought nightmares, it broke my heart, but at the same time, I found compassion, as well as peace. Louis Zamperini is the kind of person (or a character) I like – them being their own villain and finding a way to turn life around. His story is something you can only find in fiction, but what’s crazy is that he was a real person and he experienced everything in this book. Just writing this snippet gives me goosebumps! I am very grateful I got to “meet” him even through this book in my lifetime. He is one heck of a hero.

So there you have it, my favorite books. I may have given an insight to each of the books, but I will still write a lengthy book talk for each of the books. Have you read any of these books? What were your top books for 2015?

Jayne

 

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