Every December, there’s a cascade of year-end “best of” lists that come out, chronicling the most notable new albums, films, trending superfoods (shout out to chia seeds), and more. Books are no different; you can read about the best fiction and nonfiction from many expert sources.
Here at LPL, we may not have read every book that came out in 2015, but we’ve certainly handled them enough to know what’s good.
Here are eight of the best books of 2015 that library staff read:
Eli: H Is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald; a memoir in which a woman copes with the death of her father and subsequent depression by training a terrifying bird of prey. Macdonald presents a harrowing struggle to tame the ferocious goshawk amid scenes of beautiful British countryside and poignant emotional asides.
Honorable mention: The Dark Forest by Cixin Liu, the second installment in the best-selling Chinese science fiction trilogy The Three Body Problem.
Fisher:Prudence by Gail Carriger – I love how Prudence seamlessly blends elements of two of my favorite television programs (Penny Dreadful and Downton Abbey) into a steampunk amalgamation that hits all the right emotional notes. This book made me laugh so much that I couldn’t contain myself while reading it. Prudence is pure escapism, heavy on the melodrama, and has some of the most ridiculously awesome scenes of any book that I have ever read.
Kate: Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates: A letter to Coates’ teenage son on growing up black in America, BTWAM is one of the most emotional and true books I’ve ever encountered.
Honorable mention: Oreo by Fran Ross: while originally published in 1974, Oreo was out of print for decades and re-released this year. It’s poignant, witty, critical, and absolutely hilarious.
Molly: Bone Gap by Laura Ruby: Tinged with magic and myth, this is a story that forces the reader to think about love, and beauty, and what people choose to believe.
Honorable mention: Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli: You’ve Got Mail for the Tumblr generation (read with a box of Oreos). Just cute and fun and feel-good.
Jake: Another vote for BTWAM (see Kate, above). As much as its powerful content, the strong and centered tone of this book bowled me over. It also sent me back to James Baldwin, Malcolm X, and Eldridge Cleaver, for which I’m grateful.
Honorable Mention: Beyond Words, by Carl Safina. Not unrelated to BTWAM, really. An increasingly needed and empathetic consideration of “the other” – animals, in this case.
Kimberly: Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari. With the observational humor, open mindedness and poignant analyses Ansari is known for, this book was everything I could have hoped for! Extremely interesting, laugh-out-loud funny, and eye-opening, I flew through this book in just over a day. It ends on such a positive note that it doesn’t matter if you have a partner or not—you will believe that romance is possible in the modern age (even if it’s super weird sometimes).
Honorable Mention: Fat Girl Walking by Brittany Gibbons. This book is AMAZING— read it right now! It will make you feel empowered and super positive about yourself and your body.
Dan: Mr. Postmouse's Rounds, a picture book, by Marianne Dubuc. Richard Scarry meets The Far Side in this instant classic from Montreal-based illustrator Dubuc. A mouse delivers mail to various animals, whose homes are humorously depicted in detailed, cutaway views offering much for kids and adults to pore over and enjoy.
Honorable Mention: The Skunk, by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Patrick McDonnell. A comically mysterious existential suspense story for kids and adults, with a throwback vibe. Alfred Hitchcock would have given this book to all the children in his life.
Ilka: Hunger Makes Me A Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein. Sleater-Kinney is one of the most notable bands from the Riot Grrrl movement and this memoir does a fantastic job chronicling their career. In addition to background of the author’s personal history, this book shines an interesting light on what it’s like to be a female musician in the Nineties through present day.
Honorable Mention: Spinster by Kate Bolick presents lovingly detailed vignettes of feminist “awakeners” that have aided the author in finding the life she needed to be living instead of the one society dictates.