I’ve always wanted to participate in a Top Ten Tuesday, but for some reason I just never got around to it – either I forgot about it when Tuesday came around or the topic for that week didn’t interest me. But today I’m giving it a try, because I was already planning to write a blog post about the books I read in 2015, and this looked like the perfect opportunity. (Check out The Broke and the Bookish’s Top Ten Tuesday page here if you’re interested in joining in.)
(In no order whatsoever.)
// Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell //
Currently in the middle of my third re-read of this stupendously amazing book, so it’s obvious that I love it, since it’s so large that I have to put aside all other books for days and days. I literally just read Scarlett’s famous “I’ll never be hungry again!” soliloquy. *chills* Best book of 2015, hands-down, and quite possibly my favorite novel ever. No kidding.
// Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card //
This. Book. OH MY WORD. Orson Scott Card, you are a genius writer and you made me like sci-fi books which is something I thought I’d never do. He’s written tons of books in the Ender series (and also the Shadow series, which follows Bean’s story), and while I eventually want to read them all, I know that the first one will forever be my favorite. It’s so deep and interesting and basically perfect. The movie did not do it justice. (The only thing I liked about it was Harrison Ford.)
// The Little Women Letters by Gabrielle Donnelly //
On the whole, I don’t usually like contemporary novels but this one was special, and not just because of the Little Women connection. I could see myself and my sisters in Emma, Lulu, and Sophie which was neat – and eye-opening, in some ways. This book was charming and thoughtful and very well-written; the kind of book you feel like curling up with all day. I ended up giving it five stars on Goodreads, which quite rare for me.
// The Blue Castle by Lucy Maud Montgomery //
You all know my great love for this book. And if you don’t, I shall direct you to my review.
// The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo //
Yes, a children’s book. What can I say? Mom got this one from the library to read it aloud to my younger siblings, and after I heard the first chapter or so, I borrowed it for myself and I read it one sitting on a warm, sunny afternoon (it’s a fast read, and trust me, it’s best to read it in summer – I don’t know why, but it just is). It actually had me crying in a couple of places (like, really crying). One of my favorite aspects of TMJOET is that it spans decades, so the story feels rich and full, even though it’s quite short. LOVE. (Plus, the illustrations are gorgeous.)
// All But My Life by Gerda Weissmann Klein //
The only non-fiction entry on this list, because I don’t like reading non-fiction as much as fiction. (Though I have discovered some non-fiction gems over the years – Unbroken, for one.) This is a Holocaust story, so naturally it’s quite depressing, but the author (it’s her autobiography) has a gift for writing, and the ending is DARLING. (It sounds weird to say that for a Holocaust memoir, but it’s so, so true.) I don’t want to give away anything, but trust me when I say that the ending is amazing. (Mom introduced me to this book, and she was fangirling, too.)
// Where Eagles Dare by Alistair MacLean //
Let me just say that I’m in awe of Alistair MacLean’s writing skills. Not just the way he can string a plot together (as a writer unable to come up with plausible plots, I can only marvel in his cleverness) and populate his books with unique, memorable characters, but the way he writes blows me away. I can’t describe it – you’ll just have to read one of his books. And as for the book itself…I love it! The characters are wonderful, Schaffer especially, but Mary and Smith are great as well. The twists and turns left me reeling the first time I read it, which I enjoyed. (Honestly, there are plot twists right up to the last couple of pages.) I highly recommend the movie, too.
// Violins of Autumn by Amy McAuley //
Again, I’ll direct you to my review. 🙂
// Wonder by R. J. Palacio //
This book is brilliant. I haven’t read it in several months, so I don’t feel very qualified to talk about it at great length, but suffice to say that it’s easily one of the best books of 2015. It takes a good writer to switch between multiple, first-person points of view and have them all be different and instantly identifiable, but Palacio did an amazing job with that. And of course I cried at the end, even though I know it was pretty blatant emotional manipulation – I couldn’t help it.
// Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee //
Ooookay. The Great Controversial Book of 2015. I read it, even after I said I wasn’t going to, and I don’t regret a thing. The critics blew almost everything bad about Atticus out of proportion, and although the second half was more than a little confusing (maybe because I read it too fast?) and it was still a hard read (more than a few tears were shed), I did enjoy it. There was more than one part that made me smile, or even laugh, and it’s a thought-provoking read, to say the least. And it hasn’t ruined my opinion of Atticus – if anything, it’s enriched it. So, it all worked out in the end.
Runners-up: The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas, Ender’s Shadow by Orson Scott Card, Animal Farm by George Orwell, GI Brides by Duncan Barrett, Laura by Vera Caspary, Jungle Pilot by Russell T. Hitt, The Novelist by Angela Hunt, Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, Jane of Lantern Hill by Lucy Maud Montgomery, The Last Battle & A Bridge Too Far by Cornelius Ryan, Spellbound by Beauty: Alfred Hitchcock and His Leading Ladies by Donald Spoto, and Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. (Yes, I know I have more runners-up than actual ‘Best Books’. I couldn’t leave them out, but they didn’t quite make the top ten either. So sue me.)