Books, Reading, Top Ten Tuesday
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Top Ten Tuesday: My Top 10 New Releases of 2015

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

The New Year is looming just on the horizon, signalling a close to a fantastic year of reading for me. As of this post, I’ve read 93 books this year – completely smashing my Goodreads Challenge goal of 52. As I’m taking part in The 12 Books of Christmas reading challenge, hosted by Shaina over at Shaina Reads, by the end of December I hope to have read 100 books.

But before I say hello to a new year of books and reading in 2016, I’d like to say goodbye to the reading of 2015 and reflect on my favourite new releases from this year (to December 14). So I’ve carefully curated a list of My Top 10 New Releases of 2015. It’s quite mixed – there’s some hard-hitting literary fiction, a couple of fun reads, a book of poetry, and a revamped favourite.

Here they are, counting down from 10 to 1 – who knows, maybe you’ll get some ideas for some last minute Christmas requests!

harry-potter-and-the-philosopher-s-stone10. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Illustrated) by J.K. Rowling, illustrated by Jim Kay. Potter heads around  the world nearly went into meltdown when it was announced an illustrated edition of the first ‘Harry Potter’ was being released. I picked up a copy on release day and cosied up in bed early that night to read it. One thing that has always made me sad is never being able to read ‘Harry Potter’ for the first time again, but this new edition brought back the feeling of that first magical reading. It might have even been a little more magical.

9. Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith. I’d been waiting for the release of this one for around about six months, but it was well and truly worth the wait. In this third instalment of the ‘Cormoran Strike’ series, Galbraith (the pseudonym of J.K. Rowling) delivers something darker and grittier than the first three books in the series, and gives us a villain who is in equal parts vile and terrifying (my review).

97806700786608. Airmail: Women of Letters by Michaela McGuire and Marieke Hardy. This book takes the form of a collection of letters written by a bunch of talented people from around the world. Contributions from people such as Moby, Tim Minchin and Lionel Shriver fill this book and it makes for an illuminating and potentially life-changing reading experience (my review).

7. Dear Reader by Paul Fournel. Originally published in French in 2012, this year Pushkin Press gave an English translation to the world, and I am so grateful they did. This is a lovely little book that is all about books and reading. It’s at once funny, touching, thoughtful, and full of witty observations about the publishing industry and reading in the digital age (my review).

Fates and Furies Cover Image6. Pop Sonnets by Eric Didriksen. Pop music meets Shakespeare in what was probably the most fun book I read all year. Lyrics from artists such as Beyonce, The Backstreet Boys, and Outkast have been turned into sonnets by the super talented Didriksen, creating a collection of sonnets that even Shakespeare himself would be proud of (my review).

5. Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff. This was one of the biggest buzz books of the last few months, and despite not being overly excited to read it initially, I can safely say that it certainly lived up to the hype. Telling a story of love, marriage, and the secrets we keep from those nearest to us, Fates and Furies left me all but emotionally wrung out and is without doubt the book that surprised me the most by how much I enjoyed it (my review).

TheNaturalWayofThings4. The Wonder Lover by Malcolm Knox. This was an early favourite of mine from all the way back in April. The morally ambiguous protagonist, John Wonder, is one of the least interesting people you could ever hope to meet. It’s the three women in this novel – all of them Wonder’s wives – who make this novel worth reading, as well as the look at humanity’s need to know everything and to measure knowledge (my review).

3. The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood. This book is probably the most important one I read this year. It looks at the double standards of society when it comes to how a woman can and should act. With character story-lines ripped straight out of the headlines, this book is not for those who prefer to read comfortable books. It’ll punch you in the stomach, put your brain into overdrive, and perhaps even make you feel what I like to call ‘sad-rage’ (my review).

The Dust that falls from dreams2. Undermajordomo Minor by Patrick deWitt. I loved deWitt’s first novel, The Sisters Brothers, and so I had high hopes for his latest novel. Long story short, I loved this book more than I could have ever hoped for. It was great fun to read and full of deWitt’s dry humour combined with some staggeringly beautiful moments in the story that almost pushed this book into the number one spot on my list (my review).

1. The Dust That Falls From Dreams by Louis de Bernières. The first nine books on this list were all amazing, but none of them came close to giving me what Mr de Bernières did. He gave me all the things I love in books and put them into one story. It’s set in my favourite era (pre, during, and post WWI) in my favourite city (London), with some chapters devoted to the trenches of the Western Front. It had a love story that wasn’t too mushy, some dashing male characters, and some female characters who broke the mould of those I would usually find in these sorts of books. It may have not been the best written book I read all year, but in terms of what I like to read, this book really felt like it was written for me (my review).

Honourable mentions:

If not for some of my favourite authors and some outstanding and occasionally life-changing fiction, these books would probably have made it onto my list:

  • Liar’s Bench by Kim Michele Richardson (read my review here)
  • The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster by Scott Wilbanks (read my review here and a guest post from the author here)
  • The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler (read my review here)
  • Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin (read my review here)

I’d love to hear what your favourite books (new releases or otherwise) were this year or if you agree/disagree with any of my choices, so leave a note in the comments and let’s chat!

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31 Comments

    • I’m pretty sure they are. I read an article a little while ago that said Jim Kay was working on illustrations for Chamber of Secrets – not sure how true it was though. But I’d be really surprised if the entire series wasn’t done.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! I have had an excellent year of reading. Lots of different genres and tonnes of stuff I might not have normally read.

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  1. I loved your reviews and now have some of your reads on my 2016 list.
    I am a letter writer and so am especially interested in “Airmail: Women of Letters.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I totally feel the same about Fates and Furies…and I actually liked it more the more I thought about it after reading. I keep hearing about The Natural Way of Things and it sounds SO much like my type of book. Really hope it ends up published in the US!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hope you get The Natural Way of Things there too. It was on just about every end of year ‘top books’ list here in Australia so I doubt that overseas publication is far off.

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  3. Almost to 100! Go you, Heather!! 🙂

    I haven’t read any of these, but my copy of Harry Potter Illustrated is arriving soon, and it can’t get here fast enough! It’s taking forever to ship. Soon. Very soon! I’ve been eyeing Fates and Furies, and I may have to read The Dust That Falls From Dreams because it sounds like something I would enjoy! (And while I’m at it, I need to read his other work, sitting on my shelf, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin.)

    Probably my favorite thing I’ve read this year was The Starbound Trilogy. Equal parts fun, haunting, and adventurous.

    My f

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    • I hope you get your illustrated Potter before Christmas! It’ll be like an extra gift.
      I think you posted about The Starbound Trilogy earlier in the year (if not you then someone else) and I remember I really liked the sound of it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Unfortunately, I think it’s going to get here after we leave for my in-laws. But I’ll get to come home to it. I know what I’ll be doing as soon as we get back. 🙂 And yes, it might have been me. I’ve been singing its praises all year, but especially since I read the final installment.

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  4. Omigosh I want to buy that new illustrated Harry Potter so bad. But I just spent a bundle on the trunk set last year so it will have to wait! It looks so gorgeous!

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    • I’m so jealous that you have the trunk set – it’s so lovely.
      The illustrated book is really beautiful – I purposely took my time reading it because I didn’t want it to end!

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  5. The only one on your list that I’ve read is Fates and Furies…and if I could have put just the second half of the book on my Top 10 list, I would have!! Glad to have been introduced to your blog!

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    • The second half really did make that book! But I thought the whole thing was just brilliant. Lauren Groff has another book, ‘The Monsters of Templeton’ that’s apparently really good, so I’d like to read that soon.
      Glad to be introduced to your blog as well – I love clicking around the Top Ten Tuesday posts and finding new ones to read!

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  6. The Dust That Falls From Dreams really was so wonderful! I’m glad we both loved it. Also, I really need to get some deWitt in my life—do you think he’d be a good remedy for all the sad, serious books I”ve been reading lately?

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    • Um, I think he might be. His books are humourous but kinda dark. I’d probably go with ‘Undermajordomo Minor’ over ‘The Sisters Brothers’. It’s a little lighter and is very ‘Grand Budapest Hotel’; so if you like that movie, even a little, then you’ll probably like this book.

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  7. I haven’t read any of these! Though that’s what’s great about these end-of-year lists, you can see what everyone loves and get recs 🙂 I have recently bought the illustrated version of The Philosopher’s Stone and I can’t wait to read it and revisit the world of Harry Potter! 😀
    My Favourite Books this Year.

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    • I’m glad I could add to your reading list! Although, depending on how long your list is, I’m not sure whether that’s good or bad 🙂

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    • It really is lovely. There’s a double page spread of Diagon Alley that’s just amazing, as well as the most perfect picture of Harry and Hagrid in the boat after Hagrid collects Harry from the shack on the island. It’s just the best.

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  8. I have heard SO many good things about Fates & Furies, I’ll have to pick it up in 2016. I’m so impressed that you were able to read so many books this year, and I hope you make it to 100 by the end of the year! I feel like I am always trying to “catch up” with the times, so I probably only read 2 or 3 books that were actually published in 2015 this year. I don’t know how you do it!

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    • You really should give ‘Fates and Furies’ a go. Another blogger has just finished another of Lauren Groff’s books called ‘The Monsters of Templeton’ – apparently it was excellent, so add that to your list as well.

      I don’t normally read a lot of new releases – mostly because I usually just read whatever I pick up, but also because I generally have no idea what’s ‘up and coming’. But since signing up to NetGalley this year and having access to books before they’re released has encouraged me to read more newbies. Plus they’re free so that’s always nice!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Great list, Heather! There were a couple on here that I hadn’t read your review for yet. I had no idea you loved The Dust That Falls From Dreams so much (I missed that one). It’s interesting that it’s not just about a book’s literary merit, but how interested we are in what it’s about. One of my best books of the year probably also falls into that category – The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert. I loved the mix of history, science, and story. I read Captain Corelli’s Mandolin a long time ago and loved it, but haven’t read anything else by him since. I think I’ll try!
    I’m also happy to see a Canadian in second place (even though I haven’t read it yet). 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m in the same boat as you – I read Captain Corelli years ago, loved it, never picked anything up by de Bernieres again. And I know lots of others have done that with him too – it’s very weird.

      I really need to read something by Elizabeth Gilbert. I haven’t even read ‘Eat, Pray, Love’, which I feel is one of those books that I should have read by now.

      You really should read ‘Undermajordomo Minor’ – Patrick deWitt is just too talented. Both books of his that I’ve read have made me wish I could write exactly like that. The books say something but they’re also fun.

      Liked by 1 person

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