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!
10. 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).
8. 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).
6. 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).
4. 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).
2. 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).
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)