17 books that made top of the shelves in 2015

Why Not Me Mindy Kaling

No one knows good books better than the people who read them.

Book recommendation sharing website Goodreads just released its 2015 Goodreads Choice Awards, the only major book awards chosen by readers themselves.

Goodreads users rated books that were published this year in a number of genres; the highest-rated book in each was declared the winner.

Keep scrolling to see the best books from 2015.


FICTION: “Go Set a Watchman” by Harper Lee

In the sequel to “To Kill a Mockingbird,” Scout Finch, now 26, returns to Alabama from New York City to visit her aging father, Atticus. When she learns some unsavory information about her family and her hometown, it stirs up old memories in what was then a region stuck in the middle of the tense Civil Rights movement.

Harper Lee’s “Go Set a Watchman” continues the stories of Maycomb, Alabama’s most beloved characters.

Buy the book here »

NONFICTION: “Modern Romance” by Aziz Ansari and Eric Klinenberg

In “Modern Romance,” comedian Aziz Ansari and sociologist Eric Klinenberg take a hilarious and intelligent look at what it’s like to date in the digital age.

Speaking both on- and off-stage with fans from around the world, Ansari and Klinenberg examine the way in which dating has changed over the last few decades, and how the internet has made it better… or worse. Ansari injects his own humor and personal experience into this exploration of love and the paradox of choice.

MYSTERY/THRILLER: “The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins

Every day Rachel takes the commuter train to London, and every day she passes the same house occupied by a couple who seem perfect. Rachel gives them names and even makes up a backstory about their life together. That is, until one day, when the train passes by and Rachel sees something disturbing. She becomes wrapped up in the lives of people she only knew in her imagination, who it turns out may not be so perfect after all.

Hawkins’ “Girl on the Train” is a masterful thriller that chills from beginning to end.

Buy the book here »

HISTORICAL FICTION: “The Nightingale” by Kristin Hannah

Kristin Hannah described her latest book as “the most difficult book I’ve ever written.” Set in France in 1939, “The Nightingale” tells the story of the Nazi invasion during World War II from the perspective of two women: Vianne, who is forced to host a Nazi soldier while her husband is fighting on the front; and her rebellious 18-year-old sister, Isabelle, who falls in love with a young man who believes France can fight the Nazis from within.

While Vianne and Isabelle are separated by both distance and experience, Hannah highlights their resilience, which shines even when they’re miles apart.

MEMOIR/AUTOBIOGRAPHY: “A Work in Progress” by Connor Franta

In his memoir “A Work in Progress,” Connor Franta describes his journey from a small town in the Midwest to YouTube superstardom. Like other young adults in their early 20s, Franta shares his struggles with body image, sexuality, and finding his place in the world.

Though aimed at a young and digitally savvy audience, Franta’s advice is timeless for readers of all ages and generations.

Buy the book here »

POETRY: “The Dogs I Have Kissed” by Trista Mateer

Trista Mateer is only 24 years old, but “The Dogs I Have Kissed” is already her second collection of poetry (and she has since published a third). Her frank and confessional style of writing is what attracts a newer generation of poets; her popularity stemmed in part from Instagram and Tumblr, which have helped her gain traction with a younger audience.

Her poems about love, sex, feeling let down, and gratitude are both heart-wrenching and cathartic, and will turn anyone into a bona fide poetry lover.

HUMOR: “Why Not Me?” by Mindy Kaling

Why Not Me?” is actress and comedian Mindy Kaling’s second book, and a continuation of her professional and creative journey and trying to “make it” in Hollywood. Her anecdotes and advice are funny and sarcastic, but tinged with the truth that, yes, it is incredibly difficult to be yourself in an industry that expects perfection.

In her own honest way, Kaling dishes on body image, love, and meeting Bradley Cooper.

Buy the book here »

HISTORY/BIOGRAPHY: “Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania” by Erik Larson

This year marked the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Lusitania, briefly the largest passenger ship in the world, which was sunk by a torpedo from a German U-boat, killing nearly 1,200 of the 2,000 men, women, and children on board.

Dead Wake” looks at the ocean liner’s 101st — and final — voyage from New York to Liverpool, told from the perspective of both the hunter and the hunted.

YOUNG ADULT: “All the Bright Places” by Jennifer Niven

Theodore Finch and Violet Markey happen upon each other on the ledge of the bell tower at their high school. Finch is contemplating suicide, and Violet is counting down the days until she graduates, when she can escape her hometown and the memory of her sister’s recent death.

All the Bright Places” is a story of friendship, love, self-discovery, and living in the present rather than waiting for the future. Niven’s first YA novel was so highly anticipated that the film rights were acquired even before the book was  published; the movie adaptation will star Elle Fanning.

Buy the book here »

YA SCI-FI/FANTASY: “Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4)” by Sarah J. Maas

Celaena Sardothien has lost everyone she loves, and in “Queen of Shadows,” the fourth book in Maas’ “Throne of Glass” series, nothing will stop her from getting revenge — except maybe her shadowed past, which she now has to confront in order to save her kingdom.

Maas has entranced readers with Celaena’s journey ever since the beginning of the series, and there’s still more to come: Maas still has two more books to go before Celaena takes her rightful place as queen.

SCIENCE/TECHNOLOGY: “Beneath the Surface: Killer Whales, SeaWorld, and the Truth Beyond Blackfish” by John Hargrove

Written by a former orca trainer and one of the stars of the award-winning documentary “Blackfish,” “Beneath the Surface” continues the debate about the ethics of putting killer whales in captivity — for their protection, for our entertainment, or both.

After witnessing the deaths of two fellow trainers while on the job, Hargrove speaks out against the treatment of some of the whales in shows like the ones at SeaWorld. He paints a sympathetic picture of an animal that is intelligent and human, though unpredictable.

Buy the book here »

 

ROMANCE: “Confess” by Colleen Hoover

Auburn Reed has her life all planned out, but when she walks into a Dallas art studio looking for a job, she doesn’t expect to fall for the handsome and mysterious owner, Owen Gentry, a man with a secretive past.

At first Auburn tries to ignore it, and her heart gets the better of her, but Owen’s secret threatens the relationship, and his only hope of saving it is to confess. “Confess” is Hoover’s 11th novel.

Buy the book here 

SCIENCE FICTION: “Golden Son (Red Rising Trilogy #2)” by Pierce Brown

New author Pierce Brown continues his “Red Rising Trilogy” with book No. 2, “Golden Son.” Combining elements of “The Hunger Games,” “Ender’s Game,” and “Game of Thrones,” Brown’s work tells the story of Darrow, a man who, in the wake of a tragedy, decides to join a group of rebels and take down the ruling class of Golds, who make Darrow and others in his laboring class of Reds slaves to mine the interior of Mars.

Catch this captivating sci-fi thriller before book No. 3 comes out in January 2016.

Buy the book here »

FANTASY: “Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances” by Neil Gaiman

Cult favorite fantasy and graphic novel writer Neil Gaiman tells disturbing, charming, and haunting short stories in his collection “Trigger Warning.”

From “Lunar Labyrinth,” a story about a mysterious maze that draws people in, to “The Case of Death and Honey,” a Sherlock Holmes-esque murder mystery with an otherworldly spin, Gaiman transfixes readers with intriguing characters, unlikely scenarios, and a magic that delights as well as chills.

HORROR: “Saint Odd (Odd Thomas #7)” by Dean Koontz

Odd Thomas is a short-order cook with an unusual gift: He can see and speak to ghosts.

Saint Odd,” Koontz’s seventh, and final, book in the Odd Thomas saga, brings Odd back to the small town where his supernatural abilities all started. And once again, Odd finds himself face-to-face with the satanic cult he’s been trying to defeat since the series began, all the while trying to reconcile his feelings for the woman he loved and lost.

Buy the book here »

GRAPHIC NOVELS/COMICS: “Saga, Volume 4” by Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples

The Eisner Award-winning writer (Vaughan) and artist (Staples) duo continue their story, which combines a Romeo-and-Juliet-like romance with a “Star Wars”/space opera setting.

In “Saga, Volume 4,” a family from the planet Cleave fight to try and find their place in the world. The daughter, Hazel, is a product of two aliens from enemy planets and, now a toddler, must grow up in a galaxy plagued by conflict and war. Vaughan’s writing is dark and sexy, and Staples’ stunning artwork makes this graphic novel a visual and legible pleasure.

Buy the book here »

DEBUT GOODREADS AUTHOR: Victoria Aveyard, author of “Red Queen”

Victoria Aveyard is the first author to have her debut novel “Red Queen” open at No. 1 on The New York Times’ young adult best-seller list. The story is set in a world divided by two classes of people: Reds, with common, red blood; and Silvers, with elite silver blood and superhuman powers.

Mare Barrow is a Red who suddenly finds herself in front of the Silver court and made to work in the Palace, where she discovers she has a power of her own that she can ultimately use to take down the Silvers from within. Book two comes out in February 2016.

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