Here are my 10 favorite books I read in 2015:
1. Historical fiction seems to always top my list, and this year is no exception. The Nightingale tells the story of two sisters participating in their own ways in the resistance movement in France during WWII. Beautifully written and a fascinating story.
2. Edward Stanton, a thirty-nine-year-old man with Asperger's Syndrome, leads a quite and extremely structured life. When new neighbors move in, Edward's world is turned upside down as he begins a friendship with 9-year-old Kyle and his mother. Heartwarming, quirky, and quietly funny, I was heartbroken to reach the end of the book. Wonderful characters make this book well worth reading.
3. Another common theme in my yearly book list is young adult fiction. Micah lives with his Grandpa Ephraim, but his life is turned upside down when Ephraim becomes ill. Grandpa Ephraim has always entertained Micah with fantastic stories of the magical Circus Mirandus, but on his deathbed, Grandpa reveals the Circus Mirandus is real and Micah must find it to save his grandfather.
4. I've enjoyed Brandon Stanton's Humans of New York blog for some time, and this book is a fascinating compilation of beautiful pictures and stories. My favorite story from the book:
"We're eye doctors." "What's something about the eye that most people don't realize?" "The eye doesn't see. The brain sees. The eye just transmits. So what we see isn't only determined by what comes through the eyes. What we see is affected by our memories, our feelings, and by what we've seen before."
5. Historical young adult fiction? How could I not love it! Telling the story of the school desegregation in 1958 Little Rock, the story focuses on the friendship between two girls, one white and one "passing" for white and the dangers of their friendship during a time when Jim Crow prevailed.
7. I love a good mystery with a twist! The book jacket calls it at a modern retelling of Patricia Highsmith's Strangers on a Train where two strangers meet and hatch murder plots. One of those books I just couldn't put down!
8. Another excellent mystery. I love Kate Morton's historical mysteries, and The Lake House didn't disappoint. In 1933, 11-month-old Theo disappears from his family's lake house during a summer solstice party, never to be found. What happened to Theo? More than 70 years later, police detective Sadie Sparrow stumbles across the abandoned lake house and the mystery of Theo's disappearance and sets out to solve this cold case.
9. Everyone should read this book about the end of life. Written by a surgeon facing his own father's death Gawande begins to question the decisions made by medical professionals trained to fix our bodies at any cost. When is quality of life compromised? When is it time to let go?
10. The Red Tent by Anita Diamant is one of my favorite books of all time, so I would read anything she published. 85-year-old Addie Baum tells the story of her childhood and young adulthood to her granddaughter as she attempts to answer the question, "How did you become the woman you are today?" LOVED this book!
Okay, I can never have just 10 books I loved in a year - in fact, I had 20 this year that I ranked with five stars, so here are some others I would recommend reading:
My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She's Sorry by Fredrik Backman
Wonder by RJ Palacio
Trail of Broken Wings by Sejal Badani
The Forgotten Daughter by Renita D'Silva
The Bone Tree by Greg Iles
The Dead Key by DM Pulley
The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine by Alexander McCall Smith
The Boy on the Porch by Sharon Creech
The Sisterhood by Helen Bryan
The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Golbraith (nom de plume of JK Rowling)
The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson