What a wonderful and interesting year of reading. I finished the year having read a total of 109 books - I can’t believe it! I had quite a few books I just couldn’t put down, a few series I can’t wait to continue, and a few authors I am eagerly awaiting new releases. Definitely a great year of books.
I had a baby in October and was surprised at how pregnancy and having a baby affected my reading this year. I felt pretty bad the entire pregnancy and am still so very tired with the newborn phase; because of this, many books I thought I would enjoy just did not hold my attention; I really loved suspenseful, fast moving stories (lots of mysteries this year!)
Instead of doing a top list of books this year, I decided to give my 2015 book superlatives. (Make sure to check out my 2014 list here).
My 2015 book superlatives go to:
Book that made me laugh out loud: Home is Where my People Are by Sophie Hudson. Such a fun book with so many funny stories, I wish I was friends with Sophie Hudson (she even lives in my hometown Birmingham - extra awesome!) Loved this second book from her, and hope she is working on number three.
Runner Up: Nobody’s Cuter Than You by Melanie Shankle
Favorite Christian read: Simply Tuesday by Emily Freeman. I love everything Freeman has written and couldn’t wait to get my hands on this gem. My days with a newborn feel extremely monotonous and mundane…and that is exactly why this book was so good for me (or anyone) who feels stuck…how God works in the everyday simple Tuesdays and how we can see Him there.
Runner Up: Hands Free Life by Rachel Macy Stafford
Most harrowing: Five Days at Memorial by Sheri Fink. Wow - I had no idea that doctors euthanized patients during Hurricane Katrina. Did you? A true story that read like an amazing mystery novel - I told so many people about this book.
Runner Up: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
Favorite Non-Fiction read: Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson. This book changed me in ways I wasn’t expecting, and I find myself thinking about it months after reading it. A lawyer fighting to get those wrongly incarcerated (or those who didn’t receive a fair trial) off of death row. Truly gripping.
Runner Up: Being Mortal by Atul Gwande
Favorite Audio Book: As You Wish by Cary Elwes. I loved the Princess Bride and this audio book was a real treat. What I especially loved about the audio version was how the original characters from the movie narrated different sections so you actually heard their own voices - so cool!
Runner Up: Food, a Love Story by Jim Gaffigan
Book I Read the Fastest: Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. Finished this one in just under 24 hours - absolutely loved it. Gripping and engaging. Exciting and suspenseful. Moriarty has many books that would fall into this “read fast” category for me.
Runner Up: First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen
Best Ending to a Series: Warden and the Wolf King by Andrew Peterson. I LOVED the Wingfeather Saga and have recommended it to so many people. Do yourself a favor and pick up the first book in the series this new year.
Runner Up: Winter by Marissa Meyer
Most Girly and Fun: Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay. I don’t read a ton of girly fiction, but this book was just fun. Told through a series of letters, it was fast moving, thoughtful, and romantic. An easy book for sure!
Runner Up: The Royal We by Heather Cocks
Most convicting Christian read: Seated with Christ by Heather Holleman. I know Heather through my work and have read her blog for quite a while. A great book reminding us all that we are ALREADY seated with Christ and don’t need to strive for anything….nothing…nada. I especially loved her chapter that gave specific ways she engaged with those in her own neighborhood.
Runner Up: Keep It Shut by Karen Ehman
Most magical & captivating: Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen. Don’t judge this book by its cover - I almost didn’t read it when I saw the cover, assuming it was cheesy. I loved this book, and have since read it’s sequel, and plan to read many more from Allen this year.
Runner Up: A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner
Best book geared towards a middle schooler: The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt. I don’t read a ton of middle school fiction, but this was a fun read that I was glad I picked up. Easy, and will remind you of your own middle school days.
Best Thriller: I am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes. This is super suspenseful, no doubt. It is weighty coming in at over 600 pages, but well worth the read. I was easily captivated, and it even kept me up at night (which was hard to do this year!)
Runner Up: Those Who Wish Me Dead by Michael Koryta
Series I can’t wait to continue next year: Still Life by Louise Penny. I love a good mystery, but especially one with great character development and funny personalities. I laughed out loud at multiple lines in this book. I have already read the 2nd book in this series and just picked up the 3rd from the library this week.
Runner Up: Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith
Best Memoir: Wild in the Hollow by Amber C. Haines. Gripping, engaging, gut-wrenching, lyrical - I really enjoyed this one. Taking a broken past and showing how God makes himself real despite the circumstances.
Runner Up: Make It Happen by Lara Casey - if you consider this a memoir :)
Best Young Adult fiction: Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen. Families are complicated, and Dessen does a great job weaving a lovely story showing how certain decisions affect all people involved. Easy and quick read, with some fun romance mixed in.
Runner Up: The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Book I really enjoyed even though I was reluctant to read it: Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. I was gifted this book almost 3 years ago but just never wanted to read it. I am so glad that I did - I really loved it. I have already gotten my hands on the 2nd book and plan to start it soon.
Runner Up: Pastrix by Nadia Bolz-Weber
Most anticipated new release that didn’t disappoint: The Lake House by Kate Morton. I really love anything Morton writes and had been eagerly awaiting this release. It is one of my favorite Morton books to date - so very good.
Runner Up: For the Love by Jen Hatmaker
Book everyone loved but me: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. This book is making many “best of” lists this year, but I just didn’t love it. As I mentioned above, it was a weird year for me and books, so maybe the end-times thing just didn’t sit well with having a new baby? Maybe I need to try this again sometime.
Runner Up: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
What books did you read this year? What should I check out in 2016?