Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Second Annual Top 10 Books I Read This Year List

Last year, I initiated my now highly awaited best books I read this year list. And now it's back.

Once again, the disclaimer that these aren't the best books released in 2015, because who the hell only reads books that come out in a certain year? Rather, it's the best books I read this year, with the caveat that I don't include books that I've read before. By chance, a couple of books on this list did pop up on some actual best of 2015 lists, so I guess books might be the one area of pop culture that I am even close to staying on top of.

Last year, I read 83 books and the top four or five books fell into place pretty easily. This year, I hit triple digits, and from early in the year, there was a clear front runner for the number one spot. All the spots under it were pretty fluid, though. I whittled it down to 20 in contention for the top 10, wimped out and put in a three-way tie for number 10, and I could slide those 2 through 10 books around on any given day and be happy with the order. Ultimately, the unifying factor for my top books was that they were the ones with an atmosphere that stayed with me the strongest, no matter the genre or if they were fiction or non-fiction.

Looking back on my 2014 reading list, it was pretty obvious to me that it was heavily male and white. This year, there was a touch more diversity.

Last year, I wrote a little something about each book, but I think I make a dopey book reviewer, so this year, I'll just share the list with minimal yammering.

10. Soft Water - Robert Olmstead
10. The Mayor of McDougal Street - Dave Van Ronk
10. West of Sunset - Stewart O'Nan (The one book I initially gave less than a 5-star review to on Goodreads, but grew in stature for me in retrospect.)
9. Wolf Hall - Hillary Mantel
8. A Head Full of Ghosts - Paul Tremblay
7. The First Bad Man - Miranda July
6. We Were the Mulvaneys - Joyce Carol Oates
5. They Marched into Sunlight - David Maraniss
4. Freedomland - Richard Price
3. Americanah - Chimimanda Ngozi Adiche
2. Fortress of Solitude - Jonathan Lethem
1. A Brief History of Seven Killings - Marlon James (This one was on top of most Best Book of 2014, won the Man Booker Prize this year, and I was itching to read it. As soon as I finished, I wanted to read it again.)


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