List Fatigue can set in as early as November 30 with all the “best” books, movies, music lists that start rolling in. At first I compulsively check out all the book lists, and then I check out after about List 11 — because many of the lists repeat the same books.
Commonality is fantastic, and gives us a memorable snapshot of the year. The Best Books lists are also great guides for shopping for books for Christmas gifts. But the real Top 10 lists I love? The ones from librarians. Instead of doing a “best of …” type list, many of us tweeted our favorites of the year. (Big distinction between “favorite” and “best.”) Using the hashtag #libfaves15, librarians counted down their top 10. No restrictions (other than asking that people choose books published in 2015). The result? Some of the top books you’ve seen on other lists, but also a lot of shout outs for science fiction, fantasy, mystery, historical romance and contemporary romance. Books that we love — and that we can’t wait to share with readers.
A team of us tallied the tweets, coming up with 10 top titles from the 1,000-plus votes cast (you can read all about it here on Earlyword):
- Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (nonfiction)
- The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins (fiction, suspense)
- Uprooted by Naomi Novik (fiction, fantasy)
- Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal (fiction, general)
- A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab (fiction, fantasy)
- The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan (fiction, general)
- The Slade House by David Mitchell (fiction, fantasy)
- Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson (fiction, graphic novel — for tweens!)
- Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff (fiction, general)
- Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari (nonfiction)
Here are my top 10 #libfaves15, which happen to be all fiction. Turns out I didn’t read much nonfiction in 2015, a trend I pledge to halt in 2016. Anyway, here are my favorite novels published in 2015:
- A Little Life by Hanya Yanigahara: Nothing I say can do it justice. Character through & through.
- The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough: 1930s Seattle, jazz clubs, race, class, aviation, love & soooo much more.
- Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg: Raw despair, strangers coming together, such good writing + my beloved Moclips Beach (in Moclips, Washington).
- Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff: President Obama says it was his favorite novel of the year; good choice, POTUS.
- Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal: A novel in short stories, justifiably compared to Olive Kitteridge.
- A Window Opens by Elisabeth Egan: A huge corporation wants to reinvent “reader experience;” an editor holds true to what matters.
- Girl Waits with Gun by Amy Stewart: Cover drew me in, Constance Kopp (+ she was real!) kept me there.
- Murder of Magpies by Judith Flanders: Mystery, publishing scandal, editor/sleuth. LOVE this one!
- Art of Crash Landing by Melissa DeCarlo: Funny, flawed main character (my favorite kind).
- How to Write a Novel by Melanie Sumner: Great voice w/ 12-yo narrator.
My reading pile grows each year (this is our fifth) during #libfaves, and I also find new kindred readers across the U.S. And my local friends? They’re amazing readers and every week I’m humbled by how effortlessly and meaningfully they talk about books. I have no words for how much I love A Little Life, and yet these three Seattle librarians — Hannah, Eric, Rekha — managed to tweet its essence.
Truly, I am incredibly lucky to work with such passionate readers.