Yes, I know that it’s the end of March. But I just started this blog, and what better way to introduce people to my reading tastes than by showing them what my favourite books are? So we’re doing this. Now.
These are my top 15 books I read in 2015! (Even though they are in order of preference, from worst to best, these are obviously all amazing books.)
#15 Aristotle and Dante discover the Secrets of the Universe
This book is seriously just the cutest thing. It’s about friendship and love, and the ending is SO SATISFYING. There isn’t much I can say about it without spoiling it though, so just trust me. This book is great.
#14 The Shadow of the Wind
This is historical fiction translated from Spanish, and I absolutely love it. Some people have a problem with the writing style and the way the mystery in the novel was solved, but I personally really liked both. Basically, it’s about 11-year old Daniel, who in 1945 gets to choose one book he wants to keep from the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. When he tries to find more books by the author, he realises that they are being systematically destroyed and there are barely any copies left, so he starts to unfold the weird mystery that is the story behind his book.
#13 Rubyfruit Jungle
HOW DO I EVEN BEGIN? This novel is about Molly, who’s probably the most bad-ass lesbian you will ever read about. What amazes me is that this book was published in 1983 and still manages to be more scandalous than a lot of LGBT+ themed books published now. It’s hilarious, it’s moving, and it’s seriously just such a delightful read. I loved every second of it.
#12 The Bookshop Book
If you’ve never heard of Jen Campbell, let me tell you, this is gonna be like Christmas in July! She’s basically the most wonderful human being in the entire world. Not only is she a great writer but she also has the loveliest, most interesting Youtube channel! She talks about books and a few other things that I find extremely interesting, so you should definitely check out her channel (you can do that here).
But let’s talk about the book! This is non-fiction and focuses on bookshops all over the world. Jen talks about some delightfully weird places and also invites authors to talk about their memories of and feelings about bookshops. If you’re a lover of books, this is a must-read!
#11 Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out
This is actually the first book I read in 2015, and damn! That was a good start. The author interviews a bunch of transgender teens and asks about their experiences, their lives, their families and friends – it’s one of the most interesting, well-done non-fiction books I’ve ever had the pleasure to read.
I also want to mention that one of the teens in this book works for a theatre and performs poetry. One of their poems is included in the book and it’s so amazing that I think I must have read it like a million times before I actually finished the book. It inspired me to write a little something myself, which to me is always a sign of good poetry.
#10 Percy Jackson and the Greek Gods
If you’re from the US you probably know this book as Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods, but who cares, right? Same difference.
I’m a huge Percy Jackson fan. In fact, I’m just a huge Rick Riordan fan. I will read anything that man writes. He could probably write a paper on floor tiles and I would scream in excitement and read it. So imagine when I found out that he was gonna write a non-fiction book about Greek gods – with Percy as the narrator!
The book is as great as you’d think. And guess what? He also wrote one about Greek heroes! I just ordered it and it should get here some time in April – let’s hope it doesn’t get lost in the mail because I might have to kill someone.
Something I adore about this book is that Rick critices a lot of stuff that went down in Greek mythology. Especially the way Zeus behaves. Like dammit Zeus, keep it in your pants!
#9 The Host
Okay, okay, I can hear you groan from all the way over here, and I want you to shut up just a second. I love Twilight, okay? I love everything Stephenie Meyer writes. I think she’s brilliant, and even though Edward is the most boring love interest in the entire world, all the other characters in her books are pretty damn awesome.
So I decided to read The Host, and I am so glad I did! This book is absolutely fantastic! Stephenie is just like some kind of natural force when it comes to fantasy, she does it really well. Once again I am not the biggest fan of the love interest, but the world is amazing and I love the plot. The idea behind this book, in case you’re the only person in the world who doesn’t know, is that there is this strange alien species that invaded the earth and took over human bodies in the form of their new souls. Melanie, the main character, tries to fight this new soul inside her, and from that moment on she and her new “room mate” have to live with each other and somehow survive.
#8 The New Hunger
Oh how much I love this book! This is actually a prequel to Warm Bodies, which is a pretty popular dystopian novel that was even turned into a movie (although the movie kind of sucks). Now, I love Warm Bodies, but this book is even better! I think I might be the only person who thinks that way though, because I have seen no praise for this short novella whatsoever. Basically this follows three characters from Warm Bodies and their lives before the novel – I think that’s pretty self-explanatory, as it’s a prequel.
What I adore about this book is not so much the plot (even though it’s awesome) but the commentary behind it. There are so many little, subtle quotes and scenes that just made me think YES! YES YES YES! ALL THE YES! So if you love social criticism, zombies and tragic deaths, this one is for you.
#7 Heroes of Olympus (series)
I could repeat everything I said before about loving Rick Riordan to bits but I’m not gonna do that. Instead I’m gonna tell you how awesome this series is.
Now, I think I might be cheating. Is a whole series valid in a list of favourite books? Well if not that’s too bad, because there’s no way I’m not talking about this. Basically this is a series of stuff that happens after the Percy Jackson books. While Percy is all about Greek gods, these guys are surrounded by Roman mythology. I have to be completely honest – I like Greek mythology much better. BUT THE PLOT. THE CHARACTERS. UGH. I could hug Rick to death for making me go through the emotions that this series made me feel.
I’m not gonna tell you anything specific, because it’s easy to spoil this series, especially if you haven’t read the Percy Jackson books yet. But just let me tell you that a bunch of characters from Percy’s world show up in these books, and the way they are developed is MIND BLOWING. My favourite character changes in such an amazing way that I think I cried. I’m not sure though because I was feeling too many things and all my memories are quite blurry.
JUST READ THESE BOOKS OKAY.
#6 Half of a Yellow Sun
Now, I’m usually not a rude person, but when I saw a negative review of this book on Youtube I’m pretty sure I kind of attacked that person. (I am very sorry about that, I love your channel.)
This book just has a special place in my heart. The writing is painfully beautiful, and THE CHARACTERS! I feel like I’m saying this about every single book but THE CHARACTERS! There is one specific character that I love to bits, and the way things ended for them BROKE MY HEART. Why, Chimamanda? WHY?
This book is set in the 1960s during the Nigerian civil war, and it follows three points of view I believe – again, the feelings make my memories a little unclear. I didn’t like one of the main characters too much, but the others were great. When I finished reading this and I realised that that was literally the ending, there wasn’t gonna be anything else, a part of me wanted to rip the book to shreds. But thankfully I didn’t, and now I just stare at it every once in a while, trying to mentally talk it into changing the ending for me.
(I’d like to mention that there are trigger warnings for rape and quite a bit of violence, so yeah, keep that in mind if you’re planning to read this.)
Also while I was searching for the cover picture I found out this was made into a movie! When did that happen?!
#5 Only Ever Yours
Okay, where do I begin? This is a dystopian YA novel, but it’s quite different and much darker than most books along those lines. It’s basically set in a world where women aren’t born anymore, so they’re created, and their only purpose is to either get married and have children, become prostitutes or teach the next generation of girls.
It follows frieda (written in lower case to emphasise how girls are not real people), who is a student at one of the schools that train girls to be good wives. And the whole book is just a really messed up ride. Trigger warnings for pretty much every dark thing you can think of.
Some people don’t like this book because they say it’s just like a YA version of the Handmaid’s Tale – I haven’t read that yet unfortunately, so I can’t say for sure. The only thing I know is that I freaking love this book.
I haven’t seen much love for this book, which makes me really sad because it’s really beautiful! I’m not sure whether I’d categorise it as children’s or young adult, but it’s just a really comforting, sweet adventure story.
The book follows Sophie, who flees to Paris to look for her mother when the authorities threaten to put her in an orphanage – they believe her guardian, the sweetest man you can imagine, is not suited to be a parent, because he lets her wear what she wants and doesn’t care about religion. When they get to Paris she meets a group of whimsical kids who live on the roofs of the city: the rooftoppers.
I love every little thing about this book, especially the relationship between Sophie and her guardian. The conversations they have are absolutely delightful. And of course Sophie’s adventures on the roofs are marvellous.
We’re getting close to number 1, which means that these last three books are all pretty much just so wonderful that I’m speechless.
This follows Ifemelu, a girl who moved to the US to study and to pretty much have a better life while Nigeria was under a military dictatorship. Her friend Obinze on the other hand wanted to move to the UK, but couldn’t after the events of 9/11, so he started a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Thirteen years later, Ifemelu is preparing to return home to Nigeria, and while she’s getting her hair done she reflects on everything that happened to her during her time in the States and how much she actually misses her home.
I loved everything about this. Ifemelu is an incredibly likable character. She has strong, controversial opinions and likes to speak her mind, which is something I always love. There’s lots of commentary on race, especially because when Ifemelu first moves to the US she realises that race does matter, something she never had to consider at home. There are also a lot of small situations that happen in the book that all feel important in their own way. AND THE QUOTES! I wish I had just overcome my fear of underlining things in books, because damn, there are some amazing quotes in this one!
#2 The Secret History
Uggghhhhh. I don’t think there’s a single person who has read this book and didn’t like it. Actually, I don’t think there’s a single person who has read this book and doesn’t want to die a little bit inside every time they think about it. Ugh.
This is so beautiful. If you ever ask me to define the word beautiful, I’m gonna give you this book. The writing is mind blowing. The characters are kind of terrible people but they are still so likable, and throughout the entire book you will want to simultaneously kill and save everyone.
I would love to describe the plot but I’m pretty sure I would mess it up, and there’s no way I could do it justice, so I’m gonna leave you with the blurb instead.
Under the influence of their charismatic classics professor, a group of clever, eccentric misfits at an elite New England college discover a way of thinking and living that is a world away from the humdrum existence of their contemporaries. But when they go beyond the boundaries of normal morality their lives are changed profoundly and for ever.
The whole book has this really dark, elegant, elite-college sort of atmosphere, and there’s something about it that just really sticks with you for a long time. When I think of this book, I think of snow, a beautiful college, rich people, mansions, classics, the arts, literature, murder, and lots and lots of dark secrets. If you’ve watched Dead Poets Society, this book has a very similar feeling to it – and I ADORE that movie, so I guess it figures. I also think this would be a great read for fans of How to get away with Murder – a group of excellent students who do messed up stuff because of their professor? Hell yeah.
#1 The Universe versus Alex Woods
It seems unbelievable, but I’ve actually found a book that I love more than The Secret History. I’m not entirely sure if I love it more or if they’re both just way too amazing to even exist. I try to think about it and decide which one I prefer and my mind feels like it’s going to explode.
This book follows Alex Woods, who is 17 years old and just got back from a road trip with 113 grams of marijuana and the ashes of his best friend, Isaac Peterson. How he got there is one of the most amazing, heart-breaking and beautiful stories I have ever read. I’m not a big crier, but let me tell you, I literally sobbed through the ending.
Aaaaaaand we’re done! I did it. This took a while. But it was a lot of fun. Even if it is a post about 2015 written in March.
I would like to name some honorary titles, just because they’re great books and even if I’m not gonna talk about them in length, I want to at least mention them.
Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops by Jen Campbell
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer
The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith/J. K. Rowling
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan
‘Till next time and happy reading!