Top 10 Books Of The Year 2015 – Part 2 (The Top 5)

Without any further ado here are the five books that did it for me in 2015.  To find the full reviews please click on the titles.

5. Dream A Little Dream – Giovanna Fletcher (Penguin 2015) (Read and reviewed in September)

fletcher

Scores highly on the likeability factor.  Whilst husband Tom together with McFly bandmate Dougie Poynter were ascending up the children’s bestseller lists with their books about pooping dinosaurs Giovanna produced her third novel, a slab of female-interest fiction which works well on all counts.

4. The Luminous Life Of Lily Aphrodite – Beatrice Colin (John Murray 2008) (Read in May and reviewed in June)

lillyaphrodite

I was a bit slow getting round to this.  One of two books in my Top 5 set in 20th Century Berlin this debut novel is a massive achievement with a totally captivating main character.  A rich, rewarding read.

3. A Spool of Blue Thread – Anne Tyler (Vintage 2015) (Read and reviewed in November)

bluethread

Man Booker Prize nominated and one which is appearing on a lot of “Best Of The Year” lists.  The first book by American author Tyler I have read (I’ll hopefully be putting that right in 2016).  A beautifully written family saga.  Bags of appeal, an excellent choice for reading groups and a book I found genuinely hard to put down.

2. The Mark And The Void- Paul Murray (Penguin 2015) (Read and Reviewed in June)

markandvoid

Just pipped at the post by one of the last books I read this year. This is, nevertheless, my favourite book of those published in 2015.  But what has  happened to it?  By now I expected to be seeing it appearing on Bestseller lists, end of year lists and awards shortlists.  It was shortlisted for Book Club Book Of The Year at the Irish Book Awards but was beaten by Anne Enright’s “The Green Road“, which I didn’t think was as good.  Could this be a case where marketing has let the book down?  I feel this odd to say about a company such as Penguin but a bizarre decision might have occured here.  I read a pre-publication e-book (thanks Netgalley) and did keep a look out for it in bookshops, but the only copy I’ve seen (and admittedly we are not inundated with bookshops where I live) was in a Waterstones and it was an odd, flimsy looking two volume paperback affair in a slip-case which was already looking tatty on the shelves.  I would not have bought it.  Now, this may have just been some limited special edition but I hope it hasn’t damaged Murray’s chances of getting the big bestseller this very funny novel deserves to be.

So drum-roll time…………….The reviewsrevues Book Of The Year 2015 is………..

1. Alone In Berlin – Hans Fallada (Penguin 2009) (Read and reviewed in December)

fallada

Rightfully published by Penguin as a Modern Classic.  Not published in the UK until 2009 this translation of a 1947 German novel is an important book.  The tale of one couple’s attempts to undermine the Nazi regime through postcard writing is chilling and gripping and an extraordinary read.

Well, that’s it for another year.  Time to wipe the slate clean and start reading for 2016.  Congratulations to the writers, publishers and other bloggers who have had me enjoying my reading so much in 2015.  And the prizes for the winners……  All of the top 10 authors will have another title of theirs put on to my To Be Read list.  Where it’s a debut or where no other book is available I’ll take a punt and see what Amazon suggest in their “Customers who bought this item also bought” and stick one of them on my list.  I’ve been reading recently about how other bloggers keep their “To Be Read list” and mine has been a haphazard affair, but I’ve been bowled over by how some organise this and I’ve been inspired to follow along similar lines.  The spreadsheet as revealed by Fiction Fan is an inspiration! Happy Reading!  For my next post I’ll be revealing which of the books I re-read this year confirmed by original impression…………………..

See my Top 10 Books Part 1 – numbers 10-6 here

 

Top 10 Books Of The Year – 2015 – Part 1 (10-6)

Of the 67 books I read this year it’s time to select the Top 10.  (That total was a couple up from last year but quite a few less than the golden reading year of 2013).  Getting in the Top 10 is important as only those hallowed tomes are allowed to remain on the bookshelves.  In an annual  book cull which seems to mark for me the end of the old year those that did not make the cut are already bagged up ready to donate to the library and charity shops and the unsuccessful e-books have been permanently deleted off the Kindle.  It’s a tough world over at reviewsrevues – but it’s really only to stop me appearing on one of those hoarder documentaries or being discovered half-buried under collapsed piles of books.  (Anyway, on the very same day as I cleared space on the Kindle I got excited about those Delphi Complete Classics editions on Amazon which has the complete works of writers for under £1 – so don’t think I’m depriving myself!)  Without further ado here starts of the rundown of the ten best books I have read this year.  (I haven’t restricted my list to those published this year but anything I read this year.)  However, my reading habits  must have changed as there are an unprecedented 6 out of the 10 that made their appearance in 2015.  I have separated the eight books I re-read into their own list- otherwise the same books would win time after time.  My favourite re-read will be announced in two posts time.  7 out of the ten books are by women.  It’s been a great year for women writers at reviewsrevues.  All of the 10 have been reviewed on this site- click on the titles to link to the full review.

10. Becoming Nancy- Terry Ronald (Corgi 2011) (Read in July- Reviewed in September)

nancy

Set in the late 70’s in East Dulwich this is a coming out story which is in turns sweet, romantic, coarse, gritty, tragic and funny.  What more could you ask for? Debut novel from ex-pop star.  Sent me glassy-eyed with nostalgia.

9. Spill Simmer Falter Wither – Sara Baume (Windmill 2015) (Read and reviewed in November)

baume

The debut novel of  2015?  It’s currently on shortlists for First Novel at The Costas and  has just scooped Newcomer of the Year at the Irish Book Awards.  Beautifully and powerfully written this is an extended love letter of one man to his dog.  Watch this book pick up many more fans over the coming months.

8. I’ll Never Write My Memoirs – Grace Jones (Simon & Schuster 2015) (Read and reviewed in October)

gracebook

Thank goodness you did, Grace….  This was the celebrity biography I had waited years to be written and I wasn’t disappointed.  As told to music journalist Paul Morley the weird wonderful world of Grace Jones comes shining through.

7. Dear Blue Peter – Edited by Biddy Baxter (Short Books 2008) (Read in June- Reviewed in December)

dearbluepeter

Sheer unashamed entertainment and a genius way to celebrate Blue Peter’s 50th anniversary (back in 2008).  Let the viewers do the work with a collection of their letters over the years, all itching for their Blue Peter badges.  Reading this you can appreciate why this programme has been important to so many and why it has lasted so long.  Very funny and well balanced between praise and criticism this is a real slice of Britishness.

6. Murders At White House Farm – Carol Ann Lee (Pan Macmillan 2015) (Read and reviewed in June)

bamber

The non-fiction book of the year as far as I am concerned this chilling and through account of events in 1985 at Tolleshunt D’Arcy, Essex which resulted in the murder of five members of the Bamber family and the trial and conviction of Jeremy Bamber.  Painstakingly researched.  I was delighted to interview author Carol Ann Lee.  I thought it might set me off on a true crime reading spree but that hasn’t happened yet but I’m still keeping the titles Carol Ann recommended on my To Be Read list.

Next post – The Top 5 – All novels, three published in 2015.