Thursday, December 31, 2015

Year-End Programming, Part 4

This is it!  I've covered audio, nonfiction, and children's and YA.  Now, I'm listing my favorite adult fiction of 2015.  I read 20 titles in this category this year, down from 28 last year.  I got pretty into nonfiction this year, it turns out, which is a surprising development in my reading life.  Never a dull moment!

In any case, here's are the best five works of adult fiction that I read in 2015!

The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina HenrĂ­quez. This novel about Maribel and Mayor, two first-generation immigrant kids who live in the same apartment complex in Delaware, is a slow build. I began it as a summer reading assignment, and it wasn't until the last chapter that I realized the deliberate, compelling structure and beautiful prose.  It sticks.  It's worthwhile.  It's highly accomplished.

And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini. Ambitious and entrancing, this is a collection of interlacing stories about the inhabitants and relations of a particular house in Kabul. The novel spans generations and continents, and it's peppered with surprising and gorgeous sentences. It's heartbreaking and hopeful, with a moving sibling reunion that resonated.

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel.  This is a spellbinding novel about a flu epidemic that wipes out 99% of world's population.  I'm usually not one for disaster scenarios, but I couldn't stop reading this. Mandel weaves the stories several survivors with flashbacks to the world as we know it.  Gorgeous, sad, and ultimately hopeful, this novel made me care intensely about each lead character.

The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty.  I covered this book in the audio books post.  I'll just add here that pretty much everyone I know who's read this book also loves it.  It's got wide appeal.  When my friend Jordan recommended it to me, she said, "Don't be deterred by the dumb title."  That was excellent advice.

Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill.  Last year's "unlike anything I've ever read" was A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki. This year's is Offill's slim and genre-bending novel about a marriage.  The wife (she's nameless) narrates the story of her partnership - the early flutterings, the endless days of parenting a baby and then a toddler, the fraught landscape of betrayal, and the spiraling nature of the ordinary.  I read it in a couple of hours, and then I started over.  This is the other contender, alongside The Crossover, for my favorite read of the year.

And that's it!  So many fabulous finds.  Here are my next favorites:
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi

And here are the others I liked a lot:
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest Gaines
Euphoria by Lily King
The Hand That Feeds You by A.J. Rich
The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion
The Knockoff by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

I'm reviewing as I go in 2016 on Twitter: @52BooksPlus  Yay!  Reading for Life!


LH said...

This is awesome. I love your choices.

i wish i could stop reading my boring book club book and read one of these books that are actually good.

jdoc said...

I took a couple of your adult fictions selections to book club last year and they were a big hit. Thanks for these lists!