My 2015 book list

This list presented in no particular order! (Just kidding, it’s almost in chronological order based on Goodreads, but then also the order of things as they appear on my Kindle home page, and then what I saw on my bookshelf when I went to see what I’d missed.)

Sharp Objects – by Gillian Flynn. I got this because I liked the movie Gone Girl but didn’t want to read Gone Girl due to the fact I knew the ending. It was a good read, not going to win any awards but if you like her style (mystery, interesting female protagonist, etc) then I’d recommend.

The Patrons – by Daniella Brodsky. Daniella is a friend of mine – YES, I have a friend who is  NOVELIST and hails from NEW YORK, I’m very sophisticated – and I’d never gotten around to reading any of her earlier work, but I knew she was proudest of this one so I nabbed it as soon as it was published on Kindle. It is a bit strange reading a book when you know the writer, because there are parts when you can hear their voice or their joke, and then other parts like sex scenes where you are like “OMG Daniella!” A main premise of the book is how shitty artists are paid and how they are so often expected to work for free, and how in the olden days a rich person might be patron to a younger, poorer person to allow them to pursue their creative ambitions. But it’s set in modern day Washington, against the backdrop of the 2008 presidential election, and stars a very interesting female character. Great read.

The Little Stranger – by Sarah Waters. I discovered Waters last year when I read the Fingersmith and loved it. I didn’t love this one in the same way; it’s still set in period England but is a ghost story so I guess it depends on how much you enjoy those. Still beautifully written though.

Life After Life – by Kate Atkinson. This is one of my top picks of the year. It takes that old chestnut “If you could travel back in time and kill Hitler, would you?” and turns it into a whole novel. It doesn’t sound like much but it’s a beautiful, fantastic novel that you will look forward to picking up at the end of every day.

The Girl on the Train – by Paula Hawkins. I got this because it was described as the new “Gone Girl” (and see above re why I’m not going to read Gone Girl). A great read for anyone who enjoys a good mystery.

Yes Please – by Amy Poehler. I love Amy. She’s super funny and smart and I’m glad she is getting so ubiquitous (along with Tina, natch) because the world will be a better place the more people like her are involved in it. So yes loved the book.

Midwinter Sacrifice – by Mons Kallentoft. Scandinavian crime. I never know if it’s the translation that make them poor written, or if they weren’t that great to begin with. I think I read it at the coast and everything is better when read there.

Sheila – by Robert Wainwright. I bought this for mum because I read a review and it sounded like her kind of book, and it turned out she’d been very keen to read it as when she and dad were visiting Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland she’d noticed a stained glass window featuring a kangaroo and found out there was a connection between the Rosslyns and an Australian woman who grew up on a farm near Goulburn. That was Sheila. So the book is a biography that draws on Sheila’s papers and letters and what not. I really enjoyed it at the beginning, but I was kind of over it by the end. And then they went to another party and all these famous people were there. And then she met this other handsome man and they went on this fancy holiday and all these famous people were there. Blah blah.

Foal’s Bread – by Gillian Meares. I finished this a few days into 2016 but I’m including it here because it was mostly read in 2015, and also it’s another top pick. Seriously this is an amazing book and I’m so happy it won so many awards. I just wanted to inhale the awesomeness and I read some lines and passages over and over again – sign of a good book. I will never look at horse jumping or jacaranda trees the same way again.

Room – by Emma Donoghue. I read this because the movie is about to come out and I wanted to read it first, otherwise I’ll probably never read it due to knowing spoilers (see above!) It’s been on my list for ages. I wasn’t sure how a book written from a five year old’s perspective would work, but it works brilliantly. It’s about a little boy born in captivity because his mother was abducted and is being held in a guy’s garden shed. Can’t say much more but it’s really great.

Disclaimer – by Renee Wright. I think I read this because again it was marketed as similar to Gone Girl (I think they are calling it suburban noir?) Easy read with a good mystery at the heart of it.

Without the Moon – by Cathi Unsworth. I read this because Life After Life made me more interested in the Blitz generally and it’s a crime novel set during the Blitz. Pretty good although I seem to remember finding it a bit confusing as there were a lot of characters and a lot going on. In my defence, I spent 2015 either pregnant or with a baby so I found a lot of things confusing.

Dark Places – by Gillian Flynn. I enjoyed this more than Sharp Objects. It’s about a girl who is the lone survivor of an attack  that killed her whole family. Her brother is serving time for the murders but there are lots of people who think he is innocent and that she can help them prove it.

The Wool Trilogy – by Hugh Howie. I read this because I needed something to read and Toby recommended it. It’s set in a dystopian future where people have set up a civilisation in a silo and the way they punish people is to send them outside to clean the windows where they die a horrible painful death. OR DO THEY. I enjoyed it a lot mostly for the story and ideas rather than the writing.

Hades – by Candice Fox. I read this because I saw a review about it being Australian crime by a female writer and it sounded good, but it wasn’t really. The ideas were there but I thought the writing was lacking and things like the timelines hadn’t been thought through to make the story make sense.

Hope Farm – by Peggy Frew. This was on my want list and I got it for my birthday from the parents, thanks guys! It was great, I really enjoyed it. Story of a girl who has grown up in hippie communes with her single mother during the 70s and 80s. Well written, interesting characters, everything you want. Top pick.

 

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