26 Best New Books to Read from 2015

23 Dec 2015

In a time where we celebrate the past year and prepare to welcome the new, it is worthwhile to take a moment to pause and reflect on the best books that appeared on the scene in 2015. They span every genre and come from authors of all backgrounds, but they do have one thing in common: they are worth reading. We organized them by genre in an effort to help you out, but while you are still setting New Year’s resolutions (and experiencing 100% success in those resolutions), take a minute to look through this list and catch any books you may have missed.



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1) The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante

Release Date: September 1, 2015
The final installment in the Neapolitan Novels, two women weather life’s storms together as they seek to escape their past in a tumultuous neighborhood. Honest and refreshing, immerse yourself into the fabric of a friendship across the course of the years.

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2) Where the Bird Sings Best by Alejandro Jodorowsky

Release Date: March 31, 2015
Compared by many to Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude, this translation follows the immigration of Jodorowsky’s family from Ukraine to Chile. Full of outrageous stories from incestuous families to false deaths, this story from film director Alejandro Jodorowsky will appeal to those who want to be transported to a world of prose with mythic qualities.

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3) A Manual for Cleaning Women by Lucia Berlin

Release Date: August 18, 2015
This collection of short stories presents tales of working-class women across America compiled by Lucia Berlin across the course of her life. A blend of light humor with heavy themes, Berlin crafts a series of stories that will capture you until you have turned the last page.

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4) Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg

Release Date: September 1, 2015
Included on the longlist for the Man Booker Prize and the National Book Award, Bill Chegg weaves a tale of tragedy and survival in his debut novel. When a woman loses her entire family in a fire the night before her daughter’s wedding, she embarks on a journey of learning how to survive without them – and brings us along with her.

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5) Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

Release Date: September 15, 2015
This finalist for the National Book Award was named as a best book of the year by almost every major publication. Fates and Furies explores the things that make a marriage work (or not work) in this riveting tale of two people. Complex and sensual, Groff keeps you hooked from cover to cover.

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6) Fortune Smiles by Adam Johnson

Release Date: August 18, 2015
Winner of the National Book Award, Fortune Smiles contains six stories that span major themes from natural disasters and politics to love and loss. Dark and comedic, Johnson makes you laugh while breaking your heart as he offers a new perspective on the world.

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7) A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

Release Date: March 10, 2015
What could be stronger than the cords of brotherhood? Four friends gravitate together in New York, and a tale of the dark side of love and friendship unfolds. As decades pass, they are bound together more deeply and with darker threads as waves of success, brokenness, addiction, and heartbreak crash over their relationships. A National Book Award Finalist and short-listed for the Man Booker Prize, A Little Life will immerse you in its rich prose.

Science Fiction & Fantasy

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8) Golden Son by Pierce Brown

Release Date: July 7, 2015
The sequel to bestseller Red Rising, Pierce Brown continues the story of the rebel Darrow. Creating a world that is reminiscent of Hunger Games, Ender’s Game, and Game of Thrones, this dystopian novel is packed with action without neglecting its compelling characters.

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9) Seveneves by Neal Stephenson

Release Date: May 19, 2015
A particular favorite of two of our staff members, this tale of the end of the world delves into human nature and space encounters while pushing the boundaries of complexity. Any fan of science fiction will not want to miss Stephenson’s novel, but readers outside the genre will also appreciate and enjoy his work.

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10) The Country of Ice Cream Star by Sandra Newman

Release Date: February 10, 2015
The world has been devastated by a plague, but one woman is determined to find the cure and save the world. This post-apocalyptic novel features a young protagonist whose tenacity through danger and tragedy makes it impossible not to be drawn into her world.

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11) The Shepherd’s Crown by Terry Pratchett

Release Date: September 1, 2015
Fans of Discworld rejoiced and mourned when the final Discworld novel was released this year. When death forces Tiffany into a leadership position, she finds herself in the middle of a whole new set of problems and adventures. Simultaneously funny and serious, you won’t want to miss the final novel by Terry Pratchett.

Young Adult

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12) Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Release Date: October 6,2015
With the best of all things love, magic, and adventure, Rainbow Rowell continues in the tradition of Harry Potter to present a world of teenagers discovering themselves. Jump into the Watford School of Magicks and follow Simon Snow as he adventures through his final school year.

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13) The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin

Release Date: September 22, 2015
A finalist for the National Book Award, Ali Benjamin weaves a breathtaking story about dealing with tragedy and exploring imagination. In this debut novel, Suzy struggles to understand her best friend’s accidental death by drowning and latches onto the theory of a jellyfish sting. Beautiful and painful, you can’t help but be captivated by Suzy as Benjamin weaves her story together.

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14) All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Release Date: January 6, 2015
Two people meet on the edge of a ledge – literally. Jennifer Niven crafts a tale of two teenagers who find one another at the end of hope and walk forward together. Compared to The Fault in Our Stars, Niven’s novel paints a beautiful picture of a fragile love in the midst of difficult times.

Mystery & Thriller

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15) Girl Waits with Gun by Amy Stewart

Release Date: September 1, 2015
If you want a feisty woman in an unexpected setting, Girl Waits with Gun is exactly what you’ve been waiting for. Chosen by multiple sources as a best book to read in 2015, this powerhouse of a novel is based on a true story about a female deputy sheriff who will go to great lengths to defend her family. Constance Kopp is a force to be reckoned with, and we are just along for the ride in this entertaining new crime novel.

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16) The Crossing by Michael Connelly

Release Date: November 3, 2015
Start on the edge of your seat and don’t move because this mystery thriller by Michael Connelly will keep you there from beginning to end. Starring Harry Bosch, Connelly pulls him out of retirement…and onto the opposing team. Fans of Connelly will not be disappointed with this latest offering, and neither will fans of the mystery and suspense genre.

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17) A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay

Release Date: June 2, 2015
Devilishly clever, don’t pick up this latest from Paul Tremblay unless you are ready for a full dose of horror. Psychological, religious, and just plain terrifying, A Head Full of Ghosts follows the story of a family whose skeletons are about to fill up the closet when they agree to feature the exorcism of their schizophrenic daughter on a reality television series. The show might not tell all, but when a writer starts asking questions fifteen years later, you can be sure that the truth will emerge.

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18) In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

Release Date: August 4, 2015
Debut author Ruth Ware burst onto the literary scene with a big splash with her psychological thriller this fall. In a Dark, Dark Wood is a story about a crime writer who tends to hide away from experiencing the things she writes about…until she agrees to go to the countryside for the weekend. When she wakes up in a hospital bed knowing someone is dead, her journey into the past begins in a gripping plot that has been compared to Agatha Christie.

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19) The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Release Date: January 13, 2015
2015 was the year of new thriller authors, and Paula Hawkins is no exception. In The Girl on the Train, Rachel takes the same train every day until she witnesses something that pulls her into a story she never wanted. Twisted and chilling, trying to predict what is coming at the turn of the page will prove difficult with Hawkins’ masterful craft.



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20) Dead Wake by Erik Larson

Release Date: March 10, 2015
Erik Larson has a knack for building suspense about historical events where we already know the ending. Larson masterfully unfolds the characters of Captain Turner with the Lusitania and Captain Schwieger with the German U-boat as they make their way towards a deadly encounter, while a British intelligence unit keeps its lifesaving information to itself. The master of narrative nonfiction has delivered a masterpiece in this story about the sinking of the Lusitania.

Biography & Memoir

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21) The Wright Brothers by David McCullough

Release Date: May 5, 2015
David McCullough has won the Pulitzer Prize twice for his depictions of history, and this year he presents the story of the Wright brothers and their journey to the skies. Beginning with their childhood where amenities were few and books were abundant, these two self-educated boys grew up to make history. McCullough chronicles the successes, failures, and determination of this remarkable pair in this bestselling book about the men who learned to fly.

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22) The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World by Andrea Wulf

Release Date: September 15, 2015
A finalist for the Carnegie Medal for Excellence and the Kirkus Reviews Prize for Nonfiction, Andrea Wulf uncovers the often forgotten story of Alexander von Humbolt. Tracing his influence on the environmentalism movement, Wulf crafts the connection between Humbolt’s work and that of figures like Darwin, Wordsworth, Goethe, and possibly even Thoreau. Well-written and well-researched, The Invention of Nature does a masterful job recovering the story of this scientist.

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23) M Train by Patti Smith

Release Date: October 6, 2015
Patti Smith offers an invitation to wander through life with her in the poetic and meditative reflections of M Train. A memoir of her life through the lens of cafes and other places where she worked around the world, Smith walks through stages of great joy and great sorrow with stunning prose. Follow the meandering trail that she described as “a roadmap to my life” as you settle in as a passenger alongside her.

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24) Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Release Date: July 14, 2015
This year’s National Book Award winner is a letter from father to son. Ta-Nehisi Coates attempts to share with his son lessons and advice for navigating the racial landscape of America as a young black man. Coates traces his own history as well as that of the broader black community and uses that as a framework for moving forward into the future. You will want to devour every page of this intellectual and emotionally gripping memoir as fast as possible while simultaneously trying to slowly absorb every word.

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25) Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs by Sally Mann

Release Date: May 12, 2015
Sally Mann’s National Book Award finalist chronicles the story of her family history in the broader American South using words and pictures together. Detailing the drama of scandal, abuse, land disputes, and possible murder, Mann’s words paint as vivid a picture as her photographs. The memoir grips with equally with its plot and its beautiful prose, and Mann crafts a new form of artistry with the interplay of photography and lyrical prose.

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26) H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald

Release Date: March 3, 2015
A mixture of mythology, memoir, literary genius, and nature writing, this winner of the Samuel Johnson Prize is a story about obsession and grief with a humorous tint. Helen MacDonald grieves her father’s unexpected death through training a goshawk, chronicling her journey in this beautifully written and compelling book.

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