2015 has ended and it left a number of excellent books behind in its wake. If you’re a reader, it’s no surprise to you that the NYT best seller list was filled with over 100 books in 2015. Many of them stayed on the list for weeks. As the new year begins, if you’ve pledged to read more, this list will help you get started!
1. “A Spool of Blue Thread” – Anne Tyler
Pulitzer prize-winning author, Anne Tyler, offers the portrait of a close, but ultimately flawed family, in “A Spool of Blue Thread.” Spanning the decades and four generations, “Blue Thread” takes an intimate look at the Whitshank family. As a family, they share milestones, laughter, and in some cases betrayal, heartache, and secrets. Following Abby, the book moves from Baltimore in the 20s to the summer of 1959, Abby’s own summer of love.
2. “The Stranger” – Harlan Coben
Adam Price is the man with everything. Living the American Dream, Price has a great house, a wonderful wife, two kids and the job to support his lifestyle. Unfortunately, a stranger comes along with a secret about Adam’s wife and that secret could pull his life apart. No one knows who he is. All they know is the stranger appears and ruins lives before he leaves.
3. “The Crossing” – Michael Connelly
Harry Bosch may be retired from the LAPD, but that doesn’t mean he’s stopped working. When his brother, an attorney, comes to him with a client that is being framed for murder, it’s clear that Bosch has more work to do. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take long for the investigation to turn dangerous when the real killer realizes that Bosch is hot on his trail.
4. “All the Light we Cannot See” – Anthony Doerr
“All the Light we Cannot See” is the ambitious tale of a blind French girl and the German boy who she meets in occupied France. Both are merely trying to survive World War II. She is forced to flee from her home to live in a walled citadel and he is an orphan child who is recruited as a Hitler youth thanks to his intelligence. He is sent to look for the resistance and that is when their paths collide.
5. “The Girl on the Train” – Paula Hawkins
“The Girl on the Train” is best described as a Hitchcockian thriller that will change the way you look at people. Rachel travels on the commuter train every morning and every morning she spies the same couple having breakfast on their deck. One morning she sees something quickly, it happens in a flash, but it’s enough to make her report what little she knows to the authorities. Once this happens, Rachel becomes involved in something that she knows little about and isn’t sure if she’s helped anyone by coming forward.
6. “Orphan Train” – Christina Baker Kline
“Orphan Train” follows two very different women on a train that build an unlikely friendship. Riding the train as an “orphan,” is a 91-year-old woman with a hidden past and her new friend is a young, teenage girl with a troubled youth looking for answers that no one has even considered to ask.
7. “Luckiest Girl Alive” – Jessica Knoll
Jessica Knoll’s first novel is an instantly intense story that reader’s have had a hard time putting down. Ani was forced to reinvent herself after a humiliating high school experience. As an adult, she is fashionable, has her dream job, and has a wonderfully handsome fiancé. The only baggage she has is her past.
8. “The Invention of Wings” – Sue Monk Kidd
At the age of 11, Sarah was given the gift of a 10-year-old handmaid named Hetty. In real life, Sarah taught Hetty to read, which led to the death of that young girl. In “The Invention of Wings,” Sue Monk Kidd had the opportunity to give young Hetty life and see where it might have taken her. This lovely novel follows both girls, trapped in different ways, following both girls from adolescence to middle age, through their struggles and their ultimate transformations.
9. “Sarah’s Key” – Tatiana de Rosnay
In 1942, a ten-year-old girl name Sarah is arrested in Paris during the Vel’ d’Hiv roundup. Thinking she will be home soon, she locks her little brother in a cupboard before she goes, to protect him. On the 60th anniversary, Julia Jarmond is asked to write an article about this point in history. In her investigation, she finds a trail of secrets that connect her to Sarah, and as she retraces Sarah’s past, she begins to question her own life.
10. “Gray Mountain” – John Grisham
In 2008, Samantha Kofer has it all. She’s working on Wall Street and life is good. Next thing she knows, the recession hits and she’s losing everything. She ends up moving to Virginia to be a legal aid as penance in hopes of one day getting her job back. Her time in Virginia is nothing like Manhattan. She finds herself in a small town, filled with the coal industry, trying cases that have the ability to turn deadly.
11. “Before I Go” – Colleen Oakley
Along a similar vein of “P.S. I Love You,” a young woman battling breast cancer takes on a mission to find her husband a new wife before she passes away.
12. “Station Eleven” – Emily St. John Mandel
“Station Eleven” can only be described as a dark, but exciting novel that depicts the spellbinding days that occur before civilization begins to collapse. The story revolves around a Hollywood celebrity, the person trying to save him, and a roaming band of actors that travel across the scattered Great Lakes risking their lives and all they have for their art.
13. “The Liar” – Nora Roberts
When Shelby Foxworth loses her husband, the event is devastating. Matters only become worse when she realizes that her husband was a liar, an adulterer, and he left her with more debts than she could imagine. With nowhere to turn, Shelby returns to her hometown with her daughter, but upon her arrival she realizes that it will be hard to escape her husband’s past, no matter where she goes.
14. “What Alice Forgot” – Liane Moriarty
Alice Love has lost a decade and needs to find it. She remembers being 29-years-old and in love with her husband, but when she wakes up on the floor of the gym where she passed out, it’s ten years and three kids later. Oh, and she’s getting a divorce. Alice needs to examine her life to understand the time she’s lost and to understand why the important things in her life have disappeared.
15. “The Accidental Empress” – Allison Pataki
“The Accidental Empress” tells the story of 15-year-old Elisabeth “Sisi,” Duchess of Bavaria, as she travels with her sister to the Habsburg Court. She is traveling because her sister is betrothed to the young emperor, Franz Joseph. Sisi ends up in a terrible dilemma when she realizes she’s fallen in love with her sister’s future husband and that he shares her feelings, as well.
16. “Our Souls at Night” – Kent Haruf
Addie Moore and Louis Waters are neighbors. They are both widowed and though they have children, they are living far away so they do not often see them. They are both alone and spend their lives, in big, empty homes with no one to talk to, until one day Addie pays Louis an unexpected visit.
17. “Fangirl” – Rainbow Rowell
Cath is entering college and she is bringing her best friend with her. The only problem is that her best friend is from a fictional series. Cath spends her time fantasizing about her favorite fandom. She has a professor that hates fan fiction, a roommate who is nice, but doesn’t understand her, and a twin sister that grew up and away from a once shared fantasy, leaving Cath to figure things out on her own.
18. “Defending Jacob” – William Landay
Andy Barber is an assistant district attorney in a sleepy Massachusetts town where he has worked for more than 20 years. He is well known and respected by his community and his family. However, nothing can prepare him for a shocking crime that hits their little town or the fact that his 14-year-old son is charged with murder as a result.
19. “The First Bad Man” – Miranda July
Cheryl lives her life in a fantasy. She is obsessed with a man from work and believes they are having an affair, even though in real life they have never had sex. This all changes when her boss asks Cheryl to take in their 21-year-old daughter, Clee. Clee is selfish and sometimes cruel and she forces Cheryl to live in a reality that she has ignored for quite some time. However, this bullying blond bombshell also teaches her something about love no one else ever could.
20. “Descent” – Tim Johnston
When a broken family takes one more vacation together before their oldest daughter heads to college, no one expects that the location they choose could be their undoing. The Rocky Mountains enchanted the entire Courtland family. Things quickly change when the children, Caitlin and Sean go for a morning run, and only Sean returns. The Mountains quickly go from mystifying to nightmarish. The family must come together in ways they haven’t in years to determine what happened to their daughter.