My intention was to post this favorites list on December 31, but time got away from me. I was enjoying myself too much working, traveling, and partying with friends and family and didn’t get the chance to write this list of favorites.
I enjoy writing and reading these best-of-year lists because I get great recommendations from them. As I said last year when I did a similar list, “the books included in these end-of-year favorites lists are ones that have great staying power. They are ones that readers often reminisce on throughout the year and might even consider rereading.” I still believe that and I chose the books on this list with those words in mind.
I couldn’t stop at the usual 10 books for these lists and instead chose 15 books. I placed them in the following categories: fiction, nonfiction, and other, which includes picture books and comics. The books are listed in the order I read them.
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn ★★★★★
— A thriller about a man whose wife disappears on their anniversary. As the story progresses, we learn that the man is an unreliable narrator and that his marriage wasn’t as perfect and he and his wife pretended it to be.
The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold ★★★★★
— A high-fantasy novel about a former soldier who returns home mentally and physically scarred and wanting only a safe place to live but becomes adviser to the princess of Chalion and uses death magic, which no one believes works, to protect her
Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide by J.K. Rowling ★★★★★
— One of the Pottermore Presents e-books that compiles Rowling’s supplemental Harry Potter writings that were posted to the Pottermore website
The Shining by Stephen King ★★★★★
— A horror novel about a clairvoyant boy who spends the winter season at a sinister hotel in the Colorado mountains
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi ★★★★★
— A historical fiction novel that traces the descendants of two half-sisters from Ghana in the 18th century and concisely tells the story of many African descendants in its 300 pages
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng ★★★★☆ 1/2
— A literary novel about a single mother and her daughter who both move to a Ohio suburb and greatly affect the lives of the people they befriend there
Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed ★★★★★
— A book of advice columns that Cheryl Strayed wrote as Dear Sugar for the online literary magazine The Rumpus
Born a Crime by Trevor Noah ★★★★☆ 1/2
— The comedian’s autobiography about growing up in South Africa during apartheid
Letters to a Young Writer by Colum McCann ★★★★★
— A book of writing advice
Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan ★★★★★
— Cahalan’s memoir about a month she spent mentally disabled
Madness by Marya Hornbacher ★★★★★
— Hornbacher’s autobiography about her struggle with bipolar disorder
Art & Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland ★★★★★
— A nonfiction book that encourages artists of various forms to continue with their work
The River by Alessandro Sanna (illus.) ★★★★☆
— an illustrated children’s book by Italian painter and illustrator Alessandro Sanna about a town situated by a river
The Journey by Francesca Sanna ★★★★★
— A simple yet powerful illustrated children’s book about a family who must seek refuge in a new land because their country is ravaged by war
Saga, Vol. 4 by Brian K. Vaughan, illus. by Fiona Weeks ★★★★★
— A sci-fi/fantasy comic book series about a couple from warring planets who fall in love and have a kid