The other day I listed all the books I read in 2015. I counted 54 books! As I was going over the list, I started thinking about which ones I liked the best, so I decided to make a Top 10 list of the books I read in 2015 that I liked the most. Here they are, in no particular order.
I don’t read many memoirs, but the two I did read this year both made the list. The first one is As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes. Cary Elwes is as charming in the book as you imagine he would be in real life. And the “behind the scenes” stories he tells behind one of my favorite movies were very enjoyable to read. If you have ever seen The Princess Bride, you need to read this book.
The other memoir was a surprise for many reasons. Down the Rabbit Hole by Holly Madison is about her life inside the Playboy Mansion. I love this book for many reasons, but I outlined most of them in my review here, which you should check out.
The next book is not a memoir, but a biography. I have read Empress Dowager Cixi – The Concubine Who Launched Modern China by Jung Chang more times than I can count in the last two years. I’ve read it at least 4 times cover to cover. I love this book. The 100K+ novel I finished that I mentioned in my list of books I read in 2015 was largely informed by Chang’s book about Empress Dowager Cixi. I’ve actually read a lot of books about the Last Empress, both fiction and non-fiction, but this one is the best. It is very well-informed and entertaining to read. I would highly recommend this book.
The next book on this list isn’t a memoir, but it certainly feels like one. A Wilder Rose by tells the story of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, and how her experiences during the Great Depression led to the Little House book series that her mother is famous for but Lane actually wrote. It is a surprising story, but it is also full of information about the Great Depression I had not heard before. A real delight to read. Check out my full review here.
The next book is actually a whole book series. Victoria Thompson’s Gaslight Mystery series are a real joy to read. Even at 17 books, including her latest installment Murder on St. Nicholas Avenue, the series has yet to grow stale. I hope Thompson is able to keep writing this series for years to come.
The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo was a beautiful story that painted an amazing picture of the Chinese underworld. It is very imaginative and unique.
Vermillion by Molly Tanzer was the book I had been waiting for – a mystery set in San Francisco with a Chinese protagonist! This book does an amazing job of blending eastern and western mythology – Chinese vampires and European vampires are both present. There is also representation for everyone, white people, people of color, straight people, gay people, non-binary people, people who don’t fit stereotypical gender norms – this is a book for everyone.
China Dolls by Lisa See is one of her best. I have discovered that if I need a good book to read, I can pick up anything by Lisa See. I plan to read Peony in Love next, but that will mean that I will have read everything she has written. I have no idea what I will read next. I will just have to hope her new book comes out soon!
The Moon in the Palace by Weina Dai Randel isn’t even officially out yet, but I got an early copy. This is an excellent debut by Randel. I had been looking for a book about Empress Wu for a while, and was very excited to find this book and its sequel, Empress of the Bright Moon. I haven’t read the second book yet, but I’m dying to. I don’t know how I will make it to April!
The last one was a bit of a surprise. I read Shanty Gold by Jeanne Charters because I was assigned it as an editor. But I loved it! I found myself so caught up in the story, that I would forget I was supposed to be editing it and would have to go back and re-read parts with a more critical eye. You can read my review of Shanty Gold here and my interview with author Jeanne Charters here.
Man, those were some great books! What about you? What were your favorite books of 2015? Let me know in the comments!