It’s that time again - the annual Best of the Year Lists. 2015 was the first year I’ve used Goodreads to catalog, rate, and track my reading, which makes compiling my Best Books list a little more interesting than in past years, when I’ve simply perused the pages of my reading journal for those entries I’ve starred as favorites.
My personal criteria for a Best Book classification? One that captures my emotional interest; one that has appealing, believable, fully developed characters; one with an interesting plot or story line; one that makes me feel “writerly” (to quote my friend Melissa- in other words, a book that makes me itch to get to my own pen and paper and start writing myself). The final requirement, and probably the most important one, is that it must be a book I can imagine myself re-reading, either in a year, five years, or even 10. Even as was writing this list, I felt the urge to go downstairs to my shelves and grab each one of these to re-read.
Here then, are my personal Best Books of 2015:
- Under the Jeweled Sky, Alison McQueen
- Vanessa and Her Sister, Priya Parmar
- The Nightingale, Kristin Hannah
- Everything I Never Told You, Celeste Ng
- A Window Opens, Elizabeth Egan
- Plant Dreaming Deep, May Sarton
- House by the Sea, May Sarton
- M Train, Patti Smith
- The Language of Flowers, Vanessa Diffenbaugh
- A Spool of Blue Thread, Anne Tyler
As for 2016 reading plans/challenges - I’m raising the stakes to 120 on my personal reading challenge, and adding the requirement of reading one book per month in each of these categories: (1) a nonfiction other than memoir; (2) a book that has been translated from another language; and (3) a book by a male author (I noticed I read women author’s almost exclusively.)
For January, my nonfiction book pick is A Deadly Wandering, by Matt Richtel, a book that explores the impact of digital technology on our attention. My book in translation/book by a male author is Bonita Avenue, by Dutch author Peter Buwalda, a “riveting portrait of a family in crisis."
2015 saw me become a more deliberate reader, one with a stated goal of reading 100 books. I’ll be interested to see if I can carry that theme into 2016. An added benefit of focusing on reading goals is that it encourages me to read rather than mindlessly surf the internet, something I hope continues and increases throughout the year ahead.
I look forward to reading all your “Best Books” lists in the coming days, and wish you all happy reading for 2016!