Thursday, 31 December 2015

The 10 Best Fiction/Non-Fiction of 2015


Another year of literary prizes – the Nobel, the Pulitzer, the Booker, and so on – and I’m happy to report I didn’t read any books that were awarded them! Like every year I read a few books that were published prior to this year like Alex Garland’s The Coma, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and The Man in the High Castle, and enjoyed them all.

But this list is about good books published in 2015 that I read and, luckily, there’s just about ten to fill it out – onto the books! 

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10. Cunning Plans

This is a collection of various speeches Warren Ellis gave at conferences on history, the future, the present, and generally whatever’s on his mind. Funny, entertaining and informative essays, as you’d expect from the man himself. 

9. So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed
Jon Ronson takes a critical look at Twitter and the culture of online shaming that social media has given to everyone. Fascinating and compelling stuff. 

8. The Harder They Come
TC Boyle’s latest novel takes the real life incident of a young male survivalist with mental problems who goes on a murdering spree in rural California. Boyle doesn’t disappoint in bringing this tragedy memorably to life. 

7. In a Dark, Dark Wood
Ruth Ware’s debut novel is a modern-day Agatha Christie novel of a hen night in the country gone wrong with murder in the air. It’s swift, breathless reading – a thriller that lives up to its label! 

6. Slade House
A mysterious house appears in Slade Alley once every few years, its inhabitants a pair of sinister sorcerers – David Mitchell writes an excellent haunted house book that spans years. 

5. The Grown-Up
Gillian Flynn’s short story gets its own publication after its appearance in last year’s collection Rogues, from George R. R. Martin. A psychic is faced with a possessed child and asked to exorcise him – but who’s fooling who? 

4. Shaking Hands with Death
Sir Terry Pratchett passed away this year leaving behind a remarkable body of work. Shaking Hands with Death is a speech he gave a few years ago on the immortal subject of mortality. Moving and powerful. 

3. You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost)
The delightful Felicia Day writes her autobiography in relation to computers and games – fun and exuberant, much like the person herself. 

2. Three Twisted Stories
In a break from her usual crime-writing, Karin Slaughter tries out the comedic short story and produces three absolute gems – I laughed so hard at them, they were absolutely superb. A revelation. 

1. Go Set a Watchman
A long undiscovered manuscript led to an unexpected sequel to one of the 20th century’s most beloved novels, To Kill a Mockingbird, with Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman. Scout is a young woman now who discovers a shocking truth about her father Atticus – which, rather than “spoil” his character as some vocal readers claim, actually enforces his integrity. A wonderful novel and a delightful surprise.

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