Favorite Books of the Year – 2015

Despite what people may think, owning your own bookshop doesn’t mean that you get to read all day.  In fact, Joe has probably read less in a year than he ever has… which is probably a good sign for the business (things are going really well and we’re really busy!) but it’s murder on his page count.  What’s his page count you ask? Well… as truly obsessed readers can tell you, not only do you keep a count of how many individual books you’ve read, you also keep track of how many pages you’ve read.  (Author’s note: I only keep track of how many books, NOT how many pages)

However, we were both still able to read enough to still call ourselves book lovers.  So here are our favorite books we’ve read this year.

a yellow lab stares up at her owner,  a dark bearded light skinned man.

Joe’s Top 5 Favorite Books:

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, by Gabrielle Zevin

Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World, by Haruki Murakami

The Night Gardener, by Jonathan Auxier

Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline

The Man in the High Castle, by Philip K. Dick

 

BEST OF THE BEST:

A tie between…

red background with yellow block letters that say ready player one Ernest Cline a novel. a yellow sky over maroon water/liquid with an imagined structure in the background. The words The Man in the High Castle Philip K. Dick is in the top third of the image.

Ready Player One, Ernest Cline

Set in the not too distant future, this novel tells the story of the Oasis, a virtual reality world that provides relief for the unpleasant reality of Wade, aka Par7ival. When the creator of the Oasis dies, his will reveals a contest: the individual who solves a series of puzzles within the virtual world will inherit the whole thing. Both an homage to 1980s nerd culture (Wargames, D&D, Monty Python, Joust) and a reasonable glimpse into a dismal future, Ready Player One will transport you and thrill you.

and

The Man in the High Castle, Philip K. Dick

The Hugo Award winner from 1962, this novel feels as fresh as ever – like most of PKD’s work. The novel’s hook is its setting: an alternate history in which the United States lost World War II and was divided between Germany and Japan. The novel mostly takes place in Japanese-occupied San Francisco, but quickly demonstrates it is much more than an alternate history novel. Dick ruminates on the concepts of authenticity of artifacts, fate and the I Ching, and the nature of reality itself.

woman holding a book in front of her face inside a bookshop. The title of the book is The Awakening by Kate Chopin.

Kelsey’s Top 5 Favorite Books:

Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs, Sally Mann

Dumplin’, Julie Murphy

We Were Liars, E. Lockhart

Improbable Theory of Ana & Zak, Brian Katcher

How I Live Now, Meg Rosoff

BEST OF THE BEST:

book cover shows a black and white photograph of clouds with a image of girl in 50s style shorts & shirt jumping in the air.

Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs, Sally Mann

A beautifully written memoir about family, land, growing up in the south, art, poetry, photography, and controversy. I was fascinated by her upbringing, her relationship with artist Cy Twombly, and her photographic process. But where I connected the most with this book is when she talks about being both an artist and a mother, which historically, most male artists haven’t had to balance. Much like her honest, real, and meticulously rendered photographs, Mann’s memoir is a picture into how an artist is created.