For Top Ten Tuesday this week, we get to pick our own topic. For normal people, this is probably a great opportunity to come up with something original and interesting. I, however, am not normal. So for me, it’s an opportunity to panic, hyperventilate, and second (or third) guess all of my potential ideas.
After a week of careful consideration, I’ve decided to list the top ten books I’ve read so far this year. It’s been a particularly good year for me, reading-wise, so there are lots to choose from!
|If I Fall, If I Die – Michael Christie
This was one of the first books I read this year, but I knew by about halfway through that it was going to be one of the best. It’s the story of a young boy named Will who, up until the point we meet him, doesn’t remember ever going outside. His mother is severely agoraphobic, and is terrified of all the things that could harm them out in the world. Will hasn’t ever been to school and knows nothing about how the world outside his home works. But soon after we meet him, a series of events draw him outside, where he discovers skateboarding, school and friends. It’s a heartwarming, beautifully-written and deeply affecting book that will draw you in and stick with you long after you read its final page.
| We Should All Be Feminists – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s We Should All Be Feminists (based on her TED Talk of the same name – click on the title link to read full review and see the video) is a brilliantly succinct and rational description of exactly why feminism is still relevant. If you want to know the basics of feminism, or if you’ve struggled to explain to someone why feminism is important, this is the book you need. It’s short, you can read it in an hour, but it will hit home.
| A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara
This book was one of the most painful reading experiences of my life – if not the most painful reading experience of my life. It’s primarily the story of Jude, a young man who is both physically and psychologically scarred. As the book progresses we learn about the pain Jude lives with, and about the horrifying experiences he had during his childhood that left him so damaged. The story centres around Jude and his group of three college friends as they move through their adult lives, their relationships with one another shifting and changing, but never disappearing. it’s an epic tale of survival and friendship that is well worth the length of the book. (But take my advice and stock up on tissues and chocolate before you start. You’ll need them.)
| We Are All made of Molecules – Susin Nielsen
A young adult book, We Are All Made of Molecules is the story of two teenagers whose parents move in together. The two couldn’t be more different – Stewart is intelligent, small for his age, and has trouble navigating the complexities of school socialization. Ashley, on the other hand, is pretty and popular, but also selfish and insensitive. The merging of the two families forces everyone to not only step outside their comfort zones, but to look out for one another and become a new family. It’s a set of circumstances that will be familiar to many of us, and is written with humour and poignancy.
| The Girl With All the Gifts – M.R. Carey (review coming soon)
I have to be honest, if I hadn’t been reading this as part of a buddy read, I probably would have given up on it. I can’t even begin to convey how grateful I am that I didn’t. I don’t want to say much about this story because I really think it’s one of those books that the less you k now going into it, the better. I will say it’s about a zombie apocalypse but with some very interesting twists and turns.
| The Red Notebook – Antoine Laurain (review coming soon)
I have no idea where I heard about this book (if it was from you, thank you!) but it was one of the most wonderful surprises of the year. This book has some of my favourite things – Paris, books, serendipity, mystery and whimsy. It’s the story of a woman who is mugged and ends up in a coma. A local bookseller finds her abandoned purse and goes to great lengths to track down its owner, coming to care about her in the process. it reminded me a lot of the French film (and my favourite of all time) Amélie. It’s a quick, fun read and will leave you feeling a bit more positive about the world than you did when you started it.
| Free Days With George – Colin Campbell
When I was asked if I’d like to review this book, I was a little bit nervous. I love animals to a ridiculous degree, and I can’t handle books where anything bad happens to them. So before agreeing to review this, I first had to be reassured that it ends well for George. It turned out to be one of he most wonderful stories of a mutually healing animal-human relationship I’ve ever read. Both Colin and George are easy to get along with, and their obvious love for one another warmed the cockles of my little heart. I devoured this book in two short goes and it was one of the most enjoyable reads I’ve experienced in a very long time. If you’re an animal lover, you should definitely meet George.
|Hyperbole and a Half – Allie Brosh
This book is hilarious, but it also brings up some of life’s difficult (and less talked about) aspects – like depression or dealing with a homicidal goose in your kitchen. I haven’t laughed so hard all year, but I also felt grateful for Brosh sharing her experiences, because she made me feel less alone. A brilliant, quick, easy read – but one that you won’t ever want to end
|Dietland – Sarai Walker (review coming soon)
This book is an odd combination of a very readable story, and very challenging issues. It has so many elements that make for a great story: An underdog to root for, a mysterious vigilante who is hunting down abusive men, fashion, body image issues and a feminist enclave. I know, these aren’t elements you normally expect to find in one book – but they’re here, and they work. It is a book whose plot will keep you flipping pages furiously, but that will leave you with a lot of conflicting emotions and plenty to think about.
|Wicked and Weird – Rich Terfry
Rich Terfry is a Canadian musician who, until reading this book, I knew very little about, other than I liked some of his songs. But that (and the fact that he’s Canadian) was enough to interest me. Once I started reading, however, I was hooked. This book is a “fictional autobiography,” though I really don’t know what that means. The stories are colourful, a bit crazy and incredibly entertaining. It doesn’t really matter what percentage of truth is in them – they’re a damn good read.
Now, these are the best of a really fantastic bunch of books, so there are plenty more I absolutely loved! (If you want to see all the books I read in 2015 and my ratings, you can find them on Goodreads here.)
Your turn! What did you choose for your Top Ten Tuesday topic this week? Which were your favourite reads of 2015 so far? Have you read any of mine? Share in the comments!
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly link-up feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Every week TTT has a different topic, and everyone who links up has to create a link of ten items that fit that topic. To see past and upcoming topics, go here.