The a.v. Club's Favorite Books of 2015

After a stellar year for the written word, The A.V. Club provides some of our favorite books for your consideration as you buy, borrow, or download your next read. Read more about each here: http://avc.lu/1NGjMKy
  1. Hunger Makes Me A Modern Girl, Carrie Brownstein
    Memoirs tend to make their subject look good, but Brownstein doesn’t shy away from sharing her failings and their repercussions. Hunger Makes Me A Modern Girl is crisply written and insightful, and for fans of Sleater-Kinney, it’s required reading.
  2. So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, Jon Ronson
    Where Jon Ronson succeeds as a journalist (and where many of his imitators fail) is in his ability to find humanity in the most unexpected and outrageous places. So while his newest book, So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, is, on the surface, about “them”—people who have been cast out of society due to an insensitive comment, bigoted joke, or some other online transgression—really it’s about “us.”
  3. Modern Romance, Aziz Ansari and Eric Klinenberg
    Aziz Ansari and Eric Klinenberg created a work that’s incredibly insightful, judgment-free, and never less than compulsively readable. With Modern Romance, Ansari firmly establishes himself as one of the country’s best cultural commentators.
  4. Notorious RBG, Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik
    Ruth Bader Ginsburg's life, chronicled here, is a fascinating look at a lifelong feminist with a succinct legal mind. A blend of substance and puns, her legal opinions are printed next to some of the internet memes that made her a household name (or at least her initials), making this as informative as it is fun.
  5. Between The World And Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates
    Already it is clear that Atlantic correspondent Ta-Nehisi Coates has written a landmark book on the state of our nation, one that will be studied and debated and cherished for decades; no less an authority than Toni Morrison touted it as “required reading... as profound as it is revelatory.” It's easily the most important book of 2015.
  6. The First Bad Man, Miranda July
    Miranda July’s debut novel plays out exactly as anyone who loves her short stories or films might want it to: It’s weird and sweet in equal measures, and populated by characters that at first seem unlikable but who prove themselves utterly human in the best ways.
  7. The Rabbit Back Literature Society, Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen
    A gripping mystery that haunts the reader in the most pleasant, shivery way, The Rabbit Back Literature Society falls into similar terrain as Twin Peaks, with unexplained phenomena, a strange town, and bizarre characters. It trusts its readers to figure out the mystery for themselves.
  8. The Girl On The Train, Paula Hawkins
    Even after more than 6.5 million copies have been sold worldwide, and the movie version starring Justin Theroux and Emily Blunt began production: It’s a gripping mystery and a damn good book.
  9. Made To Kill, Adam Christopher
    It’s 50 percent hardboiled, 50 percent science fiction, and 100 percent retro-pulp spectacle. And in robo-P.I. Ray, Adam Christopher has created a mysterious, sympathetic antihero cast in titanium and steel.
  10. Yes!, Daniel Bryan and Craig Tello
    There have been plenty of professional wrestling memoirs written by a few generations of sports entertainers, but Daniel Bryan’s stands among the best. A well-woven combination of (often humorous) road stories, behind-the-scenes insights, and the underdog tale that was one man’s journey to the top of the proverbial mountain.
  11. West Of Sunset, Stewart O’Nan
    There’s something to be said for the simple pleasure of a good story told well, and by that score, Stewart O’Nan’s West Of Sunset is one of the most purely enjoyable novels of the year. The book is a candid but forgiving look at F. Scott Fitzgerald’s lost years in Hollywood, where one of America’s best writers found himself sinking in a quicksand of booze and glamour, his triumphs far behind him.
  12. Sick In The Head, Judd Apatow
    Even now that he’s firmly established as one of the most influential people in comedy, the quintessential image of Judd Apatow is of him as kid, geekily interviewing his stand-up idols about their careers and philosophies. That every comic approaches comedy differently no doubt informed his later work, which is nothing if not inclusive. Sick In The Head compiles those interviews into one hefty tome that’s indispensable for comedy buffs.
  13. Collected Fiction, Leena Krohn
    There’s been a big push over the past few years to better recognize the contributions of international authors to the canon of speculative fiction—and when it comes to Finnish spec-fic, Leena Krohn reigns. In Collected Fiction, a massive hardcover anthology of her work, the acclaimed and award-winning author is given a lavish introduction to American readers.
  14. The Children’s Crusade, Ann Packer
    Packer probes so gently as she pulls back each layer of dysfunction that it’s easy to miss how surely she’s laying the groundwork for her powerfully emotional denouncement. Some great books announce their greatness immediately; this one sneaks up on you.
  15. The Folded Clock: A Diary, Heidi Julavits
    In varied meditations, Heidi Julavits reflects on subjects as like depression, modern art, bath salts, desire, and The Bachelorette. Read together they become a window into Julavits’ thoughtful and thought-provoking mind, a mind you will want to spend time with for a long series of “todays.”
  16. 1965: The Most Revolutionary Year In Music, Andrew Grant Jackson
    Andrew Grant Jackson’s 1965: The Most Revolutionary Year In Music is no mere hagiography of the Fab Four, The Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys, and The Byrds. By not limiting his geographic or stylistic foci, Jackson offers a convincing case for the bold claim that he puts forth in the title.
  17. A Head Full Of Ghosts, Paul Tremblay
    Set in suburban Massachusetts 15 years after a family’s alleged possession ordeal was captured by a reality show, Tremblay’s intricate, dizzying thriller weaves commentary about social media, blogging, and pop-culture obsession in the internet age into a jaw-dropping reinvention of familiar tropes. And beneath the complexity and exquisite construction is a nerve-shredding odyssey into darkness whose ending will chill the heart.
  18. The Good, The Bad, And The Furry, Tom Cox
    Cox delves into the deceptively simple topic of cats to expose deep truths on relationships and death: Don’t let the reductive “cat book” subject matter and the author’s sizable Twitter following trick you into not taking this book seriously.
  19. Love And Lies: An Essay On Truthfulness, Deceit, And The Growth And Care Of Erotic Love, Clancy Martin
    The book is a blend of memoir, self-analysis, philosophical argument, and, “because many of the most fascinating lovers are in literature,” literary criticism. Through his own stories of experience as well as those of writers, artists, novels, and stories (Goethe’s The Sorrows Of Young Werther, Joyce’s “Araby”), Martin explores why and how we lie to ourselves and to each other.
  20. The Wright Brothers, David McCullough
    David McCullough is America’s most popular historian because his books recreate the past in a way that is accessible, but not simplified. At the risk of being ridiculously corny, he makes learning fun. Rather than coming off as lectures or homework, his books tell stories, and in the tale of Orville and Wilbur Wright he’s got a corker of one.