THE BEST BOOKS I READ IN 2015

Assuming I don't read something that blows my socks off in the next three weeks or so, the following are my favorite of the 80ish books I read for fun in 2015 (in a rough sort of order):
  1. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
    Not the most original pick, but, like... there's a reason everyone is raving about this. It's relentlessly sad but gorgeously written, and I couldn't put it down even though it's a brutal emotional experience.
  2. Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff
    Again, another not-original pick. I've loved Lauren Groff's sentences for a long time (like, even in The Monsters of Templeton) and I love a good dysfunctional marriage character study so this got a big ol heart eyes emoji from me.
  3. How to Start a Fire by Lisa Lutz
    Read this on a plane and was totally consumed by it. Another one that is heavily catered to my literary interests: "Unlikable" women! Complex friendships! Non-linear narrative!
  4. The Unspeakable by Meghan Daum
    Meghan Daum is my writing role model. Her ability to synthesize massive, complex thoughts and feelings into something clear and cogent is unparalleled.
  5. The Girls from Corona Del Mar by Rufi Thorpe
    Another complicated-lady-friendships novel. This one really stuck with me -- I read it over the summer and still find myself thinking about the characters and speculating about their motivations.
  6. The Folded Clock by Heidi Julavits
    Heidi Julavits is another writing role model of mine, and I loved this weird little peek into her brain. Really desperate to befriend her so we can watch bad reality TV together.
  7. Dept of Speculation by Jenny Offill
    Again: I love a good dysfunctional marriage character study. There are a lot of passages of this book that are just Too Real.
  8. Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
    Really thoughtful and lyrical narrative of grief. This book broke my heart but in, like, a quiet, hopeful way.
  9. Saint Mazie by Jami Attenberg
    Maris Kreizman of Slaughterhouse 90210 was right on when she said this book made her want to be a better person.
  10. The Life and Death of Sophie Stark by Anna North
    I feel like this one has been unjustly forgotten in this year's Literary Novels discussion. An engaging read that deals with creativity, relationality, and the boundaries of the self in ways that would be heavy-handed if a less skilled writer tried to pull it off.
  11. Summerlong by Dean Bakopoulos
    I love this book the same way I love binging a good TV show -- it's really engaging and cinematic. (Also, I do read books by men sometimes, see?)
  12. Re Jane by Patricia Park
    My favorite fun read of the year -- I usually hate modern retellings of literary classics (if you leave the plotline intact but just change setting details, what's the POINT?) but this take on Jane Eyre is witty and insightful.