I didn’t come anywhere near reaching my goal of 75 books in 2015, but I did finish writing two novels, so I have a reasonable excuse. I find it risky to read fiction while I’m writing; books with a strong voice are particularly problematic, as I’m afraid the voice of the book I’m reading will surface in my writing.
It’s not that I wasn’t reading; much of my reading was research for my novels, and I learned so much. I’ll blog about my non-fiction faves in coming weeks. In the meantime, here are my fiction headliners.
Most Memorable Reads of 2015
Between writing stints, I tucked into some wonderful fiction titles. Here are three stand-outs.
Ophelia & the Marvellous Boy by Karen Foxlee
As soon as I saw this book, I knew I’d love it. It’s about a girl whose father works in a museum in a city of perpetual winter. The museum setting is wonderfully enigmatic, but the frosty ambiance makes it perfect. While roaming through the museum’s eerily shifting galleries, Ophelia finds a boy who’s been waiting for her for a very long time–and the clock is literally ticking. Their adventure is both spellbinding and nail-biting.
I met the author Karen Foxlee this year–what a thrill! Ophelia has all the makings of a classic. 5 stars, no reservations. Suitable for 11 (10?) and up.
Exciting News Flash: Karen has a new book up and coming! Watch out for A Most Magical Girl.
My Grandmother Sends Her Regards and Apologises by Fredrik Backman
Think of this one as Pippi Longstocking for big people. This book has the same Swedish sparkle and verve as Astrid’s children’s classic. It’s humorous, heart-breaking, and memorable. The characters were so brilliantly drawn that I couldn’t help casting friends and acquaintances in their parts as I listened to the audio. It’s a quirky book–refreshingly delightful and utterly poignant. I dare you not to love the grandmother character.
5 stars, no reservations. Perfect for readers who relish character-driven stories with a hint of mystery. Suitable for adults, but mature young readers might also enjoy it. (NB: It references smoking, drinking, some violence, etc.)
The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George
If ever there was a book-lover’s delight, this is it. How can you beat a story that centres around a floating bookstore–a literary apothecary, whose owner prescribes books to his customers to heal their hearts and repair their lives? Bookseller Jean Perdu has a gift: he “sees” people’s personal blind spots and downfalls and prescribes literary cures. The problem is he can’t fix himself. The book tells the story of his journey toward healing. There is something for almost everyone: book lover, writer, lover, unlucky-in-love, Francophile, foodie, pilgrim … it was so perfect, I bought multiple copies to give away. 5 stars, full recommendation. Read this heart-wrenching redemption story and weep. The book includes recipes AND a list of literary prescriptions. Mais OUI! Suitable for grown-ups with wanderlust.
(*BTW, if you love Books About Books, check out my GoodReads shelf for recommendations here.)
Captivating Covers of 2015
I have to mention these books because of their tempting covers. My favourite covers for 2015:
The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton
A beautiful cover featuring purples and rose gold for a haunting tale. It has all my favourite elements of Gothic literature with a dash of magical realism. I wanted to love it, but books like The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon and Toni Morrison’s Beloved have ruined me forever for this type of story.
Nevertheless, kudos for the pretty cover art.
Uprooted by Naomi Novik
I wanted to love this book. Don’t get me wrong: The writing is as beautiful as the cover. It was amazing–dark, rich, and unique. But for me, it was too dark. I reached a point where I couldn’t continue. Recommended for the stout-hearted and spiritually thick-skinned.
I love the cover’s medieval illuminated text throw-back.
Check out my Pinterest board, Captivating Covers, for pretty covers and interesting-looking reads all year long.
Over to You!
What were your favourite reads and most loved book covers for 2015? Do you agree with my selection? Please recommend your favourites in the comments!
Image Credit: CC0 Public Domain, Bonnybbx