Saturday, December 19, 2015

The Best Books of 2015

If you haven’t spent the whole of 2015 reading, then it’s not too late for you yet. Here are the most popular literary works in fiction for the year according to online rankings and critics, so grab your copies and get reading!

1.Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee

This generation of readers probably doesn’t realize how lucky it is to witness the release of a sequel to something that was published about half a century ago. As a companion novel to the smashing success that is To Kill A Mockingbird, Go Set A Watchman brings Scout and Atticus back in a masterpiece by the one and only Harper Lee. Jean Louise Finch—or Scout as we all know her—is now twenty six years old, and she’s coming home amidst political turmoil to visit her father. The book beautifully chronicles the bittersweet, painful, and eye-opening journey of a young woman struggling to reconcile her past with her present. It no doubt brings justice to the American classic with the profound wisdom and touch of humor that only Harper Lee is known to bring. The novel may have been written in the mid-1950s, but Go Set A Watchman is more relevant to our current situation than we might expect.

2. All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

If you’re a fan of the quirky young adult goodness of Eleanor and Park and The Fault in Our Stars, All The Bright Places is another fave that you will devour with pleasure. This New York Times bestseller is already in the works as a major motion picture with Elle Fanning, but of course, you have to read the book first, right? The heartwarming read features Theodore Finch, a troubled boy who is fascinated by death, and Violet Markey, who’s struggling with death herself because of the grief of her sister’s passing. Finch is always thinking of ways to commit suicide, while Violet is too preoccupied with counting the days but never living them. They soon meet on the ledge of the school bell tower and consequently save each other’s lives in more ways than one. Both fragile and damaged, these two souls come together to try and make sense of the world around them in an intense and heartbreaking love story that will make fans of Gayle Forman and Jay Asher yearn for more.

3. After Alice by Gregory Maguire

Who doesn’t love a fresh, new twist to an old classic? Author Gregory Maguire knows that better than anyone, and in After Alice, he once again proves that his magic formula for Wicked works like a charm. In this dazzling new take on the beloved classic Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, readers follow the tale of Ada, Alice’s friend, who tries to visit Alice but ends up falling down that same infamous rabbit hole. What happens next is a series of adventures and misadventures that give us a delightful reimagining of the wonders in Wonderland. What better way to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the original book than to read After Alice?

4. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Even if you’re not a big fan of psychological thrillers, you’ve probably already seen this book on the bestseller lists of your local bookstore, or stacked up front and center on the display shelves. That’s because Paula Hawkins’ Girl on the Train is an international hit, one that is said to be the next Gone Girl. Still, it’s more than just the hype—Girl on the Train is a truly riveting read from the debut author, packed with the right kind of inexplicable disappearances and accidental involvements that make a thriller so darn good. The widespread acclaim is not just for show—go ahead and pick up a copy of the novel yourself to find out.

5. Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances by Neil Gaiman

Of course, Neil Gaiman makes the cut. He just has to. The collection of 23 scintillating tales in Trigger Warning includes retellings of old fairy tales such as Sleeping Beauty in “The Sleeper and the Spindle”, and knowing Gaiman, readers will indubitably be in for a treat. There is even a Doctor Who story thrown into the mix, along with some poetry and a tale to accompany American Gods. Nasty twists and disturbing surprises await the brave reader, and once these tales are read, short as they may be, they will remain with the reader long after the last page is turned.

6. The Shepherd's Crown by Terry Pratchett

The world of literature lost a great treasure in the form of Terry Pratchett, when Alzheimer’s disease overtook him at age 66 early this year. Still, even after his death, his works reverberated throughout the whole writing community especially with the posthumously published The Shepherd’s Crown. As the final chapter to the 41 novels in the Discworld series, The Shepherd’s Crown did every beloved character justice. It is indeed a fitting farewell to both the series and the author himself, and any fan would do well to reenter the world of fantasy to follow the tale of Tiffany Aching one last time.

7. A Reunion of Ghosts by Judith Claire Mitchell

Who says creating a joint suicide note for three sisters about to commit suicide on New Year’s Eve can’t be a hilarious endeavor? The novel serves as a tell-all for the lives and previous generations of the Alter family, and before Lady, Vee, and Delph end their lives as least melodramatic as possible, they want to share their family history to us, the readers. What results is a dark comedy about the sins of the past and how everything is intertwined with our lives today.

8. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

Winner of the 2015 Kirkus Prize, A Little Life is an incredibly honest and personal look into the lives of four college roommates who grow up and deal with the adult world the best way each of them knows how. It’s interesting how the novel focuses on four different characters and yet manages to capture and enthrall readers with each one. An architect, a painter, an actor, and a lawyer—these four take center stage as we experience the agony of their agony. Indeed, the cover photo does not lie.

*This article was first seen on The Philippine Online Chronicles HERE.

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