my favourite books of 2015

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold FryThe Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is a funny creature. It’s ripe for maudlin sentimentality, and yet I never felt it was either maudlin or sentimental. It’s just a simple, quietly uplifting story about loss, grief, and what it means to live a meaningful life instead of merely existing. I cried while reading the last few chapters, which is not very like me at all. I found this book sweetly moving and I would recommend it.

Florence GordonFlorence Gordon by Brian Morton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wonderful and maddening, like the title character herself. I loved it.

Calling Dr. Laura: A Graphic MemoirCalling Dr. Laura: A Graphic Memoir by Nicole J. Georges

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Charming and poignant. I loved the illustration style. Nicole Georges has a good sense of narrative structure and a kind and generous spirit toward all the characters in her memoir. It’s truly lovely.

Sidewalk FlowersSidewalk Flowers by JonArno Lawson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This wordless picture book tells a meaningful story about an observant little girl and her dad. Beautiful and touching.

Press HerePress Here by Hervé Tullet

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a fantastic book. Our neighbour’s son is now 9 years old, but he wanted to show me one of his favourite books from when he was a little kid. We read this book together and I could see why he liked it, even now! It’s really clever and engaging. I could see it being the type of book a child would read over and over again, and would be most fun read with another person!

I think I know a few children who might be getting this book in future.

Did You Ever Have a FamilyDid You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Beautifully written and very moving. All I can say is, the hype around this book is based in substance and the critical acclaim is well deserved. My library hold came in unexpectedly quickly, so I started reading it that night before bed and stayed up far too late. The characters are so clearly depicted that I felt as though they were people I actually know; the writing is beautifully sure-footed and deceptively effortless. This book is a real pleasure. Reminds me a little bit of Olive Kitteridge, another book I enjoyed a lot.

Slade HouseSlade House by David Mitchell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I absolutely tore through this–very compelling. I think it’s a ripping good Halloween yarn. Not going to say much about the storyline, though, because it should be read with as little foreknowledge as possible. Probably best read after The Bone Clocks, but could function as a standalone. Some clunky exposition here and there, but I forgave it immediately.

Our Souls at NightOur Souls at Night by Kent Haruf

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Really liked it. I’m still considering giving it 5 stars, but I wasn’t too keen on where it ended. Kent Haruf writes with spareness and does it well. Loved Addie and Louis and Addie’s grandson Jamie; HATED Gene. (I certainly got invested quickly!)

I liked the way the book acknowledged what aging and loneliness are like. The characters are surprisingly complex, given how little time we have with them.

I’m very glad my friend Mark recommended this to me!

You can see all my Goodreads reviews here.