Yes, I do realize this is the seventh month of two-thousand-SIXTEEN but this post has been sitting in my drafts…
2015 was a year of rediscovering my love of reading. In an attempt to escape the trauma of 2014, I picked up reading right at the end of 2014. My anxious mind runs constantly and reading is one of the only things that helps slow it down. There is nothing like getting lost in a book and it has proved to be quite therapeutic for me in 2015. I read sporadically throughout the year. Over the last few months I’ve read more consistently and hope to continue the trend in 2016. I finished 2015 with about 30 books completed which I’m happy with considering my goal was a total of 12 books for the year.
Here are my top ten books of 2015. I listed my top five and then the final 5 are in no certain order.
The Sea of Tranquility | Katja Millay
This was by far my favorite read of the year. It is the story of Natsya, a teenage girl who has faced immense trauma, stopped speaking, and is attending a new school. What happened to her is slowly revealed throughout the book as she forms a relationship with Josh Bennett who has lost everyone he ever loved. Unlike Natsya, everyone knows Josh Bennett’s story and stays far away from him until Natsya goes for a run one night and ends up lost and scared in front of his garage. It is a beautiful tale of two people finding rescue, redemption, and resurrection. I cannot even begin to justify this book with my words- just read it!
I was not yet born when Walter McMillian was convicted of murder and sentenced to death in my home state of Alabama. Many of the cities and towns mentioned in this book were familiar to me which made it an even more difficult and heart-wrenching read. While this book centers around the McMillian case, Bryan Stevenson spoke about many other cases he’s worked on in this book- each one as hard to comprehend as the one before. This memoir is thought-provoking, eye-opening, heart-breaking, and yet it does offer a glimmer of hope. Hope because there are people like Bryan Stevenson working to fight the injustices in our justice system.
This book dealt with a difficult and controversial topic- assisted suicide. That said, I loved it. I love a book that forces me to open my mind to other circumstances whether I agree or disagree. Will Traynor was a successful, active man who enjoyed life until he became paralyzed in an accident. After becoming paralyzed, he no longer wanted to live. Louisa- who comes from an entirely different background- is hired to care for him and while they get off to a rocky start, she decides to stick around to show him how full his life can still be as a disabled man. It’s a beautiful story and one that will definitely stick with me for the rest of my life.
Suspense is the foundation of The Good Girl. It was one of those “can’t put it down” books that I finished in a couple days. Colin was only supposed to abduct Mia and take her to the drop-off location. As the last minute, he decides against handing her over to her kidnapper and instead takes her to a cabin. Throughout the book, you see a relationship develop between Colin and Mia. You’ll also spend the entire book trying to figure out who is behind the kidnapping and why Mia’s dad doesn’t seem to care as much as he should about his daughter’s disappearance.
All The Light We Cannot See | Anthony Doerr
Historical fiction is something I read very little. In fact, All The Light We Cannot See is the only historical fiction book I read in 2015. After seeing it on must-read list after list, I finally dove in. It took me a while to figure out the timing because I wasn’t paying attention to each chapter name as well as I should have. Once I realized the pattern of the timing, the flow of the back and forth, it all came together. About halfway through, I could not put this book down. Anthony Doerr beautifully interweaves the stories of two teenagers who both want nothing more than to do the right thing during the occupation of France in WWII.
These next 5 books round out my top ten reads of 2015. I loved each one for different reasons. I think that Thirteen Reasons Why should be required reading in middle or high school. If you are going through tough times or just need some encouragement, definitely read The Hardest Peace.
The Fault in Our Stars | John Green
Dear Mr. Knightley | Katherine Reay
Thirteen Reasons Why | Jay Asher
The Hardest Peace | Kara Tippetts
The Last Time We Say Goodbye | Cynthia Hand
I have continued reading in 2016 though not nearly as much. This is a good thing though because it means my anxiety is somewhat controlled and I’m not constantly trying to escape into a book. I hope to share my favorite reads of 2016 before we are halfway through 2017!