2015 Favorites.

This was not a great reading year for me. I won’t go as far as saying these are the best of a bad lot, because that’s not true, but my reading slump was so pervasive that, at times, it felt that way.  That being said, I quite enjoyed the following books.

Best Books 2015 - Favorites

08. American Meteor // Norman Lock. “Sheds brilliant light along the meteoric path of American westward expansion. . . . [A] pithy, compact beautifully conducted version of the American Dream, from its portrait of the young wounded soldier in the beginning to its powerful rendering of Crazy Horse’s prophecy for life on earth at the end.”

07. Girl Waits with Gun // Amy Stewart (review). Truth is sometimes stranger than fiction, and women’s history is often more relevant than we’d like to admit. In this particular story, those two things combine to make one delightful mystery. Based on one of the first female sheriffs in the country, this novel follows the adventures of the Kopp family. Constance Kopp, soon to be thirty-five, is having a more adventurous year than she anticipated. The destruction of her buggy by an automobile sets off a series of increasingly alarming events. Constance and her sisters make quite the trio standing against the bullying, harassment, and threatening behavior of Henry Kaufman, the driver of the car (all true, no less).

06.Get in Trouble // Kelly Link (review). A wonderful collection of short stories released by Kelly Link. The stories cover the weird (as in the formal use of the word) side of life, but a very human side as well – teenage angst, ex-lovers, jealousy, longing.

05. The Tsar of Love and Techno // Anthony Marra. “From the New York Times bestselling author of A Constellation of Vital Phenomena—dazzling, poignant, and lyrical interwoven stories about family, sacrifice, the legacy of war, and the redemptive power of art.”

04. The Shore // Sara Taylor (review). The Shore is Sara Taylor’s debut novel. Set just off the coast of Virginia, there are a group of small islands in the Chesapeake Bay known as “the Shore.” Inhabited by rich and poor alike, the Shore is the place that binds everyone together.

03. Bull Mountain // Brian Panowich (review). The novel tells the saga of the Burroughs family and its transition from selling moonshine to marijuana and eventually meth. It centers on brothers Halford and Clayton. Halford is the head of the Burroughs empire, while Clayton is the outcast and the sheriff of the county. The two form an uneasy truce that lasts until Special Agent Simon Holly arrives. After that, nothing is the same.

01. Paradise Sky // Joe R.Lansdale (review). Despite his life being glamorized throughout dime novels, Deadwood Dick needs to set the record straight—including how he got his name, how he saved Wild Bill Hickok, and how his life changed by looking up at exactly the wrong time.

01. The Marauders // Tom Cooper (review). What do you do when a book can make you sympathetic to a drug addicted man who neglects his estranged wife and daughter and hunts for treasure when he should be working? You love it. To quote Esquire Tom Cooper’s The Marauders is “more fun that a book about the aftermath of an ecological disaster has any right to be”.

What did you read this year that stands out? For more top ten lists, visit here.

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  • Sarah (Sarah’s Book Shelves)

    Ugh – I’m sorry you had a slumpy year…I thought it would be the same for me a few months in, but things turned around. Bull Mountain made my list as well and I’ve had The Marauders on my TBR for awhlie now.

    • Rory O’Connor

      I just picked up The Gates of Evangeline based on you debut list and I absolutely LOVED it. It broke me out of my recent reading funk and really cheered me up. So thank you.

      • Sarah (Sarah’s Book Shelves)

        Oh yay! I’m so glad! It’s a great choice if you’re looking for a certain type of book! And – apparently there is a sequel in the works, although I’m not sure how I feel about that or where it would go. But, I’ll read it.

  • Lianne @

    Sorry to hear that you had a bleh year in reading 🙁 Wishing that 2016 will be a fantastic reading year for you! Great list though, yay for The Tsar of Love and Techno! I only read it recently and loved it so much, it became a late inclusion to my list this week xD

    My TTT

    • Rory O’Connor

      I am hopeful that 2016 will vastly improve.

  • Naomi

    On the bright side, having a bad reading year probably meant it was easier to make up your top 10 list – something I always have a hard time doing. 🙂
    I haven’t read any of these yet, but 3 of them are on my definite to-read list.

    • Rory O’Connor

      Yep, I didn’t even make it to 8. These were all the stand outs!

  • MeezCarrie

    I have read none of these lol – The Shore looks interesting! My TTT

    • Rory O’Connor

      I’m biased, but I suggest giving it a shot!

  • Kathy

    I LOVED Bull Mountain; it definitely made my list. I still have The Shore as one of my leftovers that I didn’t get to this year, so I’ll carry it over. I’ve seen it on several lists.

    • Rory O’Connor

      I hope you like it!

  • Lauren

    I’m looking forward to Girl Waits With Gun! 🙂

    Check out my TTT and Music Monday.

    • Rory O’Connor

      It’s absolutely great, I hope you like it.

  • Shannon @ River City Reading

    I totally need to read Get in Trouble. I don’t know how it’s slipped away from me for so long!

    • Rory O’Connor

      Maybe the short story aspect? You’re not always a fan, right? It’s good, Meg Wolitzer said so!

  • Bonnie

    Bull Mountain and Girl Waits With Gun were fantastic. I’m always seeing Joe Lansdale books on your blog but I still have yet to dive into his collection yet. Someday.

    It’s so interesting to see how many people considered this a poor reading year, myself being one of them. I had a reading slump at the beginning of the year but was fortunate to shake it off without it returning. I did have an extremely long string of 2-star reads that had me feeling pretty discouraged though. Here’s hoping for a better 2016 reading year for both of us. 🙂

    • Rory O’Connor

      Someday you’ll read one and love it and I will take all the credit.

  • The Book Wheel

    Slumps are no good! The only book I’ve read on this list is The Shore but I’m dying to read Bull Mountain and haven’t found the time. A few others look good so I’ll have to check them out.

    • Rory O’Connor

      It’s been the slumpiest year ever. 2016 will hopefully head the right direction though.

  • Andi

    I loved The Shore so much, and I’m looking forward to diving into Bull Mountain and Get in Trouble in the new year.

  • Kate

    We don’t have a single match this year 🙁 I’d say that’s mainly* because I haven’t read any on your list. The Tsar of Love and Techno is in my TBR stack though and I keep hearing good things.
    Sorry you haven’t had a great reading year. Mine started strongly, waned a little in the middle and picked up marginally toward the end. Here’s hoping for an abundance of good reading in 2016.
    *or even entirely

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