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Top 5 books of 2015

I don't know if anyone else still keeps track of what they've read, but it's the end of the year, time to look back (and forward, I suppose). It'd be easier for me to choose a top 10 books of this year, but that's not allowed due to statues laid down in the Big Read Charter of [unknown year] (document now lost). So, in no particular order, my top 5 books of 2015 are:

Alison Bechdel - Fun Home
Julia Serano - Whipping Girl
Virginia Woolf - Orlando
Tom Stoppard - Arcadia
William Golding - Darkness Visible

How about you? See you all in 2016!

I haven’t read anything challenging or modern, instead I have wallowed in nostalgia via novels about growing up in the fifties or crime novels which in general didn’t require much brain exercise. If I add in the short stories and the nonfiction, that was my lot for the year.
So starting with nonfiction there is

Volume IV In Front of Your Nose 1945-1950 - a collection of George Orwell’s essays, journalism and letters.  
Raw Material – Alan Sillitoe which is a reminiscence of his extended family.
The Glad Eye – one of the Stan Barstow volumes of short stories.
The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath’s disturbing but compelling auto-biographical novel
The Suspect -  Michael Robotham and his introduction of a crime series which has led to him receiving the 2015 Crime Writers’ Association Gold Dagger Award.
Joe McWilliams

I was hoping somebody would remember this. It's been a good year for me, at least in terms of volume of volumes, with I think nearly 60, which I believe is a personal record.
It started with Steinbeck's East of Eden and ended with Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, each memorable in its own way. Will either make my top five? I'll have to get back to you on that; don't have my reading list at hand.

2015 was the year that I discovered the early novels of Barbara Pym.  A friend recommended her to me decades ago and I read "An Academic Question" which I quite enjoyed but didn't feel compelled to read any more of her work.  
A few years ago my book group did "Quartet in Autumn" which was beautifully written but rather sad; it was about elderly people leading lonely lives.  
It was the choice of "Excellent Woman" by my book group last year that inspired me to read more of her early work and what a joy it was.  There is an optimism in her early work; although many of her characters are spinsters, there is a sense that, if not exactly Mr. Right, then Mr. He'll Do, will come along.  "Crampton Hodnet" is simply one of the funniest books I've read.
So three of my top books will be by Barbara Pym;

Excellent Women
Jane and Prudence
Crampton Hodnet

As to the other two places in the top five, I suppose one must go to "The Pickwick Papers" for its sheer joy.

I'll be generous and find a space for P.D. James's "The Private Patient" as it was her last Adam Dalgleish novel. I had stopped reading her as I felt the standard of her work had deteriorated but this book, if not her best, was a return to form.
Joe McWilliams

My top five for 2015, in no particular order

Germinal - Emile Zola
Luncheon of the Boating Party - Susan Vreeland
The Wrecker - Robert Louis Stevenson
Middlemarch - George Eliot
The Complete McAuslan - George MacDonald Fraser

These stories have little in common, except they all took me places I had not been and showed me things I didn't know, in all cases skillfully and convincingly.
Jen M

I do keep a record of what I read and was surprised to see that this year has been my worst in terms of quantity since I started keeping a record.  I know I seem to have had less time for reading, but I have only read 16 books this year.

Anyway, my top 5 for 2015, in loose order of preference are:

Far from the Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
The Soul of Discretion - Susan Hill
Mainlander - Will Smith
We are called to rise - Laura McBride
The Take - Graham Hurley

Here's to a better reading year in 2016!

i am back home now but still not using the computer much. i couldn't let this thread go by though it hasn't been a vintage reading year for me. only one rated 20 - The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton. others ranked highly were The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova, I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith, Peaches For Monsieur le Cure byJoanne Harris and The Thoughts and Happenings of Wilfred PRice by Wendy JOnes. I also really enjoyed Black Swan green by David Mitchell but it was a re-read.  

Cheers, Caro.
Joe McWilliams

Lovely to see you back in business, Caro. I see we have a book in common in 2015 - The Swan Thieves. I enjoyed it so much it led me to Luncheon of the Boating Party, which I enjoyed even more.

All the best in reading and in life in 2016

Great to see you back, Caro.  You've been missed.

Hello Caro,
Lovely to see you back.....the board hasn't been the same without you..
Michael xxx

Really great to see you back, Caro. All best wishes for your recovery and for 2016.

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