Oh, the elusive end-of-the-year best-books lists — so many to read and so many to disagree with. Overall, 2015 was a very good year for books. And if you’re New Year’s resolution is to read more, you'll want to start here.
Loving Day, by Mat Johnson
6. Loving Day, by Mat Johnson
One of the most entertaining and complex protagonists of the year, Warren Duffy navigates (oftentimes unsuccessfully) his messy life of a failed marriage and career, discovers that he has a daughter, and deals with crackheads/ghosts and his own misgivings about growing up biracial. Johnson pours his heart into this nerdy, haunting, and ultimately timely novel about race and belonging.
5. God Help the Child, by Toni Morrison
Literary powerhouse Toni Morrison concentrates on color, beauty, and family relations in her latest novel. Unlike much of her work, the story is set in the present day, which is a nice change of pace. The title character, Bride, has a top-paying job in the cosmetics industry, but that isn't enough to keep her happy. In classic Morrison fashion, ghostly developments ensue, fires get lit, and worlds are shattered.
A Little Life, by Hanya Yanagihara
4. A Little Life, by Hanya Yanagihara
Published less than two years after
3. Make Your Home Among Strangers, by Jennine Capó Crucet
Crucet’s impressive first novel follows her debut short-story collection (How to Leave Hialeah, 2009) and is sure to become a Miami classic. The narrator,
Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
2. Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Inspired by James Baldwin’s 1963 The Fire Next Time, Coates' nonfiction book takes the form of a letter to his 14-year-old son,
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In the Country, by Mia Alvar
1. In the Country, by Mia Alvar
This debut collection by Alvar is perfect for anyone who wants to be blown away by short stories. The characters are Filipinos living under martial law in their own country in the 1970s or working abroad in the United States and the Middle East. Though the subject matter is indeed fresh, the real appeal belongs to the lush sentences, rapid pacing, and morally conflicted characters. The title story is a novella-length tale that Alvar is reportedly using as fodder for a novel, a welcomed gift we hope to read sooner than later.