books The Best Books of 2015  

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List Rules List includes books of any genre, fiction or non-fiction that came out in 2015

The best books of the year were an eclectic mix of various genres, scopes, and points of view. Some of the best books of 2015 reflected modern cultural issues, like the prevalence of social media, while others looked back at pivotal moments in our history, like Lincoln's death. No matter the subject matter, all of the top books of 2015 distinguished themselves by creating works that connected with their audiences and made readers look at the world in a new light. Established writers like David McCullough, Erik Larson, Jonathan Franzen, and Neil Gaiman blessed bookworms with unsurprisingly great works this year. New authors Viet Thanh Nguyen (The Sympathizer) and Jonathan Waldman (Rust: The Longest War) picked up new fans with their outstanding debut novels.

This list of top 2015 books ranges in genres from YA to science fiction to non-fiction and is meant to provide an overview of the best selling books to read in 2015. If you know of underrated 2015 books that didn't make the list - add them and vote them up so other readers can discover them too.

What was the best book of 2015? Honestly, you can't go wrong with any of the titles on this list. You can read summaries of all of the best books of 2015 by clicking "more" - then just pick one and get reading!

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Dead Wake is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Books of 2015
Dead Wake Erik Larson - From the author who gave us  The Devil in the White City, Dead Wakelooks at the events surrounding the sinking of the Lusitania during World War I. Larson once again proves a master at bringing to life historical moments ...

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The Sympathizer is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Books of 2015
The Sympathizer Viet Thanh Nguyen - Stories about the Vietnam War are plentiful but Nguyen's story brings something new to the mainstream - the perspective of a Vietnamese narrator. The nameless protagonist is a Vietnamese Army captain but really he’s a Communist ...

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A Strangeness in My Mind is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Books of 2015
A Strangeness in My Mind Orhan Pamuk - Mevlut Karataş is a street vendor in Instanbul selling boza (a traditional alcoholic Turkish drink) who dreams of being rich one day but is never able to rise from poverty. In the beginning you learn about the mistake that ...

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Between the World and Me is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Books of 2015
Between the World and Me Ta-Nehisi Coates - Marked by a realistic approach to race relations, the book contains a line that summarizes his rationale: “In America, it is traditional to destroy the black body — it is heritage.” In the book, written as a letter to his ...

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Modern Romance is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Books of 2015
Modern Romance Aziz Ansari and Eric Klinenberg - That anxiety you feel when the person you have a crush on doesn’t text you back or the time and effort you put into composing the perfect post is the basis for Ansari’s funny and well-researched book. Together with sociologist ...

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The Wright Brothers is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Books of 2015
The Wright Brothers David McCullough - Pulitzer-Prize winner McCullough gives us the story of Wilbur and Orville Wright, the men who gave America wings. The Ohio-born brothers and their sister Katherine started out in the business of repairing bicycles but their love ...

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Hold Still: A Memoir with Phot... is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Books of 2015
Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs Sally Mann - Photographer Sally Mann explores her roots by going through letters, journals, and photographs among other artifacts to piece together her past and illustrate the lives of her ancestors and the ways they somehow shaped her.

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Furiously Happy: A Funny Book ... is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Books of 2015
Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things Jenny Lawson - Don’t dismiss the cover shot of the maniacally happy raccoon - for Rory the stuffed raccoon, as Lawson tells us, is her personal happiness coach. The book is a series of stories focusing on her mental illness and how she works ...

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Why Not Me? is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Books of 2015
Why Not Me? Mindy Kaling - Like its predecessor, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? Kaling’s latest is written in a conversational style with the funny anecdotes we’ve now come to expect from her books. Chapters range from what her alternate life would ...

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Mislaid is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Books of 2015
Mislaid Nell Zink - This is the story of a lesbian student named Peggy and a gay professor named Lee who somehow end up falling for each other. 

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Purity is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Books of 2015
Purity Jonathan Franzen - Franzen's latest - a novel that tells the intersecting stories of several different people.

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Armada is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Books of 2015
Amy Boal added Armada Ernest Cline

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Rust is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Books of 2015
Rust Jonathan Waldman - From something as small as a can to the vast Trans-Alaska Pipeline System, Waldman explores how rust can take down some of the greatest man-made creations and gives credit to the engineers who work on slowing down the ...

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A Manual for Cleaning Women is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Books of 2015
A Manual for Cleaning Women Lucia Berlin - Published posthumously, A Manual for Cleaning Women features the previously overlooked writing of Lucia Berlin. The collection of stories is straightforward look at the lives of working women - the writing is raw with humor ...

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Leaving Orbit: Notes From the ... is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Books of 2015
Leaving Orbit: Notes From the Last Days of American Spaceflight Margaret Lazarus Dean - With stories about space becoming popular on the big screen (“Gravity”, “Interstellar”) and talk of billionaires paying to go to space, the last days of spaceflight isn’t a popular conversation piece but that doesn’t take away ...

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The Girl on the Train is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Books of 2015
The Girl on the Train Paula Hawkins - This psychological thriller includes a split narrative with three women, Rachel, Megan, and Anna, whose lives are interlinked by tragic circumstances. Rachel is an alcoholic who rides the train in London to and from work and is ...

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A Little Life is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Books of 2015
A Little Life Hanya Yanagihara - Initially it’s a coming of age novel about friends, Malcolm, Willem, JB, and Jude in New York City but it eventually unravels to reveal a darker premise. 

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M Train is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Books of 2015
M Train Patti Smith - Following her critically-acclaimed bestseller “Just Kids,” the punk rock pioneer now presents a journey through “stations” from her past and present, both in reality and dreams. She gives us a glimpse into the places that have ...

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After Birth is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Books of 2015
After Birth Elisa Albert - When motherhood is still described in platitudes more often than not, this nuanced and modern portrayal of Ari, a feminist who feels lost in the year following her son’s birth, is a captivating look at the not-so-picture-perfect ...

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The Girl in the Spider's Web is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Books of 2015
Amy Boal added The Girl in the Spider's Web David Lagercrantz

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So You've Been Publicly Shamed is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Books of 2015
So You've Been Publicly Shamed Jon Ronson - Ronson spent three years traveling the globe meeting those on the receiving end of an unfortunate social media misstep. From journalist Jonah Lehrer inventing a quote to Justine Sacco for her insensitive and racial joke about ...

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You're Never Weird on the Inte... is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Books of 2015
You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost): A Memoir Felicia Day - Day was home schooled and yearned to connect with other kids and so began a love affair with the Internet. She started out as a gamer standing in front of a webcam asking viewers to like her to stints on “Buffy the Vampire ...

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Fates and Furies: A Novel is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Books of 2015
Fates and Furies: A Novel Lauren Groff - There are always two sides to a story and Lauren Groff’s novel tells both in this story that spans 24 years in the life of Lotto and Mathilde. Their marriage is full of passion and seemingly perfect - at least from Lotto’s ...

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Unbecoming is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Books of 2015
Unbecoming Rebecca Scherm - From small-town Southern girl to jewel thief, “Unbecoming” is about the lies the protagonist weaves as she takes on a new identity while on the run in Paris. It’s a heist novel, filled with suspense as her co-conspirators are ...

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Mourning Lincoln is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Books of 2015
Mourning Lincoln Martha Hodes - It goes without saying that Abraham Lincoln’s death 150 years ago greatly affected the nation but unlike today, there was no way to record reactions beyond letters and diary entries. Hodes researched hundreds of letters and ...

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A Spool of Blue Thread is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Books of 2015
A Spool of Blue Thread Anne Tyler - Tyler's story encompasses three generations of the Whitshank family, wandering back and forth over 7 decades of the 20th century.

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Beneath the Surface: Killer Wh... is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Books of 2015
Beneath the Surface: Killer Whales, SeaWorld, and the Truth Beyond Blackfish John Hargrove, Howard Chua-Eoan - John Hargrove worked for twenty years as an orca trainer at two of SeaWorld's U.S. facilities and now he’s telling his story after leaving his dream job. Hargrove, who was featured in the groundbreaking documentary Blackfish, ...

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All the Bright Places is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Books of 2015
All the Bright Places Jennifer Niven - It’s a YA novel in the same vein as The Fault in our Stars with two young lovers and a tragic storyline. In this instance the focus is on mental illness and how Violet and Finch help each other after meeting on the day they ...

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A God in Ruins is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Books of 2015
A God in Ruins Kate Atkinson - The story of Teddy – a would-be poet, RAF bomber pilot, husband and father – as he navigates the perils and progress of the 20th century.

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The First Collection of Critic... is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Books of 2015
The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Jessica Hopper - She started out freelancing in Minneapolis and is now senior editor at Pitchfork after paving an impressive path for herself in a field that is predominately male and proudly waving her feminist flag along the way. This is not ...

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Did You Ever Have A Family is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Books of 2015
Did You Ever Have A Family Bill Clegg - On the eve of her daughter’s wedding, June Reid’s life is shattered when a fire takes the life of not only her daughter, but her daughter’s fiancé her ex-husband and her boyfriend, Luke. Faced with such immeasurable pain ...

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Trigger Warning is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Books of 2015
Trigger Warning Neil Gaiman - The anthology features “Black Dog,” a new tale from “American Gods” and a Doctor Who story ("Nothing O'Clock") among some of his previously published works. Lovers of science-fiction will enjoy the ghost and monster ...

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The Marauders is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Books of 2015
The Marauders Tom Cooper - The scene is the Gulf coast post-BP oil spill and the characters are shrimp fishermen and treasure hunters among other working class bayou inhabitants on quest for fortune. With crazy antics like when the one-armed treasure ...

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The Heart Goes Last is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Books of 2015
Amy Boal added The Heart Goes Last Margaret Atwood

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The Sellout is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Books of 2015
The Sellout Paul Beatty - The African American protagonist wants to reinstate segregation and slavery and ends up on trial in the Supreme Court. This absurd plot is the premise for the comical satire that takes on police violence, gangs, racism, and ...

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In the Unlikely Event is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Books of 2015
Amy Boal added In the Unlikely Event Judy Blume

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Go Set a Watchman is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Books of 2015
Go Set a Watchman Harper Lee - This novel takes place twenty years after To Kill a Mockingbird, with Scout returning home Alabama to visit her father. This is arguably the most controversial book released this year due to the transformation of Atticus from ...