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The best books of 2015

posted by Jason Kottke   Nov 24, 2015

The person I listen to the most regarding books I should be reading is Tyler Cowen…he has never once steered me wrong. So when he wrote about the best fiction of 2015, I perked up. I’ve been hearing many good things about Elena Ferrante’s series (Cowen himself flagged her The Lost Daughter as a favorite back in 2008) but his assertion that her recent series of novels ranks as “one of the prime literary achievements of the last twenty years” puts it solidly on my holiday beach reads list. The New World by Chris Adrian & Eli Horowitz and Vendela Vida’s The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty also sound particularly interesting.

Update: Cowen recently shared his list of best non-fiction books of the year as well. Biographies rule the list: on Elon Musk, Henry Kissinger, Margaret Thatcher, and Genghis Khan. What a list…but I have to say that reading biographies of Thatcher or Kissinger doesn’t appeal at all.

Update: The NY Times weighs in with their list of 100 Notable Books of 2015. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates makes an appearance, as do the latest installments by Ferrante and Karl Ove Knausgaard.

Update: From Buzzfeed, The 24 Best Fiction Books of 2015 and from Slate, The Overlooked Books of 2015.

Update: The NY Times Sunday Book Review names their 10 Best Books of 2015. Coates and Ferrante feature. By my count, 7 of the 10 books are written by women.

Update: From Slate, a list of the best audiobooks of 2015. The Economist’s best books of the year, including SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome and Steve Silberman’s NeuroTribes. For part one of their best books list, The Guardian asked writers for their favorite books of the year; Max Porter’s Grief is the Thing with Feathers got multiple mentions (but is not yet out in the US).

Update: Amazon’s editors picked their 100 best books of the year and Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies topped the list. The top non-fiction book is Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family.

Update: A design-oriented list from Michael Bierut, including The Making of Stanley Kubrick’s ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’.

Update: Bill Gates shared his favorite books of 2015, including Randall Munroe’s Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words.

For The Millions Year in Reading 2015, they asked a bunch of writers for their reading recommendations. Joyce Carol Oates recommends the Didion biography The Last Love Song while Celeste Ng read The Suicide Index.

The Atlantic asked their editors and writers to share The Best Book I Read This Year. This is one of several lists to include The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World by Andrea Wulf.

Update: The NY Times book critics weigh in with their favorite books of the year. Moar Ferrante! Moar Coates!

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