I'm more of a reader than a writer -- I've said this over and over again. So, here is my list of best reads of 2015. All of these books (to my knowledge) have been published in either 2015 (or late 2014).
Belief Is Its Own Kind of Truth, Maybe by Lori Jakiela (Memoir)
In her third memoir, Lori Jakiela intertwines the story of her journey of looking for her birth parents with an exploration of her relationship with her adopted mother and her own children.
Dead Wake by Erik Larson (History)
Erik Larson’s latest book thoughtfully investigates the last trip of the Lusitania before it was torpedoed and sunk by a German U-boat. Featuring an interesting cast of characters, Dead Wake is a must read for history buffs everywhere!
H is For Hawk by Helen Macdonald (Memoir/Nature)
When Helen Macdonald’s father dies suddenly, Helen, as she mourns, turns her attention to raising a goshawk, long since considered one of nature’s most fierce predators. What she learns is not only how we survive grief, but also how we navigate life.
The Determined Heart: The Tale of Mary Shelley and Her Frankenstein by Antoinette May (Novel)
While I don’t usually like fictional retellings of authors, Antoinette May’s examination of the life of Mary Shelley is both a fascinating (and fun!) read.
The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery (Nature/Science)
In her newest book, naturalist Sy Montgomery explores the emotional and physical universe of the octopus, all the while questioning the very way mankind defines intelligence and spirituality.
American Ghost: A Family’s Haunted Past in the Desert Southwest by Hannah Nordhaus (Memoir/History)
Hannah Nordhaus’s newest book is part ghost story, part exploration of family history – a haunting read (no pun intended) about the way we view the past.
Bone Gap by Laura Ruby (Young Adult Lit)
Laura Ruby’s surreal Midwestern fairytale has a happy ending that is not forced, and is, in many ways, believable in spite of the author’s use of magical realism. One of the best young adult books I have read this year!
Finding Abbey by Sean Prentiss (Memoir/Travel)
Sean Prentiss looks for the hidden grave of nature writer Edward Abbey in a book that not only explores the life of the elusive literary figure, but also catalogs a young writer’s own self-discovery.
The Blondes by Emily Schultz (Novel)
I thought that I had every apocalyptic/dystopian book worth reading, so I admit that I was a bit skeptical when I approached The Blondes, a work where all blonde women are becoming with a rabies-like illness. Still, I loved this book – perhaps because the storyline reads more like a satire about women’s issues than a work of apocalyptic literature.
The World Is On Fire: Scrap, Treasure, and Songs of the Apocalypse by Joni Tevis (Essays)
In the last few years, I have fallen in love with the personal essay, and Tevis’s collection, that explores our society’s infatuation with the end of the world, has become one of my favorite reads. Journeying through landscapes that include the atomic test sites in the American Southwest to the mazes of staircases found in the Sarah Winchester home, Tevis records what it means to have suffered loss.
I am a poet and professor from rural Pennsylvania. This page is dedicated to my publishing news and events; for book reviews published online go to the Reviews tab above. For my own personal reviews, explore the Book Picks tab.