2015 has been a fantastic year for books – especially if you like chunksters as much as I do! All my favourite reads this year have had a massive amount of pages – they may require a big investment of time, but they are worth it.
Here are a selection of my favourites, with award categories invented to ensure I mention all the books I that I enjoyed the most:
Book of the Year: A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
This book deserves all the hype it’s received. It is gripping throughout and packed with emotion. I don’t think I’ll ever forget this cast of characters.
Most Underrated Book: I Am Radar by Reif Larsen
I Am Radar should have been showered with awards. It is one of the most intelligent books I’ve ever read and deserves much more attention than it’s received so far. Hopefully this will change when the paperback is released in March.
Best Memoir: Home is Burning by Dan Marshall
Terminal illnesses have never been so funny! If you can cope with the coarse language, this book will give you an incredible insight into how one family coped with a terrible situation.
Most Atmospheric Book: Death and Mr Pickwick by Stephen Jarvis
If you enjoy reading about Dickensian England, this is for you! You can almost smell those dirty London streets.
Most Disappointing Release: The Mountain Shadow by Gregory David Roberts
Shantaram is one of the best books I’ve ever read. Unfortunately the sequel isn’t in the same league and actually makes the original seem worse than it is. I recommend avoiding it!
Funniest scene: Pigs in Clover by Simon Dawson
This book is packed with funny anecdotes, but the electric fence/testicle incident had me smiling for days!
Most original premise: Blackass by A Igoni Barrett
A black man wakes up to discover that every inch of his skin has turned white, with the exception of his bottom. This satire of race relations in Nigeria makes some very important points, but is also very funny. It deserves more attention that it has received so far.
Special Mention: All Involved by Ryan Gattis
Parts of this book were very disturbing, but it does a fantastic job of explaining why people are drawn into violence. It’s one of the most important releases of the year.
Special Author Award: Haruki Murakami
Haruki Murakami continues to produce excellent books. Colorless Tsukuru and His Years of Pilgrimage is one of his more realistic stories, but retains the magic of his observational skills. Especially recommended to those who have lost contact with old friends.
Best New Children’s Character: Squirrel Boy
Fast paced and funny, Squirrel Boy is a fantastic creation. My boys (8 and 10) were captivated by him!
Books Published in Previous Years
It would be a shame to forget books released in previous years, so here are a few of the best from the back catalogue:
Best Audio Book: The Martian by Andy Weir (Audio Book)
It combines comedy and science with real tension. One of the best audio books I’ve ever listened to.
Best Survival Story: Into That Forest by Louis Nowra
This book about children being brought up by Tasmanian tigers is atmospheric and emotional. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading about the natural world.
Most Inspiring Book: Ghost Boy by Martin Pistorius
This is one of the most amazing stories I’ve ever read. If you ever feel that you can’t achieve your dreams, read this and you’ll see that nothing is impossible – if you want it enough.
Weirdest Book: Strangers by Taichi Yamada
I love the strangeness of Japanese fiction – you never know exactly what will happen next. This is one of the best example of its genre. Highly recommended!