Elora Reads: Favorite Books of 2015

You can read last year's post, my favorite books of 2014, here.

Let's just start off with the obvious: I didn't read nearly as much this year. Actually, scratch that — I didn't read nearly as much the second half of this year. Something about waking up every morning to be at work by 8am doused the late-night reading I'd grown to love. It's alright, though. There are still some good reads on this list, and if you come across one you're not familiar with, HURRY UP AND BUY IT ALREADY so you can read it. 

NONFICTION :: 

When the Heart Waits, Sue Monk Kidd

You know those books you keep on your list forever and never get around to reading because other books feel more important? That was this one. And yet, I read it in a day. Never have I ever experienced the synchronicity that I felt while reading this book. I know, that's kind of vague, but Kidd's story of spiritual formation moved me in a way I wasn't anticipating.

The Artisan Soul, Erwin McManus

I read this with the Coterie back in the spring and felt as if McManus' words were somehow righting things in my creativity that had gotten topsy turvy. If it weren't for the book club, I would have rushed through the book, anxious for the next chapter. Instead, I let the words sit, reading them slowly. It was the only way to read and yet I know I missed some nuggets. This will be one I revisit in a few months just to let everything sink in completely. It's that good.

Wild in the Hollow, Amber Haines

Amber's words, dripping with poetry, cut to the marrow. There aren't enough words yet to articulate what this book did for me. I've been reading Amber's words for seven years and they always find a way to reach in and comfort while reminding me of my wild roots. This book was no exception. 

Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert

I can't tell you how many times I had to put this book down and take a few breaths because I felt like Gilbert had crawled up into my brain-space and started talking about me. Biggest takeaway from this book? Ideas are living, breathing things. 

FICTION :: 

The Bright Effect, Autumn Doughton and Erica Cope

I have no doubt: this is the best of Doughton and Cope. Their collaboration with this story captures so much: local color (seriously — they nailed the Carolina lexicon), dynamic characters, and a storyline that has you flipping the pages as fast as you can just so you can grieve the inevitable ending. There's so much within these pages, but you just need to trust the reviews and dive in heart first — you won't regret it. I came to the last page craving more from Bash and Amelia and once again so thankful for indie authors who put everything and more into their writing, creating an incredible manuscript that rivals any bestseller out there.

Ready Player One, Ernest Cline

Y'all. This book was so outta left field for me. I made a point this year to read books I normally wouldn't read, and this one topped the list plus turned into a favorite I never saw coming. I listened to this on Audible (totally recommend — Wil Wheaton narrates!) and the story came alive for me. I couldn't stop listening. I loved the world Cline created and am so curious about the rumors I hear about a movie. 

I'll Give You the Sun, Jandy Nelson

This was another book I started on Audible and then, because of the pure poetry behind some of Nelson's phrases, I promptly went and bought the hardback. I should have known. Back when I went to see Ransom Riggs at BookPeople, he was reading this while Nelson was writing and stunned by her phrasing. (Let's just pause and consider the literary trifecta that is Ransom Riggs, Tahereh Mafi, and Jandy Nelson....)

If you read my favorite books for 2014, you know Jandy Nelson is a repeat. FOR GOOD REASON. I have no words for this book. I just want to craft stories that move people like this moved me.

08line.png

So how about you? What books stood out to you this year? Also, coming soon: my top ten books every writer needs. I've been wanting to write this post for years, y'all. 

Posted on December 31, 2015 .