THE BEST OF 2015
I broke the books into several categories. The titles are hyper-linked to their reviews.
* indicates the best book in that category.
I love Havill's Bill Gastner series - it is a shame that this series has not gotten the attention they deserve. The Battle of the Crater was a great description of a tragedy in the making and a look at leadership failure at all levels in the Union Army in the Civil War. C.J. Box's Joe Pickett character is always a joy and these two books were excellent. But, the poorly named Insurgent (who knew that there would be a popular series with a book of the same title that would all but shove this book out of the spotlight?) was a book that made me think and made me turn the pages on my Kindle as quickly as possible. It is still the only book that I have purchased with real money on my Kindle in the last 7 years (there are so many freebies and the online library).
*Insurgent: Book 2 of America's Future by Charles Sheehan-Miles
Stone Cold by C.J. Box
The Battle of the Crater - by Newt Gingrich and William R. Forstchen
Free Fire by C.J. Box
Red, Green, or Murder by Steven F. Havill
So many good choices in this category. Enemies and Allies was a fantastic audiobook by Graphic Audio. To Try Men's Souls had iconic scenes that made you appreciate the generation of the Revolution all the more. The Giver is a classic with a sucker punch scene that took the air right out of me. And...Michael Connelly. There's a reason that he is listed in this category twice.
*To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Enemies and Allies by Kevin J. Anderson
To Try Men's Souls: A Novel of George Washington and the Fight for American Freedom by Newt Gingrich and William Forstchen
The Burning Room by Michael Connelly
The Brass Verdict by Michael Connelly
The Giver by Lois Lowry
I read so many good non-fiction books this year. Every one of these was worthy of being labeled the best. But, I am a teacher and Danza's foray into teaching was insightful, rewarding and reassuring.
*I'd Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had: My Year as a Rookie Teacher at Northeast High by Tony Danza
A Thousand Miles to Freedom: My Escape from North Korea by Eunsun Kim and Sebastian Fallet
Gettysburg: The Final Fury by Bruce Catton
What Caused the Civil War: Reflections on the South and Southern History by Edward L. Ayers
The Price They Paid: Enduring Wounds of War by Michael Putzel
I also listened to a lot of excellent non-fiction audiobooks this year. The Good Shepherd pointed out exciting things that I had never read or thought about in 47 years of going to church. Food: A Love story was the more-often-than-not laugh out loud funny soundtrack to my family's summer vacation. The Aviators was an amazing triple biography. NPR's look at National Parks was fun and worthy of a listen by anyone. The Jefferson Rule was a great look at American history from a different perspective. But, in the end, I just remember the feeling I had as I was listening to MLK's Letter from Birmingham Jail. Such a fantastic essay that just soars when it is read aloud.
*Letter from Birmingham Jail by Martin Luther King, Jr.
Food: A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan
The Aviators: Eddie Rickenbacker, Jimmy Doolittle, Charles Lindbergh and the Epic Age of Flight by Winston Groom
Childrens (Books and Audiobooks)
My entire family enjoyed the Avengers audiobooks. Woof is a very fun turn at a kids book by a veteran author. The Martha Washington book was a trip down memory lane for me. But, The Witch of Blackbird Pond still has it. The 1959 Newberry Medal winner still grips you and brings you into its world.
*The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare (Print book)
Marvel's Avengers: Phase One: Captain America, the First Avenger by Marvel Press (audiobook)
Marvel's Avengers: Phase One: The Incredible Hulk by Marvel Press (audiobook)
Woof by Spencer Quinn (print book)
Martha Washington: Girl of Old Virginia (Childhood of Famous Americans Series) by Jean Brown Wagoner (print book)