We asked our book clubbers and blog contributors to send in their top 5 favorite books they’ve read this year, just to see what everyone has been reading and to get great recommendations to read over the holidays and well into 2015. We’ve rated the books from 1 to 5, but maybe not everyone had a specific order, so don’t get angry when your favorite book is in the fifth slot instead of the deserved no. 1. The list is a work in progress, so if you want to send in your top 5, please feel free to do so or add it in the comments!
Charlotte de Heer
1. Dept. of Speculation – Jenny Offill
One of the most beautiful books I have ever read. This novel doesn’t have a lot of words but all the words in it have dept.
2. The Martian – Andy Weir
Definitely the most funny read of this year. The main character is such a lovely person.
3. American Dream Machine – Matthew Spektor
A beautiful story about the relationship between father and son. Heartbreaking and warm at the same time.
4. All the Russians Love Birch Trees – Olga Glasnowa
The book is about grief, uncertainty and starting over again and again. The book reads like a dream and I absolutely loved how the girl keeps on going even though everything is falling apart.
5. Tenth of December – George Saunders
A recommendation by Dave Eggers so it must me a good one, right? It definitely was! Al the stories are beautifully written. I especially loved the dark story “Escape from Spiderhead” about a man in a really weird prison.
Esmée de Heer
1. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
It was almost getting embarrassing that I hadn’t read this famous classic yet. Harper Lee spins such an amazing coming of age tale about a young girl growing up in the US. The book is filled with strong, complex characters and every message that the book entails still rings true today.
2. Fangirl – Rainbow Rowell
Although I don’t specifically belong to a fanbase myself it was very easy to relate to Cath’s first year away from home. Getting used to the exciting life of college can be overwhelming and finding solace in books is right up my alley. Also, Carry On Simon will be turned into a stand alone novel and I couldn’t be more excited!
3. The Martian – Andy Weir
Hands down the funniest book I’ve ever read (listened to). The audiobook of this one is amazing. The dry humor or Mark Watney while being essentially doomed on Mars had me laughing out loud.
4. Dept. of Speculation – Jenny Offill
If The Martian is the funniest book I’ve read, Dept. is by far the most emotional. The book is written in small fragments and wry observations that really hit home. This book is great to read in one sitting, but also amazing to linger over again and again. I still want to quote this book to everyone I meet.
5. The Interestings – Meg Wolitzer
This book is a coming of age story and then some more. It follows a group of friends throughout their lives, from when they are youngsters at camp to being old and withered. It captures the idea of belonging and friendship and the trials that come with it so well. It’s quite a long book, but still too short for the lifetimes it tries to span.
Maritza Dubravac (the only one who was allowed a top 6/7)
1. Shards – Ismet Prcic
2. Het leek stiller dan het was – Eva Kelder
3. Eleanor and Park/Fangirl (shared place) – Rainbow Rowell
4. Wonder – R.J. Palacio
5. The Book With No Pictures – B.j. Novak
6. Ghostworld – Daniel Clowes
Floris van Gennep
1. All that is Solid Melts into Air – Darragh McKeon
2. A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
3. The Luminaries – Eleanor Catton
4. The Rehearsal – Eleanor Catton
5. A Tale for the Time Being – Ruth L. Ozeki
1. We Were Liars – E. Lockhart
2. The Casual Vacancy – J.K. Rowling
3. We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves – Karen Joy Fowler
4. The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared – Jonas Jonasson
5. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – Ransom Riggs
1. Het Puttertje – Donna Tartt
2. De Kleurloze Tsukuru Tzakai en zijn pelgrimsjaren – Haruki Murakami
4. Tenth of December – George Saunders
5. Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
1. Station Eleven – Emily St. John Mandel
Here is another dystopia about the world after a terrible disaster. This one was different, because I couldn’t stop reading. I didn’t go to the bathroom that day. Nor did I eat or sleep. Sometimes I even forgot to breath. This is how good that book is. Incredible. Loved it! Read it.
2. Kom hier dat ik u kus – Griet Op De Beeck
A poetic modern tale about a very unhappy family. Op De Beeck’s written is so beautiful that it is addictive.
3. Pain, Parties, Work: Sylvia Plath in New York, summer 1953 – Elizabeth Winder
If every sentence written about Plath would be pie, I would be an obesity patient. So, needless to say that I really loved Winders latest book about Plaths stay in New York.
4. An Arrangement of Light – Nicole Krauss
A very short, but lovely story from the wonderful Kraus. Very short, indeed, but enough material to think about.
5. De Optocht – Toon Tellegen
Tellegen read ‘De Optocht’ a couple of months ago. I sat right in front of him, so that was pretty awesome. It lasted it more than three hours, but I was totally hypnotized. Tellegen used a gorgeous way to describe life.
Tijs van Bakel
1. De Volledige Geschriften, Zhuangzi (vert. Kristofer Schipper) – Zhuang Zi
2. Slaughterhouse V – Kurt Vonnegut
3. Dept. of Speculation – Jenny Offill
4. Forgetting the Art World – Pamela Lee
5. De Eenzaamheid van de Waanzin – Ranne Hovius
So if you are still looking for a (belated) Christmas present, we hope this list was of help. You can order the books right here as well. We can’t make it any easier.