1. // A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
This book actually made me weep. Like actually weep in the middle of the night. More of an experience than a book. If you haven't witnessed Yanagihara's writing yet, you must.
2. // The Shore by Sara Taylor
Dark, female-driven grit lit? Sign me up. This collection of interlinking stories that jump back and forth in time is an astounding debut. The writing is incredible and the stories are intense. I want to read it all again just thinking about it.
3. // The Beautiful Bureaucrat by Helen Phillips
WEIRD AND CREEPY AND WONDERFUL. This little book is impossible to put down once you start and Phillips has a startlingly disturbing/very funny mind.
4. // Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller
Here's another book that I raced through AND cried about. Parallel stories about a girl's past where her survivalist father steals her away and convinces her that the apocalypse happened and they're the only ones alive, and her present when she finally leaves the woods to go home. Actually amazing.
5. // Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein
After reading a couple dud memoirs this year, I didn't have particularly high hopes for this book written by the Sleater-Kinney musician and Portlandia star. Luckily, it blew me away. Incredibly well written, this account of Brownstein's life and struggles is honest and relatable.
6. // Sweetland by Michael Crummey
Old curmudgeonly white dude on an island didn't originally appeal to me plot-wise, but here's another 2015 release that made me sob. Moses Sweetland is so endearing, even when he refuses to move off the island he's called home for all his life, and the book is haunting and emotional. Please read this.
7. // The Animals by Christian Kiefer
A dark, raw, emotional literary thriller that impresses with some really gorgeous prose. Bill's childhood friend is released from prison, which spirals our main character down a path where he has to confront his own past and try to protect the life he's built as the owner of a wildlife sanctuary.
8. // Hammer Head by Nina MacLaughlin
Maybe this book just came to me at exactly the right time and that's why it made my list, but I'm also pretty sure that it's really good. Journalist Nina MacLaughlin decides that she needs a drastic change in her life and she answers a CraigsList ad looking for a carpenter's assistant. Her short memoir is both inspiring and beautifully written.
9. // The First Bad Man by Miranda July
Miranda July's first novel is impossibly funny. Being in main character Cheryl's head is both cringey and delightful on so many levels. If you liked July's quirky, twee, and often moving short stories, you will love this novel.
10. // You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine by Alexandra Kleeman
Despite part of the ending not being super impressive, this debut novel edged out a runner up to make it into my top ten mostly on how delighted I was the whole time I was reading it. It was dark, it was clever, it was quirky and weird. I wanted to write down every other sentence Kleeman wrote. There's a roommate with boundary issues, there's a bizarre chain of grocery stores, there's a cult, and there's commentary about consumerism and body image. What more could you want??
What was your best book of 2015?