I read 41 books in 2015. Which ones I liked best?

A year ago I published my first Medium post — about the subject I passionately love — reading. Last year I challenged myself to read more books in 2015 than I did in 2014. And I am delighted to say I have succeeded — 32 titles in 2014 against 41 in 2015! Not sure I will be able to beat that in 2016, (there are so many other fun things to do out there — all those podcasts to listen to and TV series to watch, and my Rhodesian Ridgeback to walk!), but I’ll try to keep up.

Instead if simply picking the best, which is always extremely hard (those 40 have been somehow selected in the first place!) I’ll list them all below and try to group them too. Hope some of you will find it useful — I personally love other people’s reading lists and regularly raid them for ideas. Check those that I liked best in bold.

Also, you might find this Vox article inspiring, it contains some really good reading advice from writer Austin Kleon. It is interesting to see how his practical recommendations changed over the last year - see his initial advice here

Going back to my list then. In short, 41 titles — 21 non-fiction and 20 novels. 32 in English, 9 in Russian, all of them real printed books. Still can not make myself to by an e-reader!

Non-fiction

History

  1. Rachel Polonsky. Molotov’s Magic Lantern: A Journey in Russian History
  2. Adam Roberts. Joe Thloloe. Soweto Inside Out: Stories about Africa’s famous Township
  3. Catherine Merridale. Red Fortress: The Secret Heart of Russia’s History
  4. Lyuba Vinogradova. Defending the Motherland: The Soviet Women Who Fought Hitler’s Aces
  5. Laura Hillenbrand. Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
  6. Boris Akunin. The History of Russian state. Volume 2
  7. Leonid Parfenov. Namedni. 1946–1960
  8. Leonid Perfenov. Russian Empire. Peter I. Anna Ioanovna. Elizaveta Petrovna
  9. Leonid Perfenov. Russian Empire. Ekaterina II. Pavel I
  10. Leonid Perfenov. Russian Empire. Alexandr I. Nikolai I
  11. Simon Sebag Montefiore. 101 World Heroes. History’s Greatest Men and Women.

Business and career

12. Laszlo Bock. Work Rules! Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead

13. Joe Navarro. Louder Than Words: Take Your Career from Average to Exceptional with the Hidden Power of Nonverbal Intelligence

14. Reid Hoffman, Ben Casnocha and Chris Yeh. The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age

Society

15. Oprah Winfrey. What I Know For Sure

16. Jon Ronson. The Psychopath Test. A Journey Through the Madness Industry

17. Tom Standage. Writing on the Wall. Social Media — The First 2,000 Years

18. Sarah Lyall. Anglo Files: A Field Guide to the British

World around us

19. Hugh Andersey-Williams. Anatomies: The Human Body, Its Parts and The Stories They Tell

20. Chris Hadfield. An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth: What Going to Space Taught Me About Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything

21. Lawrence Anthony. The Elephant Whisperer. Learning About Life, Loyalty and Freedom From a Remarkable Herd of Elephants

Fiction

  1. Justin Cartwright. Other People’s Money
  2. Donna Tartt. The Goldfinch
  3. Jessie Burton. The Miniaturist
  4. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Americanah
  5. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Half of a Yellow Sun
  6. Antonia Hodgson. The Devil in the Marshalsea
  7. David Nicholls. Us
  8. Jo Nesbo. The Son
  9. Alexander McCall Smith. The Handsome Man’s De Luxe Café (No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency Series)
  10. Rupert Thomson. Secrecy
  11. John Grisham. Gray Mountain
  12. Andy Weir. The Martian
  13. John Irving. In One Person
  14. Douglas Coupland. Worst. Person. Ever.
  15. Boris Akunin. Boch i Shelma (to accompany his History of Russian state. Volume 2)
  16. Boris Akunin. Planet Water. (Erast Fandorin series)
  17. Arturo Pérez-Reverte. Pirates of the Levant. Captain Alatriste, part 6.
  18. Arturo Pérez-Reverte. The Bridge of Assassins. Captain Alatriste, part 7.
  19. Arturo Pérez-Reverte. The Tango of the Old Guard.
  20. Lionel Davidson. Kolymsky Heights.

Quick takeaways:

Best non-fiction: Laura Hillenbrand. Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption.

Biggest non-fiction surprise: Chris Hadfield. An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth: What Going to Space Taught Me About Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything

Best book for career: Laszlo Bock. Work Rules! Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead

Best book about Russian history: Lyuba Vinogradova. Defending the Motherland: The Soviet Women Who Fought Hitler’s Aces

Non-fiction everyone has to read: Oprah Winfrey. What I Know For Sure

Best book about Britishness: Sarah Lyall. Anglo Files: A Field Guide to the British

New author I will now never miss books from: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Disappointing novel: Jessie Burton. The Miniaturist

A book I never thought I’d like, but loved: Andy Weir. The Martian

The most surprising novel I read — a three-way tie. Arturo Pérez-Reverte. The Tango of the Old Guard. John Irving. In One Person. Douglas Coupland. Worst. Person. Ever.

And to finish it off, yet another reminder on how to read more and enjoy reading more.

Wishing you all best in 2016! Happy reading!

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