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My Top 20 Books of 2015

Top 20 Books of 2015

One of my favorite things about the end of the year is all the “best of” lists. Especially the best books. Of course.

As I do every year, here I’m presenting my top 20 books of 2015. I divide my reading into four categories: Fiction, General Non-Fiction, Devotional, and Writing How-To. Below are my top five in each category for this year. But, first, my general stats:

Total books read: 100

Fiction to non-fiction ratio: 58:42

Male to female author ratio: 54:46

Top 5 genres: Classic Fiction (with 18 books), Historical Fiction (with 16), Business (with 15), Writing How-To (with 13), and Fantasy (with 9).

Number of books per rating: 5 stars (8), 4 stars (36), 3 stars (39), 2 stars (14), 1 star (3).

(Note: All Amazon links are affiliate links.)

Top Fiction Books

London Edward Rutherford

1. London by Edward Rutherford

Breath of Dawn Kristen Heitzmann

2. The Breath of Dawn by Kristen Heitzmann

Marvel 1602 Neil Gaiman

4. Marvel 1602 by Neil Gaiman

Howl's Moving Castle Diana Wynne Jones

5. Howl’s Moving Castle by Diane Wynne Jones

Top General Non-Fiction Books

Creativity Inc Ed Catmull Amy Wallace

1. Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace

4-Hour Workweek Timothy Ferriss

2. The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss

Magic of Thinking Big David J. Schwartz

3. The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz

Resurrection of the Romanovs Greg King Penny Wilson

4. The Resurrection of the Romanovs by Greg King and Penny Wilson

Top Devotional Books

End of Our Exploring Matthew Lee Anderson f

1. The End of Our Exploring by Matthew Lee Anderson

In the Dailies Tanya Dennis

2. In the Dailies by Tanya Dennis

Heresy of Orthodoxy Andreas J Kostenberger Michael J Kruger

3. The Heresy of Orthodoxy by Andreas J. Kostenberger and Michael J. Kruger

Kid Inside Bible Stories Steve Mathisen

4. The Kid Inside Bible Stories by Steve Mathisen

If You Only Knew O Sonny Acho

5. If You Only Knew by O. Sonny Acho

Top Writing Books

Reader Magnets Get Readers to Come to You Nick Stephenson

1. Reader Magnets by Nick Stephenson

Your Idea Machine William C Martell

4. Your Idea Machine by William C. Martell

Shoot Your Novel CS Lakin

5. Shoot Your Novel by C.S. Lakin

My Books

And don’t forget if you’re looking for a new read this year, I’ve got a couple that just might tweak your fancy. (*wink, wink*)

Also don’t forget: this is the last day to grab my new historical novel Storming for just $.99 on Kindle! Click here to grab the book while its on discount.

Let’s chat! What are your top 20 books of 2015? Or top 10–or just #1 favorite! Tell me in the comments!

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46 Comments

  1. Well, I’m seriously jealous if you really read 100 books unless I misunderstood something.
    So many books to read! My favorites this year are Forbidden the first book in the Trilogy series by Ted dekker and Tosca Lee. Currently reading the second book Mortal right now. My second would be John Grishams Sycamore Row.

    I loved the originality of Forbidden. A definite page turner for me and loved everything about it.
    John Grishams Sycamore row on other hand had some issues. Not that I’m qualified to critique a master storyteller but honestly there were some things I didn’t like. The overall pace of the book practically bored me to death. But I’m very action, thriller centered so I tend to get bored easy. Don’t stone me, but I completely lost interest about a third into it. But felt like I had to finish the entirety of the book to give it a proper assessment. Having said all of that, Grisham is a master storyteller. And I’m looking forward to reading more of his books. The introduction and first third of the book was pretty intriguing to say the least. But the middle third I wanted to throw it out the window. The final third completely matched the first and then some. Even James Patterson said about Grisham that he’s great with the hook in the beginning, but his pace is slower letting the story play out. Hence I feel like I’ve learned his style and pace of writing. Which is a big plus.

    In conclusion, the book Forbidden was great. Enjoyed virtually everything about it. Absolute page turner. From originality, setting, characters, plot all pluses. With Sycamore row, although I didn’t care for the pace, or the lack of action, it probably was the better story between the two. By the time I finished the story, I felt like I knew the characters personally. Even the unseemly ones, that played a critical part of in solving a conflict. So Grisham’s characters were more memorable, and have stayed with me when it’s all said and done. If the characters stay, so does the story.
    Lesson learned. Two very different authors, styles and both very good.

    The book I’m reading now I’m having the same problem. The lack of action, the pace is a snooze, and seriously struggling to get through it. But I’m sure it’s not the author’s fault. It’s just me.

    Thanks for the post!
    The book on creativity looks really cool!

    Benjamin

    • K.M. Weiland says:

      Actually, this year was a really slow book year for me. Last year, I topped out around 150. But it was a research year too.

      I have to admit I’ve yet to read Grisham.

  2. Have read none in the list.:D
    Aside from some in the last header though. 😉
    Time to check these out and open my to-read pile. My fav procrastination habit.

    • K.M. Weiland says:

      Well, those are the important ones. 😉 Just kidding. What were top books that you did read this year?

      • Mistborn, that I am currently reading though. 😀
        And Outlining Your Novel :p
        I am not doing some sugary talking here, that book is always at my side while I am writing. That’s why I also have ordered Structuring, though right after ordering we got it for free. But that’s more cool, now I have a physical and digital copy. Next novel will bound to be easier to write with those amazing workbooks.

  3. It’s funny because I’m writing something similar, although it encompasses all media.
    #1 fiction book for me this year: The Fountainhead. Easy pick, since it’s the only novel I had enough time to read.
    #1 non-fiction: The War of Art. It lacks actionable steps but accurately describes those unseen forces that prevent you from pursuing a creative endeavor: procrastination, self-doubt, society telling you to settle for a regular job, etc.

    • K.M. Weiland says:

      I actually just bought The War of Art. I see it recommended all over the place. Looking forward to finally reading it.

  4. I haven’t read nearly enough this year, but my TBR list is rapidly growing! The best non-fiction book I read this year was Jeff Goin’s The Art of Work, about pursuing your passion.

  5. JA Andrews says:

    I just bought “Storming” this morning – am excited to read it!

    My favorite non-fiction book this year was “Rise of the Machines” by Kristen Lamb about social media for authors.

    My favorite fiction book? I think “Slow Regard of Silent Things” by Patrick Rothfuss.

    • K.M. Weiland says:

      Hey, thank you so much for grabbing Storming! 😀 I hope you enjoy it!

      Both of your top books are my wishlist. Haven’t gotten copies yet though. Maybe next year!

  6. I love reading everyone’s “best-of-the-year” lists at this time of year, too! Off your list, the only ones I’ve read are The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Reader Magnets.

    I just posted my top ten books this morning: http://thesecondsentence.blogspot.com/2015/12/top-ten-tuesday-ten-best-books-read-in.html If I had to pick just one of each, I’d say my favorite fiction book was Greensleeves by Eloise Jarvis McGraw, and my favorite nonfiction Lonely Vigil: Coastwatchers of the Solomons by Walter Lord.

  7. My favorite fiction of the year was History of the Rain, by Niall Williams. My favorite nonfiction was probably The Last Lion: Defender of the Realm, by Williams Manchester and Paul Reid. Best devotional was These Beautiful Bones: An Everyday Theology of the Body, by Emily Stimpson. And best writing book was The Mind of the Maker, by Dorothy Sayers.

  8. I’m really enjoying Area X by Jeff Vandermeer and before that the first in the Mitch Rapp series. I also recently enjoyed Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz

  9. So many books, so little time! I’m on the fifth book of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. I also read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, Micro, Timeline, Next, Disclosure, State of Fear by Michael Crichton (Micro was posthumously completed by Richard Preston), The Green Mile by Stephen King, American Sniper by Chris Kyle, Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell, Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye; Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, The Awakening by Kate Chopin, Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen, Finding Forrester by James W. Ellison, Outlining Your Novel, K.M. Weiland, The Elements of Style by Strunk and White, Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, How To Become A Famous Writer Before You’re Dead by Ariel Gore, No Time To Say Goodbye by Carla Fine, Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer, and World’s Fair by James Stack. I’ve read more but that’s the top list.

    • K.M. Weiland says:

      Nice list! I loved The Green Mile and Their Eyes Were Watching God. And I’m so glad you enjoyed Outlining Your Novel! 😀

      • I have Storming on my list for next year, as well as The Bluest Eye by the lovely Toni Morrison, On The Road by Jack Kerouac, The Kitchen God’s Wife by Amy Tan, A Farewell to Arms by Hemingway, The Good Luck of Right Now by Matthew Quick, (I don’t know if I mentioned I read The Silver Linings Playbook this year–great read.). Of course, there are so many more in my TBR list. 🙂

  10. Ugh, I meant to say I’m reading Toni Morrison’s Beloved this year. Oops. 😉

  11. K.M. Weiland says:

    Kerouac and Morrison are on my list too.

  12. Alas, I have only read about 35-ish books this year, but 2015 has been extra crazy. Here is my list of top 10 favorites for this year, in no particular order:

    #1 “Dreamlander” by K.M. Weiland (seriously, it was amazing)
    #2 “The Forgotten Garden” by Kate Morton (I cried, and that’s unusual for me)
    #3 “If We Survive by Andrew” Klavan (forgot to breathe a few times)
    #4 “Dark Water Rising” by Marian Hale (a seriously sad true story)
    #5 “Crazy Love” by Francis Chan (one of the few non-fiction books I got through)
    #6 “Roll of Thunder, Here My Cry” (a classic, for sure)
    #7 “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak (saw the movie first, but the book was quite good)
    #8 “What Once We Loved” by Jane Kirkpatrick (3rd installment of a trilogy, and a superb one)
    #9 “The Shadow Key” by Wayne Thomas Batson (part of a series, but my favorite so far)
    #10 “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane” by Kate DiCamillo (she seriously writes the sweetest books)

    I think I may make an effort to read a little less fiction in 2016, although with being in college, I may get less reading done in general. O.o

    • K.M. Weiland says:

      Well, that’s pretty cool. 😀 I’m so glad you enjoyed Dreamlander! I’m gearing up to start outlining the sequel here in a few months. #excited

  13. Oops, I see I had a few typos in my comment 😛 I am looking forward to that sequel!!

  14. Cool, I may have to check out some of the books on your list. Here are some of my favorites that I read this year:
    “Sky Lantern” (Matt Mikalatos)
    “Overrated” (Eugene Cho)
    “Disunity in Christ” (Christena Cleveland)
    “Twelve Clean Pages” (Nika Maples)
    “Out of Sorts” (Sarah Bessey)

  15. If you haven’t read it already, I highly recommend John Flavel’s The Mystery of Providence.

  16. K.M. Weiland says:

    I haven’t. I’ll check it out. Thanks!

  17. K.M. Weiland says:

    I’m so pleased you’re finding it useful! And I really loved Mistborn. It’s Sanderson’s best book, IMO.

  18. Hey all,

    I failed to mention a great nonfiction book I’m researching for one of my characters. “The autistic brain” by Temple Grandin. She’s absolutely brillant. And I never expected it to be a pageturner!

    Benjamin

  19. Wow that’s quite a list! So many good ones. I’ll have to put some of these on my readers hit list, which gets longer by the minute.

  20. K.M. Weiland says:

    Ah, Temple Grandin’s awesome!

  21. Reading took a big hit for me this year. I’m at only 35-ish books and I’ll only finish one or two more by Jan 1st. I need to be better at setting aside books that don’t grab me and moving on to something else. I had several this year that were sort of painful to get through and everything dragged because of it.

    Favorite non-fiction this year: Tortured for Christ by Richard Wurmbrand

    Favorite fiction: A toss up between Star Wars: Path of Destruction and Brandon Sanderson’s Legion.

  22. K.M. Weiland says:

    Hey, can’t go wrong with Star Wars! 😀 I’ll have to check out the Wurmbrand book. You guys are giving me so many great suggestions!

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