12 January, 2016

My Favourite Books of 2015 – For lovers of magic and unbelievable things

My Favourite Books of 2015 - Callaloo Soup Journal

2015 was full of good reads. I got a stack of books for Christmas of 2014 so I was off to a great start from January 1st. I set a target of 60 books to read, and managed to finish 56 by December 31st. I loved most of the books I read, which made coming up with this list quite hard. But in no particular order here are my favourite books of 2015

Big Magic

Oh this book! If you’re a creative, or even wonder if you’re creative (spoiler alert: you are!), you’ll want this one in your arsenal to read over and over again. Elizabeth’s no nonsense approach to creativity will give you just the kick in the butt you need to get out there and get creating.

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

The twist in this book, )which comes way before the end so you’re not kept in suspense forever), was so unlike anything I was expecting that I had to put the book down and breathe deeply. And the story that continues after the twist is revealed, is possibly even more captivating than the bit before the twist.

Cutting for Stone

What can I saw about this sweeping story other than I loved every bit of it? I’ve never been to Ethiopia but yet I could clearly see the characters and situations. Probably because of growing up in a developing country that underwent an unstable period including a dictator,  a coup d’etat and then another dictator.. Either way the story of this blended family is captivating in every way.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

This classic was one of the books on my 2015 to read list from the Rory Gilmore Challenge (free printable alert!). It didn’t disappoint and I devoured every beautifully written word.

Me Before You

A modern love story with a surprisingly un-relatable main character, which didn’t make me enjoy the book any less, and still kept me wondering how things would turn out for her in the end. I’m looking forward to reading the sequel this year!

The Secret History

One review called this “a thinking person’s thriller” and I have to agree. Nothing is obvious, and the twists and turns take quite a bit of unravelling. I was confused by the main character, probably because he seemed pretty confused about his life himself. The book contains dark and mysterious themes against a backdrop of life at a small New England college. Different and very good.

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

This book was so strange! There’s no other way to describe it. But it was so enthralling and mysterious and incredibly beautifully written that I read it voraciously until the end. And it’s long, but again beautiful. So beautiful that as I read it I wished I spoke Japanese so I could read it in the original language.

The Night Circus

Another weird and wonderful read. If you love fantasy this one is for you. You won;t know which of the main characters to root for, in fact like me you might end up rooting for both. Full of beautiful imagery, this one will meet you in your dreams.

Flight Behaviour

I’ve read everything by Barbabra Kingsolver and I’ll probably continue to do so because I love her story telling style. I am also an unapologetic environmentalist, so she’s preaching to the choir when it comes to me. All things considered though, this is a lovely story, and if you’re a mom you’ll surely relate to the main character.

2 a.m at The Cat’s Pajamas

Get this book now. You’ll love the main character, a feisty nine year old who’s in charge of her life. The story takes place over the period of 24 hours, and they are the most interesting 24 hours ever! Philadelphia natives will probably enjoying reading about their city too!

Parnassus on Wheels

This quirky book made me laugh out loud! It’s a fun romp, all about books and adventure, with the most unlikely of characters. You might want to pick up the sequel too, I just did!

The Storied Life of AJ Firky

A beautiful love story with the central theme being books! if you love romance, reading, bookstores and quirky characters you’ll want to add this one to your reading list this year.

You can see my complete list of books read here. What were some of your favourite reads last year? I’m starting to compile my “to be read” list for 2016!


  • Didi B.

    I’m starting to compile a list as well so that I can participate in #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks ! Your top reads of 2015 is certainly an inspiring and adventurous one. I read and loved Cutting for Stone, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (read it when I was Young). About to pick up Big Magic this month and want and need to read The Secret History. I wish you lots of great reading in 2016!

    • francinec

      Thank you! I can pass on The Secret History to you if we ever manage to sync our schedules to meet up! 🙂

    • LOL I love that hashtag! Where is that challenge being held? I can pass The Secret History on to you if we ever manage to sync our schedules to meet up!

  • I LOVE the Secret History. I’ve probably read it 20 times. I’m going to look at some of your other titles. Last year, I finally read the Book Thief. Very good

    • I read The Book Thief in 2014. I so loved it! And when I was writing the blog post I decided that I need to read The Secret History again. So many details that I need to review.

  • I can not wait to read these! I was looking for some new books to read, and I love these topics!

  • Big Magic is on my list to read this year. I hope to find time for Murakami’s new book too. So many great reads, so little time! 🙂

    • Yes, exactly! I want to re-read The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle too.

  • Jaimie Anderson

    This is an awesome list! I’m also a fan of Barbabra Kingsolver’s storytelling, but I missed that one, so it’s definitely going on my list.

    • Thanks! I am sure you’ll enjoy it!

  • Aimee McDonald

    “Me Before You” is on my shelf waiting to be read. Great list here!

  • Thanks for sharing! I’m always looking for new books! Just added all of these to my list!

  • Anna

    I am having problems with my internet lately so I can use that as a good excuse to read. Love your list now I have to pick one and hit the bookstore. Thanks for the suggestions.

  • Robin G.

    I’ve heard such great things about A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, its definitely on my to read list!

    Penn&Quill || Robin

    • It’s really good, fantastic writing.

  • The Night Circus is on my list, I’m glad you liked it!

    Molly and Stacie

  • I’m a huge book nerd and am thrilled to find your post! Sounds like you’ve got some great ones and I’ve never heard of any of them! I think I might need to start with We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves … you set it up wonderfully! Thanks for sharing!

    • I hope you enjoy it, it kept me enthralled!

  • Wow I haven’t read any of these and need to get on the ball. I don’t know if I can stomach another Tartt novel… is she as verbose in this book as she was in The Goldfinch? I’ll keep your list in my back pocket for my upcoming reading.

    • Yes, she is totally verbose. I need to read it again, as I am sure I missed many details.

  • Denay DeGuzman

    I love hearing about great reads! The book title that caught my attention was the first one: Big Magic. I’ll need to check that one out. And Flight Behavior – I’ll need to look into that one too. Thanks for sharing your 2015 best reads!

    • You’re welcome! Those are both awesome reads by two of my favourite authors!

  • I’ll have to check these out! I read Me Before You, and I loved it. I didn’t like After You as much though. Also I’ve had the Night Circus forever and never gotten to it. What is wrong with me? lol

    • LOL What indeed? Get on it girl! 🙂 My sister read After You, I’ll have to ask her what she thought.

  • Diana Poell-Roijen

    I absolutely loved the Night Circus and The Secret History. Have you ever read Drood by Dan Simmons? It’s an older book, but I loved it! It’s very original and quite sinister at times. It’s a big book, but definitely worth the read 😉 Your list is very interesting. I’m going to have to put some of these books on my ever growing to-read list. 😉