The Best Books of 2015 (so far)
July 23, 2015 1:49 PM   Subscribe

The Best Books of 2015 (So Far) By Christian Lorentzen at Vulture. "These ten stand out as having made an especially remarkable impression on the past half-year." posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome (13 comments total) 37 users marked this as a favorite
I love posts about books!
posted by Fizz at 2:18 PM on July 23, 2015 [2 favorites]

Too soon.
posted by hoodrich at 2:22 PM on July 23, 2015 [5 favorites]

I share Lorentzen's enthusiasm for James Wood's The Nearest Thing to Life. It's short, it's well written, it makes you think about books, music, and life: what more can you ask?
posted by languagehat at 2:29 PM on July 23, 2015 [3 favorites]

Man, I don't know, I really tried with the galleys of a bunch of the novels that are getting mentioned on all of these lists and just couldn't even muster the enthusiasm to make it through them. The hype mill works with whatever grist it's fed, I guess. For me the only real standouts of the last six months' brand-new fiction have been My Struggle vol. 4 and Kim Stanley Robinson's Aurora.
posted by RogerB at 3:35 PM on July 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

I reread nearly all of the discworld books on Terry Pratchett's passing (Ones I enjoyed a lot more second time round: Equal Rites, Reaper Man, Interesting Times) which put a bit of a dent in my new reading this year - but since you are asking - what I would particularly recommend which is relatively new.

Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel - even to those mefites who have strong instinctive aversion to the name Peter Thiel or startup culture.

Persona by Genevive Valentine - to quote Abbigail Nussbaum "if, instead, the thing you found most fascinating about The Hunger Games was the celebritization of politics, the use of fashion, public persona, and carefully crafted ersatz relationships to shape public policy and opinion--then the idea of a whole novel focused on just that aspect of the story will probably seem utterly delightful."

Elon Musk: Inventing the Future by Ashlee Vance - Yes, you need to read more about Elon Musk.

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari - Compelling despite not really being about history in the traditional sense.

The Just City by Jo Walton - Plato's Republic fan-fiction genius idea.

Also Book Length if not a book - The History of Philosophy without any gaps podcast. Perfect format for something like this. I was unable to get past the pre-socratics in Kenny because dull big book and Russell everyone says is somewhat fiction. By breaking everything up into short episodes this manages to be both very comprehensive and bite sized at the same time.
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 3:40 PM on July 23, 2015 [6 favorites]

This one "The Speechwriter: A Brief Education in Politics" by one Barton Swaim was just published July 14 & when I heard the author interviewed on NPR, I nabbed it from my brilliant local library & devoured it that day.

It's the most wonderful - biting, funny, indiscreet & melancholy - memoir about working under the disgraced southern governor Mark "Appalachian Way" Sandford. It's getting fantastic reviews & will stay in my head right through election season.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 3:43 PM on July 23, 2015 [3 favorites]

I've only read one of these -- Rachel Cusk's Outline -- and by dumb luck, I read it 2014. It was serialized in the Paris Review in that year.

It was good.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 5:40 PM on July 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

Wasn't A Little Life published this year? I could not put it down, so I don't know why it's not one of the most addictive books . I also think it's one of the best books I've read this year, so I'm surprised to not see it on any of the lists. Did I read all the lists? I thought so. I hate lists of books I should read. I always end up buying several and my TBR pile is ridiculous.

I was all set to hate everything in the Paste column because they mention a book I thought was only fair, but then they mention one that I haven't read (but, of course, own) by Sara Hall. She wrote such a lovely book a few years back, Electric Michelangelo, and I didn't know until quite recently that she had a new one out. So, yep, can't hate the Paste column.
posted by janey47 at 6:25 PM on July 23, 2015 [2 favorites]

So far, so... so.
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:27 PM on July 23, 2015

> Fine for fiction, here's the best nonfiction book of the year.

I wish people wouldn't do this. Don't make people click through to solve the mystery of your recommendation.
posted by languagehat at 8:18 AM on July 24, 2015 [7 favorites]

This is an awesome post, thanks. I like seeing mid-year best books posts, personally. They remind me what I need to be watching out for. Or even what I don't need to be watching out for.
posted by blucevalo at 10:35 AM on July 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

By far the best nonfiction book I've read so far this year, released mid-April, is KL: A History of the Nazi Concentration Camps, by Nikolaus Wachsmann. It is impeccably researched, and is also a gripping, well written read. I thought I knew this subject, but I learned a huge amount I had not known.
posted by bearwife at 12:08 PM on July 24, 2015 [3 favorites]

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