I read a lot of books in 2015. These are not necessarily the best books I read in 2015 but they are the 10 I had the most fun reading.
10. The Gates (2011) — John Connolly
The second book I’ve read by Connolly (The Book of Lost Things was the first), it’s about a quirky boy who stops an invasion from hell. Technically, it’s a children’s book but it’s good — and funny — for adults, too.
9. The Postman Always Rings Twice (1934) — James M. Cain
There is no postman (I don’t think there’s any ringing, either) but it’s a short, suspenseful novel that’s pure noir.
8. Masters of Atlantis (1985) — Charles Portis
It’s Charles Portis, so the book’s hilarious in that way particular to Charles Portis. The book spoofs organized religion — “What are they up to with all those triangles?” — it would have been ranked higher but it slows down after a great start.
7. Farewell, My Lovely (1940) — Raymond Chandler
My second favorite Chandler novel, after The Little Sister.
6. Dune (1965) — Frank Herbert
It took two or three false starts to finish it. But if you can get through the first 50 to 100 pages (Herbert is not a wordsmith), you’ll get why it’s considered among the best science-fiction novels ever written.
5. All Quiet on the Western Front (1929) — Erich Maria Remarque
Faked reading it in high school. Read it for real as an adult. It’s heartbreaking.
4. The Martian (2011) — Andy Weir
The whole book is worth it for the Aquaman joke. And all the other jokes. And real science. And Mars.
3. Sagittarius Rising (1936) — Cecil Lewis
Lewis was British pilot during World War I and he wrote the book to detail his experience. He could have cut the end bit about China but that doesn’t make this book any less heartbreaking. You’ll learn about planes, war and loss.
2. Lost Horizon (1933) — James Hilton
Just a really good old-school adventure novel, albeit a little racist — but not as racist as King Solomon’s Mines, which I also read as part my Great Adventure Novel Phase of 2015. Anyway, Lost Horizon is where Shangri-La comes from. I think I read it in two days.
1. The Professional (1958) — W.C. Heinz
It’s about a boxer training for a title fight. It’s also about life. All I want to do is write one sentence half as clean as Heinz wrote.
Honorable mention: Blood Meridian (1985) — Cormac McCarthy
It didn’t make the list because this is the fun list, and I can’t say reading Blood Meridian is fun. No one describes nature like (or more than) McCarthy. He’s also really good at horrific violence.
Least-fun book: The Comedians (1966) — Graham Greene
Stiff and joyless.