Booklist’s Best Books of 2015

Here it is, at long last, Bookist‘s “best of” lists for 2015—Editors’ Choice and Top of the List. Every year, Booklist editors sit back, relax, and reminisce about the best things they’ve read and reviewed the past year—that’s not entirely true, there’s always another issue right around the corner, so there isn’t too much time to relax, but the reminiscing and general excitement is certainly true because who doesn’t like a “best of” list?

Booklist Editors' Choice 2015


Top of the List, 2015

Adult Nonfiction

The Human Age: The World Shaped by Us, by Diane AckermanStarred Review M Train
by Patti Smith

“Smith maps her creative life in this sequence of atmospheric, tender, and lithe essays on dreams, solitude, travel, and love. . . . She muses over her passion for reading, addiction to detective shows, and bouts with melancholia in a beautiful and entrancing chronicle of dancing to the music of change and finding words that balance loss.” —Donna Seaman, Booklist, September 1, 2015

Adult Fiction

All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony DoerrStarred Review Mothers, Tell Your Daughters, by Bonnie Jo Campbell

“This is a gathering of penetrating tales about the hidden truths of women’s lives. . . . From a bittersweet variation on the Lolita predicament to a cheating dead ex-fiancé possibly reincarnated as a dog, Campbell delivers 16 commanding, piquant, and reverberating stories about womanhood besieged and triumphant.” —Donna Seaman, Booklist, August 2015

Adult Audio

The Testament of Mary, by Colm Tóibín and read by Meryl StreepStarred Review Career of Evil , by Robert Galbraith; read by Robert Glenister

“What makes this recording stand out is the way that we are drawn into the point of view of the killer himself. Glenister’s tone and inflection capture this character’s maniacal fascination with grisly acts, made all the worse by being voiced with calmness and steady determination. You may not want to listen after dark.” —Connie Rockman, Booklist, December 15, 2015

Youth Nonfiction

The Human Age: The World Shaped by Us, by Diane AckermanStarred Review Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad, by M. T. Anderson

“From the rise of communism under Lenin to the Siege of Leningrad, the Russian composer was there. All the while, he defiantly wrote moving, galvanizing music. . . . In a gripping narrative, helped by ample photos and shockingly accurate historical details, Anderson offers readers a captivating account of a genius composer and the brutally stormy period in which he lived.” —Sarah Hunter, Booklist, July 2015

Youth Fiction

Rain Reign, by Ann M. MartinStarred Review The Bunker Diary, by Kevin Brooks

“When this latest book from controversy-stirrer Brooks won the 2014 Carnegie Medal in the UK, up piped a familiar chorus of damnation from the frequently scandalized. It was too bleak, too dark, not for kids. The naysayers almost got it right: it is, rather, for everyone, playing just as well as can’t-stop-reading entertainment as it does an allegorical passage into darkness.” —Daniel Kraus, Booklist, December 1, 2015

Youth Picture Book

The Lion and the Bird, by Marianne DubucStarred Review Fire Engine No. 9, written and illustrated by Mike Austin

“Fire Engine No. 9 speeds through the streets, siren blaring and horn honking. . . . With great flair, Austin uses color, texture, and even form to amplify the drama, as when the formerly upright fire engine leans forward, straining to reach the fire in time. Young children will enjoy chiming in on the many sound effects, while the well-constructed, colorful illustrations offer pleasures of their own.” —Carolyn Phelan, Booklist, September 15, 2015

Youth Audio

Revolution, by Deborah Wiles. Read by Stacey Asward and othersStarred Review Salt: A Story of Friendship in a Time of War, by Helen Frost; read by Tom Picasso and others

“Anikwa, a 12-year-old Miami boy, and James, an American, live as neighbors and friends in the days leading up to the War of 1812. Frost’s poetry lends itself beautifully to the audio format. . . . The subject matter, quality of writing, and outstanding production quality make this recording a must-have for every audio collection for young people.” —Alison O’Reilly Poage, Booklist, April 2015


Booklist Editors’ Choice

Adult Books, 2015

The Adult Books editors have selected these titles as representative of the year’s outstanding books for public library collections. Our scope has been intentionally broad, and we have attempted to find books that combine literary, intellectual, and aesthetic excellence with popular appeal.

Audio for Adults, 2015

The best in the year’s audio selections for adults.

Adult Books for Young Adults, 2015

Selected by the Books for Youth editors, these titles constitute the year’s best personal reading for teenagers among adult books published in 2015.

Books for Youth, 2015

Committed to providing a broad selection of outstanding books that mixes popular appeal with literary excellence, the Books for Youth editorial staff has chosen these titles as best-of-the-year nonfiction and fiction books and picture books.

Audio for Youth, 2015

The best in the year’s audio selections for youth.

Video, 2015

The year’s best video, documentary, and independent films for adults and youth.



About the Author:

Sarah Grant is the Marketing Associate for Booklist. Follow her on Twitter at @Booklist_Grant.

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