Favorite books of 2015: a top 10 list

Amidst all the wonderful books I read last year, here are some of my favorites (in somewhat chronological order)


A fine romance: falling in love with the English countrysidefine romance

By Susan Branch

Lent to me by my friend, coworker, and kindred spirit, Melissa, reading this book was a great way to start the New Year. This wonderfully illustrated and told story of Susan Branch’s love affair with not only the English countryside but also her husband who she met in her home town on Martha’s Vineyard.

The good braider : a novel

By Terry Farishgood braider

I read this young adult novel for the Maine Historical Society book group about “Home.” This book, written in free verse, tells the story of a young refugee woman from Sudan who is adjusting to life in Portland, Maine. A must read for anyone who lives or works in Portland, to appreciate what some of our fellow Portlanders have gone through to call our fair city home.


Under the wide and starry sky: a novel

By Nancy Horanunder the wide and starry sky

This lyrical story, mentioned several times in previous blogs in 2015, about Robert Louis Stevenson and his wife Fanny educated me about this author of “Treasure Island” and “Kidnapped” in an entertaining way. “Louis” and Fanny travel the world in search of good health (and fodder for stories) for Louis before his early death at the age of 44 in the Samoan Islands.


To bless the space between us: a book of invocations and blessings

By John O’Donohueto bless the space between us

I really loved this man’s poetry – so much that I shared “For a new father” with a coworker who had his first child last spring, and “For a new position” with friends who started a new job. Other favorites are for a new home, for the traveler, for marriage, and for work.


Hawaii: a novel

By James MichenerHawaii book

This book, which I bought for myself on my birthday at an antique store, took up several months of my summer, in anticipation of a cruise to Hawaii that Michael and I took with my mom. While quite a tome it kept my interest and was great historical background for our trip. It was a wonderful book for reading on Long Island’s beaches, as well as on the cruise ship with my mother, while enjoying our afternoon tea.


Quiet: the power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking

By Susan Cainquiet

Lent to me by a fellow introvert, this book was encouraging for those of us who fall into that spectrum.


For all of us, one today

By Richard Blancofor all of us

I recommended this for my book group without reading any of Richard Blanco’s work, and promptly fell in love with his words – while he is a poet his prose was just as joyous. This book, about his journey as the inaugural poet for President Obama’s second term, inspired me to read some of his poetry books.


Broken for you

By Stephanie Kallosbroken for you

Another book group selection, I really loved this book. The book is full of quirky characters – my fellow book group participants thought it too unreal, but I said, “oh no, this is just like living on an island where quirky characters abound!” I loved the setting (Seattle), the characters, and the story. I was sad when it ended.


From holidays to holy days: a Benedictine walk through Advent

By Alfred Holtzfrom holidays to holy days

This was my Advent reading, which was a wonderful way to ease into the Christmas season. Written by a Benedictine monk in New Jersey and his observations of the street scenes in the light of the Benedictine philosophy and way of life, I was uplifted and inspired.


A week in winter: a novel

By Marcia Willetteweek in winter

Finally, another wonderful author introduced to me by Melissa (see the first book in this list) – Marcia Willette, a British writer who sets many her novels in Cornwall. I loved this book with the setting and great ending (although a bittersweet love story amidst, which is where the title came from). Fortunately Marcia Willette has written many books so I’m eager to enjoy her books for years to come.


What were some of your favorite books in 2015?