Our Favorite Books of the Year 2015 (So Far)

A look at the calendar reveals it is July, a fact that most of us here at MCP have a hard time believing. It’s been an astounding year in books so far, including the ones we’ve published and some excellent releases from traditional presses. Since we’ve reached the halfway mark, we thought we would share some of the best books our staff members have read this year. Obviously, a few of us couldn’t pick just one.

Hopefully we’ll give you some inspiration for your long weekend reading. Please share your own selections with us on social media!

I devoured On Immunity in one sitting, which not something typically said of non-fiction titles. This book feels urgent in a way I haven’t experienced in years, and Eula Biss is a staggeringly impressive writer. This book is as smart as it is tender; well-researched and theoretically powerful but thoughtful and empathetic as well. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Just read it. Go on, you can finish the rest of this list when you are done.

-Brandy Jensen, Content Strategist

The Last Renegade (Jan Houghton Lindsey - 2015, not yet out) - A romantic adventure set in the not-so-old West (mid-1950s), with enough characters and storyline to keep any reader going until the last page.

The Stephen Hawking Death Row Fan Club (R. C. Goodwin - 2015) - Six stories and a novella which are incredible character studies looking at people impacted by the justice system - where the "bad guys" aren’t always bad, and the "good guys" aren’t always good.

The Name of the Wind (Patrick Rothfuss - 2008) - Harry Potter without all the glitz and glamor.

The Prince of Los Cocuyos (Richard Blanco - 2014) - Memoir of the latest poet to read at a presidential inauguration, describing life growing up gay in a Cuban-American home in Miami in the 1950s. (Even more interesting, now that the US and Cuba are re-opening relations.)

It just dawned on me that the first and last of those are both set in the late 1950s - but they couldn’t be more removed from each other in style or setting.

- Robert Schmidt, Editor

I can’t stop recommending Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name by Vendela Vida. It is definitely my favorite book in a long time. The protagonist, Clarissa, whose eccentric mother disappeared when she was fourteen, is now twenty-eight, engaged and has recently lost her father. Upon cleaning out his desk, she discovers evidence that she is not biologically related to him. Following her heart and a strong pull to seek her identity, she abandons her life in New York and heads to Lapland in Scandinavia where the ancient Sami reindeer people still live, seeking a priest she believes to be her father. As the unthinkable and fragmented truth unfolds, Clarissa’s journey takes a very dark turn. Vida manages to keep humor and sorrow co-existing throughout the story, and the ending, though unexpected brings the story arc to a heart-wrenching close. To be honest, I was practically weeping when I closed the back cover. Very powerful.

-Robin Tinker, Marketing and PR Coordinator

My favorite read so far this year was The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food by Dan Barber. In it, Barber describes how the organic and farm-to-table movements have failed to really change how we farm and eat: we’re still focused on high yields instead of growing food that actually tastes good and is good for you. Since sustainable growing practices and the best-tasting foods go hand-in-hand, chefs, he argues, need to be the driving force behind real change to our food system. While this is not your typical summer page-turner, my husband and I enjoyed reading it aloud to each other while road-tripping.

-Lindsay Jones, Director of Operations

An Untamed State by Roxane Gay
This is not an easy read, but I finished the book in less than two days because I couldn’t put it down. It’s about a woman from a well to do family who is kidnapped in Haiti and held for ransom (which happens in real life a lot since there’s such a high poverty level there), and her family refuses to pay the ransom right away. The kidnappers brutalize her in a way that’s going to haunt you for a very long time, but it’s by far one of the best works that I’ve read so far. 

-Michelle Brown, Senior Account Executive

I love when authors put their own twist on fairy tales we are all familiar with, and The Book of Lost Things does just that. I listened to the audiobook of this, and I found myself waiting to get back into my car so I could follow the story. Fantasy with a dark twist (think Grimm Fairy Tales), this book follows David, a young boy who finds himself transported to a world with characters similar to those he’s read about in his deceased mother’s books. This book gave me chills, made me cry and kept me captivated until the end.

-Maddie Howard, Digital Marketing Manager

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