10 best books of 2015

Here are the must-read new-releases from the last year

1. Eggshells

Caitriona Lally

Vivian doesn't feel she fits in with her family or anyone in Dublin for that matter. She lives in her greataunt's house in Dublin and spends her days roaming the city. She knows she is different, as before her parents died they told her she was a changeling who belonged to another world. She searches for her own world, and eventually also starts looking for her first friend.

2. Go Set A Watchman

Harper Lee

The companion piece to the most famous American classic sees a grown up Scout Finch, now going by her given name Jean Louise Finch, return to Maycombe, Alabama to visit her ageing father Atticus. The controversial novel sees Jean Lousie coming to terms with her roots, and the painful understanding about her family and neighbours as the civil rights movement transforms a tense South. It may not be quite as fantastically written as To Kill A Mockingbird, but it is fascinating to read the new perspective of the now adult Scout. This novel was in fact written in the 1950s, before To Kill A Mockingbird, and adds depth and context to the brilliant novel.

3. The Heart Goes Last

Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood is famed for her post-apocalyptic fiction, and her latest novel is a more wry take on the genre. The Heart Goes Last follows married couple Stan and Charmaine as they struggle to stay afloat in the midst of global social and economic collapse. At risk and exposed as they are forced to live in their car, they hear of a social experiment called the Positron Project, which offers stable jobs and their own home. The only catch is that every second month they must give up their home and go to prison. They soon grow obsessed with the couple who live in their house while they are in prison, an obsession that turns sinister over time. A dark story made all the more engaging with Atwood’s trademark sense of humour, this is a standout in a genre that risks being flooded.

4. Number Eleven

Jonathan Coe

British author Jonathan Coe pokes fun at our celebrity obsession, the disparity between the rich and poor and how easily politics can turn to farce. A bewildered Oxford graduate finds herself tutoring for the very rich, and an aspiring artist’s dreams are quashed by a bitter journalist. The novel contains interweaving satirical stories that vary from the laugh out loud to uncomfortable as he holds up a mirror to the odd and selfish parts of our society.

5. The Girl On The Train

Paula Hawkins

Already being made into a film, this novel has been lauded as the new Gone Girl. Rachel takes the commuter train every morning passing the street where she used to live before her husband left her for another woman. When a woman on that street goes missing, Rachel realises she could have answers, but her alcohol abuse has left her with blurred memories. Plus, her husband's new wife is furious to see Rachel on the street, and believes she can't be trusted. A gripping thriller that will have you seeking answers.

6. The Green Road

Anne Enright

A familiar story, this novel is set on the Atlantic coast of Ireland where Rosaleen Madigan has decided to sell the family home. Her adult children have long since left the home to live exotic adventurous lives in Dublin, New York and third world villages, and they return to celebrate one last Christmas in the house. They aren't happy at the prospect of their childhood memories being sold, and the tension and selfishness abounds in this emotional book from the Laureate for Irish Fiction.

7. The Mark And The Void

Paul Murray

This madcap novel from the Skippy Dies author follows a French investment banker based in Dublin. Bored at work, a novelist approaches him about his latest project and the banker Claude finds himself inspired to live a bolder life. But the novelist has an ulterior motive and it soon emerges that Claude's dodgy employer does too. This novel is a humorous take on the financial crisis.

8. Asking For It

Louise O'Neill

A beautiful girl wakes up with no memory of the events that occurred at the previous night's party, but the pictures that have been posted on her social media channels leave nothing to the imagination. This story about consent, perception of guilt and online harrassment is an eye-opening and thought-invoking read that will send shivers down your spine.

9. Spill Simmer Falter Wither

Sara Baume

This story follows the friendship between a man and his dog in rural Ireland over four seasons. They only have each other and have been shunned by everyone in their seaside village, only for a misunderstanding to send them on the road. This debut novel impressed critics and readers alike, with its lyrical language and suspenseful writing.

10. The Game Changer

Louise Phillips

Criminal psychologist Dr Kate Pearson was abducted as a child but has no memories of her time in captivity. So when a sinister note appears under her door, it opens up the mystery all over again, as she learns her parents lied to her about how long she was taken for. Soon she suspects a Dublin suicide and a New York murder could hold the answers to what happened to her, and she must uncover what really happened before it's too late. Another breath-taking thriller from a great writer.

Here are some other books we loved this year:

A Slanting of the Sun by Donal Ryan

A letter from America by Geraldine O'Neill

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