The following titles, which I prefer to list without ranking them, are my top picks among those published in 2014-2015 that I reviewed during 2015. It would be easy to find room for another 5-6 fiction titles, but I’m staying with the top 12 selected.
Some years back, the nonfiction list was limited to a “top 8” because I reviewed far fewer nonfiction titles than fiction. That circumstance changed somewhat a few years ago when it became a top 10 list, and this year’s list for nonfiction is a “top 12,” matching an expanded fiction list.
The first two lists reflect my favorites among the trade publications that I reviewed. Separately, I’ve listed 4 self-published titles that seem to me especially worthy of notice.
The order in which the titles are listed has absolutely no significance.
Alan Cheuse, Prayers for the Living
Michael Wiley, Second Skin
Ben Nadler, The Sea Beach Line
Jonathan Papernick, The Book of Stone
Robert N. Macomber, Assassin’s Honor
Alex Kava, Silent Creed
Joseph Kanon, Leaving Berlin
Steph Post, A Tree Born Crooked
James W. Hall, The Big Finish
Lisa Unger, Crazy Love You
Robert Levy, The Glittering World
Kim Michele Richardson, Liar’s Bench
Lyn Millner, The Allure of Immortality
Timothy Snyder, Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning
Jonathan D. Sarna and Benjamin Shapel, Lincoln and the Jews: A History
Patrick McGilligan, Young Orson: The Years of Luck and Genius on the Path to Citizen Kane
Joseph Telushkin, Rebbe: The Life and Teachings of Menachem M. Schneerson, the Most Influential Rabbi in Modern History
Les Standiford, Water to the Angels: William Mulholland, His Monumental Aqueduct, and the Rise of Los Angeles
Patrick Bishop, The Reckoning: Death and Intrigue in the Promised Land
Peter Longerich, Goebbels: A Biography
Guy Lawson, Arms and the Dudes: How Three Stoners from Miami Beach Became the Most Unlikely Gunrunners in History
Norman J. W. Goda, Barbara McDonald Stewart, Severin Hochberg and Richard Breitman, eds., To the Gates of Jerusalem: The Diaries of James G. McDonald, 1945-1947
Anne C. Heller, Hannah Arendt: A Life in Dark Times
Heidi B. Neumark, Hidden Inheritance: Family Secrets, Memory, and Faith
Robert Lane, The Cardinal’s Sin
Kay Taylor Burnett, Ginger Quill
Mike Hirsh, Fly Unzipped
Barbara Marangon, Detour on an Elephant: A Year Dancing with the Greatest Show on