The Best Books Of 2015, According To O Magazine And

If there is a greater pleasure than reading, it is recommending to others works by writers one loves. During the holiday season, we're extra festive, figuring out which of the hundreds of books we've read since January we liked best.
Between the World and Me
Courtesy of Spiegel
In a missive alight with righteous rage and sacred love—specifically, for Coates's son, to whom the book is addressed—American racism is treated as a brute material force bent on the destruction of the black body. There is much pain, and no flinching. The perpetrators are told to face their crimes and save themselves. The sufferers are implored to bind their wounds, to struggle and to live on. — Dotun Akintoye
The Story of the Lost Child
Courtesy of Europa Editions
If you hunger for a discovery and haven’t yet encountered the quartet of novels by this pseudonymous writer, retreat at once to a room of your own and settle in for one of the most pleasurable reading experiences of the decade. The saga that began with My Brilliant Friend and ends with this title chronicles the fraught friendship of two Italian women and the conflict between ambition and tradition. It has the sweep of an epic and the intimacy of a journal. — Leigh Haber
H is for Hawk
Courtesy of Grove Press
In the wake of her father's sudden death, the grieving Macdonald turns to raising a goshawk named Mabel, who becomes her obsession, partner and healer. This stunning memoir grapples with history, death and nature in prose so exquisitely wrought, it approaches poetry. By the end, the author finds herself transported and, against all hope, hopeful. — Dotun Akintoye
The Only Ones
Courtesy of Two Dollar Radio
Dibbell's major accomplishment (besides publishing her first novel just shy of 70) is her narrator, Inez, blessed and cursed with immunity in a society ravaged by plagues. Inez's voice—a fragmented vernacular that is wise, tough and humane—elevates this dystopian novel in which, after a botched experiment leaves her an unwitting mother, every choice is a desperate one. — Dotun Akintoye
The Turner House
Courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
This first novel, a National Book Award nominee, establishes its author as a writer to watch. In telling the story of the Turner family in all its messy glory—gambling addictions, faltering marriages, visitations by ghosts—Flournoy also gives us a spot-on portrait of a Detroit neighborhood in decline and a snapshot of the effects of a troubled American economy on folks who are doing everything they can to stay above water. Ultimately, it's their love for one another that keeps them afloat. — Leigh Haber
A Little Life
Courtesy of Doubleday
This exuberant, even feverish, novel sucks you in for 700-plus pages and never lets go. It's mainly brilliant young Jude's story, one that's slowly, hauntingly revealed in a feat of writing that mimics how memory works in those who try to suppress it. That Jude moves forward in spite of his past makes for one of the most triumphant bildungsromans in recent memory. — Leigh Newman
My Life on the Road
Courtesy of Random House
Sometimes the most admirable among us are never fully appreciated or understood. Fortunately, the feminist icon's generous, insightful, optimistic account of her lifelong commitment to activism gives us the opportunity to celebrate her profound contributions, even as she continues to roll up her sleeves and humbly do the work. As she observes, "Revolutions, like houses, are built from the bottom up." Amen. — Leigh Haber
Going Into the City: Portrait of a Critic as a Young Man
Courtesy of Dey Street Books
The legendary rock critic remembers the people, places, ideas and art that have informed his writing. Pay special attention, as Christgau has, to the women: Ellen Willis, a powerful cultural critic who teaches him the meaning of loss; and his wife of 40 years, Carola Dibbell (also on this list with The Only Ones), who's coauthor of the marriage he considers his greatest work. — Dotun Akintoye
The Girl in the Spider's Web
Courtesy of Knopf
The bad news is that Stieg Larsson, creator of the beguilingly complex Lisbeth Salander—introduced in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo—died before he could experience the cosmic embrace that greeted the first three books in the Salander series. The good news is that Lagercrantz, a journalist hand-chosen by Larsson's family, has picked up where the late author left off, delivering a thrillingly layered book every bit as addictive as the originals. — Leigh Haber
M Train
Courtesy of Knopf
There is something perversely exhilarating about stepping inside the restless mourning of the woman who gave us rock anthems like "Till Victory" and the memoir Just Kids. Whereas those works celebrate youthful passion, this book is an aching look back, an elegy for what was and can never be again. Yet amid the despair, there is Smith's enduring desire to love—people, coffee, TV characters—and her yawning hunger for life. — Leigh Haber

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