Staff Picks of 2015 

It felt like this year has raced past in little more than a few weeks but time does fly when one has a good book at hand. The literary giants of the book world have gone into gladiatorial battle to get our eyes onto their pages. You couldn’t turn a corner without being met another goliath tome like The Secret Chord (Brooks), Purity (Franzen) or A Little Life (Yanagihara). And of course, we’re all still reeling from the massive release that was Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman. The international bestselling author wrote this gem all of 55 years ago ever since announcing that it would go to press this July, the book world has been in a frenzy!

E.L. James has broken records everywhere with Grey, her reverse-perspective raunchy, weird sex saga and other giants of fiction Steve Toltz, J.K Rowling/Robert Galbraith and Paula Hawkins have addicted us in bigger numbers than ever. The brilliant imagination of children’s authors like Oliver Jeffers, Andy Griffiths, Mem Fox and Isobelle Carmody have given us treasures that will keep kids reading all Summer. It’s been a fantastic year for kids and for adults who can’t resist a great story.
 
In the world of non-fiction, the kids of Youtube have captured hearts and minds on the page as well as the screen and it seems like someone put out a diet/superfood/happy cooking book every few seconds. Heart-stopping biographies also came through from Magda Szubanski, Mamamia’s Rosie Waterland and ABC's Richard Glover. Legends Clive James and Bill Bryson also returned to the fore.
 
Check out our very favourite, best-of-the-best, must-read-or-we’ll chase-you-down-the-street-waving-hardbacks-at-you books of 2015 below. Have you read them all? Tell us what you think and take a guess at what 2016 will bring.
 

Best In Fiction 2015

Best In Non-Fiction 2015

Best In Illustrated Books 2015

The Books of the Month

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Six Days in Leningrad

by Paullina Simons

Only a few chapters into writing her first story set in Russia, her mother country, Paullina Simons travelled to Leningrad (now St Petersburg) with her beloved Papa. What began as a research trip turned into six days that forever changed her life, the course of her family, and the novel that became The Bronze Horseman.

After a quarter-century away from her native land, Paullina and her father found a world trapped in yesteryear, with crumbling stucco buildings, entire families living in seven-square-metre communal apartments, and barren fields bombed so badly that nothing would grow there even fifty years later. And yet there were the spectacular white nights, the warm hospitality of family friends and, of course, the pelmeni and caviar. 

At times poignant, at times inspiring and funny, this is both a fascinating glimpse into the inspiration behind the epic saga, and a touching story of a family's history, a father and a daughter, and the fate of a nation.