The Top 10 Most Popular Books of 2015
After the dystopian dynasty we had going on in 2014, Americans have been branching out this year, with some older books still going strong as newer ones pop up and gain a following. We’ve seen more popular female authors this year than we usually do, which is refreshing, and readers seem to be reaching for darker themes and unreliable narrators as the year goes on. eBooks have continued to gain popularity at a pretty steady pace, warring with their print counterparts without completely knocking them aside. As we grow nearer to the summer months (and everyone who was munching popcorn through last year’s thrillers begins to panic), diet and weight loss books experience a surge in popularity. Two of the top selling books so far are diet-related!
Expected summer reading correlates with recent and anticipated movie adaptations, with John Green’s ‘Paper Towns’ and Veronica Roth’s ‘Insurgent’ climbing. With so many books about to hit the big screen, and so many writing book reviews for them, readers are definitely feeling the pressure to try to read the book before the movie premiere. Here are the top ten most-read books of 2015!
1) ‘The Girl on the Train’ – Paula Hawkins
This novel has been going strong since its publication. Its author creates tension with unreliable narrators– there are three female narrators in total, but the primary one (Rachel) is by far the most questionable. A divorced alcoholic, she lives vicariously through other people. One of these people is another of the narrators, who leads a miserable life until the moment she vanishes, and an intoxicated Rachel goes to the police with the idea of telling them all of the things she “knows” about the missing girl.
2) ‘American Sniper’ – Chris Kyle
This autobiography is the inspiration for the recent popular (and controversial) film of the same name. It chronicles the story of the most lethal sniper in history, who has 160 confirmed kills and has served four terms in the Iraq War. Before his death in 2013, he was also shot twice, and made it through no less than six IED attacks. ‘American Sniper’ serves to detail the struggles of finding a balance between military life and life outside the military. As previously mentioned, Chris Kyle is now dead, but that hasn’t slowed the book’s popularity in the least. Due to the film’s popularity, this one is expected to hold strong through the summer.
3) ‘All The Light We Cannot See’ – Anthony Doerr
Taking place during the Second World War, Anthony Doerr’s novel tells the story of a young blind French girl, Marie-Laurie, and a German orphan Resistance tracker named Werner. The narrative tracks both of their lives, detailing the many dimensions of the human experience for each of them, and reaches a peak when the two characters meet in Russia.
4) ‘Zero Belly Diet’ – David Zinkzenco
The most popular of the current diet trends, the ‘Zero Belly Diet’ offers a new approach to weight loss, explaining how some foods promote weight gain while others deactivate chunks of DNA that encourage the body to store fat. It works, Zinkzenco says, because it’s the only diet that tries to solve weight problems on a genetic level.
5) ‘Unbroken’ – Laura Hillenbrand
Another World War II tale, ‘Unbroken’ follows Louie Zamperini, an Olympic athlete who becomes a bombardier once the war breaks out. After his plane crashes over the Pacific ocean, he and his companion struggle to survive for nearly fifty days before a new enemy arrives. This book’s recent surge in popularity is a direct result of last year’s film adaptation of the same name.
6) ‘Wild’ – Cheryl Strayed
Another autobiography, ‘Wild’ chronicles Strayed’s impulsive choice to hike over one thousand miles alone after she finds her life in shambles, figuring she has nothing to lose. Both suspenseful and humorous, this gripping story is a record of the life-threatening quest that, in the end, saved Cheryl Strayed’s life.
7) ‘The 20/20 Diet’ – Dr. Phil McGraw
The second weight loss book in the top ten this year, McGraw bluntly delivers his advice for losing weight (and keeping it off) in a book that empowers readers by encouraging them to manage their own diet and fitness habits, and explains recent research that suggests certain foods increase your metabolism. The book also provides tips for managing behavioral or environmental triggers that may lead to weight gain.
8) ‘Still Alice’ – Lisa Genova
The book that inspired the 2014 movie of the same name, ‘Still Alice’ is about a Harvard professor who finds herself caught in a fierce battle with Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 50. As someone whose identity lives in her cognitive and academic abilities, she struggles to define herself in a world where her memory and her academic abilities are rapidly decaying. This powerful story captures the age-old question of how we should define ourselves, and what makes us who we are, as she tries to assure herself that she is still Alice.
9) ‘Saint Odd’ – Dean Koontz
The most recent (and the last) in his ‘Odd Thomas’ series, ‘Saint Odd’ ties up loose end and brings the series to a close, leading back to Pico Mundo, where Odd hears that the cult he has been fighting has ‘something big’ planned for that day. Koontz answers some questions and leaves us satisfied despite the ones that he left unanswered– because, in the end, you can never know everything.
10) ‘The Secret Keeper’ – Kate Morton
When Laurel Nicolson is sixteen, she witnesses a startling crime that haunts her for years. Fifty years later, an actress, she finds herself at the scene of the crime once more, and searches for answers to everything she has wanted to know since that day. The story takes place in London, beginning just before World War II and carrying all the way through the turbulence of the 60s, juxtaposing Laurel’s personal history with the earth-shattering events that go on around her.