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The Best Books of 2015--A Very Biased List from the Staff

Yes, we love all the books equally. But there are a few books we love just a little bit more. Here then, is Common Good Books' very subjective, very idiosyncratic list of our favorite books of 2015.

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The Wake: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781555977177
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graywolf Press - September 1st, 2015

The narrator of Paul Kingsnorth's novel The Wake loses everything in the days following the Norman conquest of England. His home is burned, his farm his destroyed, and his family is killed. Retreating to the green woods, he quickly descends into a fever dream of revenge.

It takes a few moments to learn to parse the language of The Wake; it is written in a simplified version of Old English, after all. The effort is richly repaid, however, by an engrossing and immersive reading experience unlike any other historical novel. Kingsnorth's vividly imagined medieval tale is an ancient story that throbs with life. 


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A God in Ruins: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316176538
Availability: Not in Our Store - Available to Order
Published: Little, Brown and Company - May 5th, 2015

"Nothing short of brilliant describes this companion to Life After Life. It is Atkinson at her very best. It's not a sequel, so go ahead--read and enjoy. Loved it!"


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Thrown Cover Image
ISBN: 9781936747924
Availability: Not in Our Store - Available to Order
Published: Sarabande Books - October 14th, 2014

A young lady philosophy scholar literally wanders into the world of mixed martial arts fighting. This book kept leaving me dumbstruck. It's like an ice cube down the back. 

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A Reunion of Ghosts: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062355881
Availability: Special Order Only - Please Contact Us
Published: Harper - March 24th, 2015

"The story tugged me along relentlessly--complicated, life and death stuff, myriad varieties of women, those mistakes in remembering that are so dangerous, effects of the past on the present, wide range and serious depth of loving and being loved. It's a great read and it all stays with you."


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News of the Universe: Poems of Twofold Consciousness Cover Image
ISBN: 9781619025929
Availability: Not in Our Store - Available to Order
Published: Counterpoint LLC - September 15th, 2015

"One of Minnesota's finest poets, and certainly its finest poetry translator, herein whittles a world's worth of poetry into one beautiful, fine point. The overarching theme of twofold consciousness is perfectly suited to Bly's voice, thought, and career. I recommend this to anyone who's ever liked anything."


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Between the World and Me Cover Image
ISBN: 9780812993547
Availability: Not in Our Store - Available to Order
Published: Spiegel & Grau - July 14th, 2015

"To crib Toni Morrison's blurb, Between the World and Me ought to be required reading. Ta-Nehisi Coates says he doesn't 'want to be anyone's expert,' but that isn't to say there aren't some crucial truths inside this book. Poetic and tragic and timely."

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Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage Cover Image
ISBN: 9780465062881
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Basic Books - April 28th, 2015

"Still the best account of Shackleton's famous adventure, complete with Frank Hurley's stunning photographs. My favorite book of all time."


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M Train Cover Image
ISBN: 9781101875100
Availability: Not in Our Store - Available to Order
Published: Knopf - October 6th, 2015

"Patti Smith continues her successful sucession of books that includes the National Book award winning memoir Just Kids, as well as many earlier books, poetry publications and exhibition catalogs. I settled into M-train and felt like she had opened a door to her world, not the music world, but her everyday life--Patti's apartment, Patti in the cafe, Patti hanging on the stoop. On the cover image, she sits, and looks out the window watching the world go by. I imagine she is fabulously famous, and yet, can go quietly unrecognized in New York City and this gives her space in her cafe to muse, capture the muse and filter it back to the reader with all the ephemeral sweetness of the best truffle you have ever eaten. Forget the hard facade, this is pure butter, chocolate and bliss.Take it slowly and love every bite."


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Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink Cover Image
ISBN: 9780399167256
Availability: Not in Our Store - Available to Order
Published: Blue Rider Press - October 13th, 2015

My favorite book of the year.


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The Emerald Light in the Air: Stories Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250074706
Availability: Backordered
Published: Picador - September 1st, 2015

"Each story follows a stressed-out, often over-medicated adult as he or she fails, hilariously, to carry out an everyday plan: buy flowers for a spouse, go for a pleasant walk, relax at a party of peers. A great pick for fans of George Saunders, Jeffrey Eugenides, and Lorrie Moore. All nine stories appeared first in The New Yorker."


All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781476746586
Availability: Not in Our Store - Available to Order
Published: Scribner - May 6th, 2014

"Beautiful in every moment! This is the kind of book that reminds you why people and things are so enchanting. Easily the best book I have read this year."


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Alec Soth: Songbook (First edition. Second printing) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781910164020
Availability: Special Order Only - Please Contact Us
Published: Mack Books - March 1st, 2015

An amazing new photobook from Soth. Wonderful pictures that capture the strange beauty of America. Beautifully designed. Destined to be a classic. Highly recommended! For fans of Frank, Evans, Adams, etc. . . . Published by the great MACK Books!


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But Enough about Me: A Memoir Cover Image
ISBN: 9780399173547
Availability: Special Order Only - Please Contact Us
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons - November 17th, 2015

"Learning about the storied life of this nigh-mythic sex symbol of mustachioed manhood was possibly the most satisfying reading I've ever done,--let alone done this year. It was invigorating to track his movements through friends and colleagues, through cinema and television, like one would track a bounding stag through a forest primeval. If I had a billion thumbs, I would upturn them all. Burt, after all, remains king."