CBR’s Best Books of 2015

CBR_Logo2It seems we always have more books in hand than we have reviewers and time—a happy problem, to be sure—but, even so, here at Chicago Book Review we reviewed dozens of books again this year in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Our favorites—the books we loved and those we really liked—are listed here, in CBR’s Best Books of 2015.

Some of these fine books were written by local authors. Some were published by local houses, large, small, or indie. Some cover local subject matter. A few even hit all three—a local triad, as it were. Our Best Books of 2015 includes local authors like David Berner, Rebecca Makkai, Frances McNamara, and Patricia Skalka, as well as local publishers including Ankerwycke, Northern Illinois University Press, Sourcebooks, Triquarterly Books, and Twelve Winters Press. Some of these fabulous books cover local history or are set in Chicago or the Midwest—books like Blood Runs Green, A City Called Heaven, Living Black, and Midwest Maize.

All of these are in keeping with our mission of highlighting the books coming from Chicago and the Midwest, because Chicago Book Review reviews Chicago’s books—and we’ve read a lot of great books this year (and since we launched in 2013). We hope that the reviews and features here have helped you discover some new authors and publishers that you might not otherwise have heard of—great books that deserve to be read and recognized.

As you explore these titles, we hope you #ReadLocal and #ShopLocal by visiting your favorite local bookstore and picking up copies of some of the Best Books of 2015 from local authors and publishers. Chicago’s literary community is a rich one, full of clever authors and creative publishers. Check out some of these books and discover the good work that is coming out of Chicago and the Midwest.

Happy Reading!



Four-Star Review

Alchemy’s Daughter: A Novel
alchemy's daughterby Mary A. Osborne

Death at Chinatown: An Emily Cabot Mystery
by Frances McNamara

Death at Gills Rock: A Dave Cubiak Door County Mystery
by Patricia Skalka

A Desperate Fortune: A Novel
by Susanna Kearsleyskalka death gills rock

Gideon’s Confession: A Novel
by Joseph G. Peterson

Haymaker: A Novel
by Adam Schuitema

The Lost Journals of Sylvia Plath: A Novel
by Kimberly Knutsenmeet me halfway

Meet Me Halfway: Milwaukee Stories
by Jennifer Morales

Music for Wartime: Stories
by Rebecca Makkai

The Orphan Sky: A Novel
by Ella Leyaprinciples of navigation

Principles of Navigation: A Novel
by Lynn Sloan

Remedies for Hunger: Stories
by Anara Guard

Twilight of the Idiots
by Joseph G. Petersontwilightcover1200

The Waxen Poor
by J. D. Schraffenberger

A Winsome Murder
by James Devita


Three-Star Review

A Big Enough Lie: A Novela-big-enough-lie
by Eric Bennett

Extinguished & Extinct: An Anthology of Things That No Longer Exist
by John McCarthy (Ed.)

A Good Family: A Novel
by Erik Fassnacht

Hearsay AnkneyHearsay
by Christopher Ankney

If You’re Not the One: A Novel
by Jemma Forte

State of Horror: Illinois
Jerry E. Benns, Editor

Weeping With an Ancient God: A Novellawhiskey charlie 9781492607861
by Ted Morrissey

Whiskey & Charlie: A Novel
by Annabel Smith



Four-Star Reviewcity heaven 9780252080692

A City Called Heaven: Chicago and the Birth of Gospel Music
by Robert M. Marovich

Pieces of My Mother: A Memoirtriumph genius
by Melissa Cistaro

A Triumph of Genius: Edwin Land, Polaroid, and the Kodak Patent War
by Ronald K. Fierstein

Weeds of North America
by Richard Dickinson and France Royer

Three-Star Review

Blood Runs Green: The Murder That Transfixed Gilded-Age Chicagoblood runs green 9780226248950
by Gillian O’Brien

The Creative Activist: Make the World Better, One Person, One Action at a Time
by Rae Luskin

Living Black: Social Life in an African American Neighborhood
by Mark S. Fleisher

Midwest Maize: How Corn Shaped the U.S. Heartlandliving black
by Cynthia Clampitt

There’s a Hamster in the Dashboard: A Life in Pets
by David W. Berner


Here’s wishing that 2016 is a year full of great books from great authors and great publishers! Happy Reading!



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5 responses to “CBR’s Best Books of 2015

  1. Pingback: Novelist & Short Story Writer | Ted Morrissey

  2. Pingback: Best Book Death at Chinatown | Books Do Furnish A Room Blog

  3. Pingback: Chicago Book Review Best’s includes DEATH AT CHINATOWN! | Frances McNamara's Weblog

  4. Pingback: CBR’s Top 10 Posts of 2015 | Chicago Book Review

  5. Pingback: Best of 2015 | Midwest Maize

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