It 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.
CBR’s BEST BOOKS OF 2015: FICTION
Alchemy’s Daughter: A Novel
by Mary A. Osborne
Death at Gills Rock: A Dave Cubiak Door County Mystery
by Patricia Skalka
A Desperate Fortune: A Novel
by Susanna Kearsley
Haymaker: A Novel
by Adam Schuitema
Twilight of the Idiots
by Joseph G. Peterson
The Waxen Poor
by J. D. Schraffenberger
A Winsome Murder
by James Devita
Extinguished & Extinct: An Anthology of Things That No Longer Exist
by John McCarthy (Ed.)
by Christopher Ankney
State of Horror: Illinois
Jerry E. Benns, Editor
CBR’s BEST BOOKS OF 2015: NONFICTION
A City Called Heaven: Chicago and the Birth of Gospel Music
by Robert M. Marovich
Weeds of North America
by Richard Dickinson and France Royer
Blood Runs Green: The Murder That Transfixed Gilded-Age Chicago
by Gillian O’Brien
Here’s wishing that 2016 is a year full of great books from great authors and great publishers! Happy Reading!