Michael’s Top Ten Reads of 2015

The year is winding down and it has been fun to look back at all the great books of 2015. Here are my top ten:

ShedThatFedThe Shed that Fed a Million Children, by Magnus MacFarlane Barrow

Best for fans of: Inspiring stories about individuals making a difference in their world, eg. Little Princes by Conor Grennan

What’s the appeal? A compelling narrative with an unlikely hero that shows what is possible in helping the developing world

The Reason You Walk, by Wab KinewReasonYouWalkcover

Best for fans of: Father-son relationship narratives and thought-provoking First Nations material – eg. Up Ghost River, by Edmund Metatawabin

What’s the appeal? A moving and hopeful story about a well-known aboriginal Canadian and his journey to healing

FallenFallen: A Trauma, a Marriage, and the Transformative Power of Music, by Kara Stanley

Best for fans of: Terrific writing and engaging page-turners about love, recovery, and brain science – eg. My Stroke of Insight, by Jill Bolte Taylor; The Brain’s Way of Healing, by Norman Doidge

What’s the appeal? Norman Doidge’s books have put neuroplasticity on the cultural radar. This book gives us the personal journey of the author’s husband and his slow recovery from a traumatic brain injury. Plus it’s by a local (Sunshine Coast) author

Becoming Nicole, by Amy Ellis NuttBecomingNicole

Best for fans of: Inspiring stories about love, family, and achieving identity – eg. She’s Not There, by Jennifer Finney Boylan

What’s the appeal? This is a remarkable biography that offers insight into the life of a young trans girl, and the impact her circumstances have on her twin brother and other family members

StolenSistersStolen Sisters, by Emmanuelle Walter, Translated by Susan Ouriou and Christelle Morelli

Best for fans of: Social justice narratives and background material for current events – eg Missoula, by Joh Krakauer

What’s the appeal? I’m not sure “appeal” is the right word here. The missing and murdered indigenous women of Canada are (finally) much in the news. This sobering work of investigative journalism puts a human face on the victims

Beyond the Call, by Lee Trimble with Jeremy DronfieldBeyondTheCall

Best for fans of: World War II histories, Cold War relations, and highly personal biographies/memoirs of extreme circumstances – eg. And No Birds Sang, by Farley Mowat

What’s the appeal? Covers a little known aspect of the Second World War, and reads like a novel. Also illustrates the personal costs paid by military personnel put into harms way

OnTheMoveOn the Move: A Life, by Oliver Sacks

Best for fans of: Honest memoirs that reveal surprising aspects of the subjects’ lives. Also, the humanistic approach to medicine – eg. Awakenings, by Oliver Sacks

What’s the appeal? Sacks refusal to treat his neurology patients as a bag of symptoms has long been an inspiration. Here is the story of his life, told by the man himself

438 Days: An Extraordinary True Story of Survival at Sea, by Jonathan Franklin438Days

Best for fans of: Epic true accounts of stamina, self-reliance, and survival – eg. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

What’s the appeal? This is a true version of Life of Pi. A storm knocked out the outboard motor of a fishing boat that then drifted 9,000 miles in fourteen months – an astonishing story of Macgyver solutions and strategies to maintain sanity

InRealLifeIn Real Life: My Journey to a Pixelated World, by Joey Graceffa

Best for fans of: Youthful exuberant writing focused on the online experience – eg. Binge, by Tyler Oakley

What’s the appeal? Youtube celeb Graceffa discloses the difficulties he faced as a young gay man. Directed to the young adult reader, this uplifting memoir provides insight into the birth of Youtube culture

Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear, by Lindsay Mattick, illustrated by Sophie BlackallFindingWinnie

Best for fans of: Picture books that deal with true events and subjects – eg. Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla, by Katherine Applegate, illustrated by G. Brian Karas

What’s the appeal? Beautiful illustrations, and a compelling story about the original bear that inspired Winnie the Pooh. Great for parents who get asked to re-read the same story over and over….

Happy Reading!


  1. Great list! Thanks for sharing with your readers. I am a huge nonfiction/memoir fan and I am always trying to add to my TBR pile 🙂 I think 2015 was an excellent year for this genre. My number one recommendation of the year is a law enforcement memoir by retired police sergeant Tom Alessi called “And They Found No Witches.”(http://www.twalessi.com/). He and four fellow police officers were accused of theft, evidence planting, and excessive force even though they were completely innocent. The trial and media coverage ruined their careers and their lives but they stood strong and fought back against the justice department in a seemingly hopeless case. It is an inspirational read and I couldn’t believe it had actually happened. I hope you and your readers will check it out. It is definitely a must read for 2016!

  2. Hey Thanks for the comments. I just checked and found that your recommendation is not in our collection, so I’ve placed an order. Best, Michael

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