Five Of The Best Books Of 2015


Illustration/Natalie Cullen

So many worthy books, but for most of us there is so little time to read them all. Those words are usually spoken each year when the list-making season arrives.

Whether it's summer-time reading or our best of the year list, we usually have room to discuss about 10 books. That means an awful lot of notable books go undiscussed by our panel of avid readers.

So, in the holiday spirit, we’ll ask Cindi Reed, assistant director of Black Mountain Institute at UNLV, what does a book need to get on your best of 2015 list?

“I think it sits at the crossroads of something that is engrossing and entertaining and interesting and fun to read, but then also offers something a little more substantive as well … add some meat to your literary meal,” Reed told KNPR’s State of Nevada.

Reed said a lot of her reading is just picking up random books at the library or what’s she comes across at BMI.

“For example, working at BMI there are so many great authors that are coming through I want to read all of these books,” Reed said. “There are always great books in the news or on the Internet.”

Maile Chapman, artistic director of BMI and an associate professor of English at UNLV, told KNPR a good book has to be a combination of something substantive, but “for me something that just pulls me in.”

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Chapman said she also gets a lot of recommendations for books to read.

“I’m lucky to be positioned such that I have people around me that read all the time,” Chapman said. “The graduate students at UNLV in the creative writing program create (lists) of emerging writer and they often bring writers to my attention.

Chapman admitted that she had that “don’t tell me too much about the movie syndrome.” She said if someone recommends a book too highly it puts “me off and takes me more time to get around to it than if I hadn’t heard anything.”

So, what books to Cindi Reed and Maile Chapman put on their best of 2015 list? Well we have put together a slide show:


Riad Sattouf: “The Arab Future: A childhood in the Middle East, 1978-1984


Sarah Manguso: “The Two Kinds of Decay.”


Larissa McFarquar: “Strangers Drowning: Grappling with Impossible Idealism, Drastic Choices, and the Overpowering Urge to Help.”


Claire Vaye Watkins: “Gold Fame Citrus”


Vu Tran: “Dragonfish”



Cindi Reed, assistant director, Black Mountain Institute, UNLV; Maile Chapman, assistant professor, English, UNLV, and artistic director, Black Mountain Institute.

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