Waterstones Book Of The Year Shortlist 2015

Posted on 13th November 2015 by Sally Campbell
Today's the day we announce our eight exceptional reads from the last year in publishing. If you are looking for the real literary highlights of 2015, read on. We will select an overall winner on December 1st.

It is that time of year again! This is when you ask us booksellers: “What are the most exciting books of the last year?”

You are looking for the show-stoppers, the books that will make you sit up, take notice, then fall over as you get so lost in them that you forget whatever else you are doing…

The pulse-quickeners, the heart-stoppers, the mind-racers...

Well, you are in luck because today is the day we unveil the Waterstones Book of the Year shortlistthe top eight books of 2015 – as voted by Waterstones booksellers.

The overall winner of the Waterstones Book of the Year award will be announced on the 1st of December. In the meantime, let us guide you through eight truly outstanding titles:


Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee

Harper Lee only deals in essential reading. To Kill a Mockingbird is politically important, exceptionally well written and it teaches you so much - at any age. Well, so is Go Set A Watchman. Whether as a historical document that gives another angle on the civil rights era, or as a lesson against taking anything for granted, or as a coming-of-age tale…it is dark, but it is vital. You just have to read this book. It is too important not to.


My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

A modern masterpiece – this spellbinding novel  is a work of heart as well as head, of fascinating and moving characters as well as exceptional writing. At its centre, it is the story of two young friends growing up in a small town, near Naples. But it has a plot that reels you in and holds you captive, while the lyricism of Ferrante’s sentences work their magic. 

The Girl on The Train by Paula Hawkins

Compulsive, fast-paced and arresting –this book is an incredible debut. There is a reason so many people have read the book in one sitting - it is deliciously creepy and totally immersive, you will get lost in the dark turns of plot and find yourself breathing quickly and your heart pounding as your whip back the pages to find out what happens next.


The Shepherd's Life by James Rebanks

This book is so many things. It is an inspiring life story, about finding, and being proud of, your place in the world; it is a reminder of this nation’s farming history, a lesson in heritage for us all; it is a passionate defence of an often overlooked vocation; and it is a wise, moving and eloquent story, one that will sweep you away. You will buy copies for all your friends.


The Fox and The Star by Coralie Bickford-Smith

This gorgeous, unique and stunning clothbound book is a thing of beauty. It is also a wonderful story of friendship, loss, and learning to embrace the unexpected -  ideal for adults and children alike. Coralie Bickford-Smith is a legendary book cover designer and her formidable talents are evident on each astonishing page – this is a book to savour.


Reasons To Stay Alive by Matt Haig

Charming, funny and insightful, this clever and candid book has the potential to brighten your day while it gives you something fundamentally important: a greater understanding of depression. Writing this good makes gaining insight a pleasure. You will have read half the pages before you come up for air.


SPQR by Mary Beard

Mary Beard is a phenomenal story-teller. She takes the grand, abstract and distant Roman Empire and helps it feel immediate and lively. In SPQR, she writes about the humorous, everyday details of Rome and puts, as she puts it, ‘the people back into the story’.  Be charmed, amused and completely surprised by these vibrant observations from one of our eminent historians.


A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

A Little Life is a fantastically dark and addictively gothic read. An epic tale, exploring friendship in twenty first century New York, it is a structurally impressive and hugely ambitious novel. Essentially, it is a challenging story about escaping the fetters of the past - troubling, yet touching. And unforgettable too.


Anna Tomlinson

Reasons to Stay Alive shouldn't just be Book Of The Year but Book of the Century! It's a ray of hope and light in the dark world of depression. A must read for everyone! View more

Anna Tomlinson
18th November 2015
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Rachel Rowlands

What ? No The Shepherd's Crown? Thought you would have placed the last book by the Late Great Sir Terry Pratchett into the shortlist . After all he was one of the greatest writers the UK have ever had ....
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Rachel Rowlands
13th November 2015
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