This sensational selection of 2015's best books ranges from adrenaline-pumping thrillers to fascinating non-fiction works on war, nature and much, much more. Take a look here at the award-winners and the big hitters from the world of literature in 2015.
This gripping thriller features a run-down protagonist called Rachel, a woman with a turbulent past who has turned to alcohol to cope. She catches the same commuter train every morning, and watches the same row of back gardens and houses on the journey. She feels she gets to know one particular couple who live there, whom she calls Jess and Jason. But then she sees something shocking, and everything changes. Will she stand back, or step into the lives she's only watched from afar?
For the past three years, Jon Ronson has been meeting the recipients of high-profile public shamings, a phenomenon that has been sweeping the nation. Whatever mistake they've made, humans are all too keen to collectively pounce on these errors with outrage and jeers, mercilessly attacking people's faults. Powerful and hilarious, this candid book is full of wisdom and insights on the intensifying war being waged on human flaws - and the terrifying part we all play in it.
Marlon James | Winner of the Man Booker Prize 2015
Jamaica, 1976. Seven men storm Bob Marley's house, machine guns blazing. Marley survives, but doesn't return to his home country for another two years. Inspired by this horrendous event, James creates an imagined oral biography that travels between strange landscapes and enigmatic characters. It examines motivations and asks questions through a series of ghosts, witnesses, killers, drug-dealers, conmen, beauty queens and more.
Andrea Wulf | Winner of the Costa Biography Award 2015
Humboldt's rich and colourful life was full of adventure and new discoveries. He explored deep into the rainforest, climbed the world's highest volcanoes, and inspired princes, presidents, scientists and poets alike. Napoleon, Simon Bolivar and Darwin were all inspired by him. In this fascinating book, Wulf shows us why his life and ideas remain so important today, including his prediction of human-induced climate change as early as 1800.
Kate Atkinson | Winner of the Costa Novel Award 2015
Discover the life of Teddy Todd, heroic World War II bomber pilot, would-be poet, husband, father and grandfather, as he navigates the perils and progresses of the 20th century. He must endure much in battle, but his greatest challenge will be to face living a future he never expected to have. Gripping, hilarious yet emotionally devastating, this book examines war and the effect it has on those who live through it as well as subsequent generations.
How did the mighty force of NATO, along with 48 countries and 140,000 troops, fail to defeat a group of religious students and farmers? That is the question tackled by this engrossing book. It tells the story of well-intentioned men and women venturing into a place they didn't understand at all, and the fiasco that allowed Afghanistan to remain one of the poorest and most dangerous places on Earth.
Frances Hardinge | Winner of the Costa Book of the Year Award 2015
This dark, powerful and stunning novel stars Faith, whose curiosity is piqued when she stumbles upon her disgraced father's journals, filled with scribbles and theories that have driven a man to the cusp of madness. Amongst the notes, she finds tales of a strange tree which can uncover a truth if it is told a lie. On Faith's quest to find the tree, she finds herself in real peril, and quickly realises these lies could shatter the truths her world has been built around...
If you've ever wondered how modern espionage works, this is the ideal book for you. Follow the enthralling stories of momentous missions and the multifaceted characters who undertook them. There were pivotal moments when successÂ - and, ultimately, life or death - depended on whether the right person was in the right place at precisely the right time.
Adam Johnson | Winner of the National Book Award for Fiction 2015
Discover the stories of characters you never thought you'd meet, from a former Stasi prison warden in denial of his past, to a UPS driver in hurricane-torn Louisiana, looking for the mother of his son. Explore tales of love and loss, natural disasters, the impact of technology, and how the political moulds the personal. Compelling, thoughtful and droll, these stories reveal humanity where youÃ¢ÂÂd least expect it.
Nature- and animal-lovers will adore this fascinating insight into the lives of octopuses. They have varied personalities and intelligence which they show in many ways, including endless trickery to escape enclosures, and jetting water playfully to bounce objects around! But with a beak like a bird, venom like a snake and teeth all over its tongue, what sort of consciousness can these bizarre creatures have? Discover their lives in this entertaining and touching book.