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Happy Holidays! I hope each and every one of you recieved a gift of such a high caliber — because that's the real sort of 'tis the season euphoria, right? — that upon receiving it you leapt over a couch and gleefully embrace your sister-in-law like I did when I unwrapped Grace: A Memoir.
2015 has been kind to me (The long awaited Scarlet Gospels came out this year to the delight and terror of Clive Barker fans around the world) and it turns out that 2015 has also been kind to my fellow xoEditors who were stoked on — to varying degrees — these notable big releases. Without further ado, here are the best books of 2015 according to me and the folks at xoJane:
Amber's Pick: Grace: A Memoir by Grace Coddington
My 10-year plan involves upgrading to an apartment with central air, penning a brilliant novella, and — most importantly — working in a glass office that has my name and the title "Creative Director" etched into the door. Like many other fashion industry hopefuls, I have left drool stains all over the DVD case of The September Issue and was beyond excited for Grace to hit the shelves. Coddington's prose is a pure and unadulterated delight — frank, funny, and full of gems like:
My reaction to the intrusive idea [of The September Issue] was naturally one of horror because my feeling has always been that people should concentrate on their jobs and not all this fashionable 'I want to be a celebrity' shit.
The book also includes an archive of her favorite fashion spreads from American Vogue and the pages are peppered with whimsical illustrations from the Creative Director extraordinaire herself.
"I thoroughly enjoy Sara Benincasa as a writer, comedian and all-around human person, and this book did not cause me to stop liking her. I probably like her more now, actually. I'll admit, when I first read the description and saw it was about a high-school trip, I was like, "Meh, I'm not into YA novels," but then I realized it wasn't a YA novel and I was like, "Woohoo!"
And then I woohoo'd my way through every chapter because it's exactly what I expect from the author: hilarity, surprises, insight, and baby-name inspo (there are characters named Sivan and Gertie, which — come on — need to be the names of more people)."
Amber's Pick (Again): The Scarlet Gospels by Clive Barker
This is another one of my picks but whatever, I wrote the article so I get to go twice. Clive Barker first announced that The Scarlet Gospels was a completed manuscript in 2010, but had been hinting at its existence as early as 1998. That's quite a gestation period, but the payoff was worth it.
I laughed, I cringed, I got a little nauseous, and then I read it again (and again. Three times in the first 48 hours. It was a major bender. I had some nightmares. I'm over it.)
Dan's Pick: Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling
"The title alone says it all...when I found myself in a black hole of Instagram/Facebook FOMO and general body dysmorphia, this book brought me back and reminded me to find confidence in who I am versus what I think I should be."
Jane's Pick: Hunger Makes Me A Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein
"She went to Oberlin. She is awesome. Her writing sounds like her talking and is perfect and not fussy. Her mom and dad have their own separate interesting issues. She is very very open. She went to Oberlin."
Ed. Note: You guys are right. She PLAYED at Oberlin with Sleater-Kinney. Bonus info; she wrote for xoJane.
Tynan's Pick: Kim Kardashian Selfish by Kim Kardashian West
Before you shriek "TYPO!" please note that the title of the infamous coffee table book is, in fact, Kim Kardashian Selfish by Kim Kardashian West. While Tim Gunn declared it to be "disgusting and vile," some folks — like Tynan — think it is a masterpiece that should be bought and read and adored. In his own words:
Kim Kardashian is queen of the world and it doesn't even matter how you feel about that because there's no stopping her. I'm beginning to wonder if she's not actually just a performance artist at this point. Regardless, I think it's great, and pretty fascinating. From the minute this book was announced, it was met with a collective groan from the general public, followed up by a "Wait...really?" same.
Really. 445 pages of Kim K feeling herself. For a woman who has such a carefully curated, luxury persona, Selfish is the probably the most normalized representation of Kim we're ever going to see. Selfies dating back to the stone ages, 2006. Each selfie oddly but perfectly documents her rise to fame, and then watches as she rises higher and higher, all shot through her own lens. The earliest selfies, like all of ours, are so embarrassing, but you're not laughing for long, because just when you were beginning to feel like she was more like us than you thought, she subtly clocks us by the end.
"Paris Fashion Week — Getting ready for the Givenchy show. They were sewing North's lace dress in the other room."
Another fan of Selfish (sorry, I cannot type out the full title again) is Jane Pratt who "bought two copies of it to give as gifts, which were strangely unappreciated."
Lesley's Pick: Step Aside, Pops: A Hark! A Vagrant Collection by Kate Beaton
Kate Beaton's collection of wry, witty, and cutting comics has been a major hit this year with many readers including our most beloved Lesley Kinzel who has this to say:
"I actually think only one of the books I read this year was published in 2015! I’m always behind. The good news is that it was Kate Beaton’s Step Aside Pops, which I am happy to recommend to anyone who likes history and comics and things that are blindingly hilarious. "
Case in point:
Since our staff is small (but mighty!), I am more than happy to concede that one or two or several of the best books of the year may have been left off this list. That's where you come in — tell me what book should have absolutely made this list or give me your best frown gif because you heartily disagree with one of these titles.
Ed. Note: Grace Coddington's Grace: Thirty Years of Fashion at Vogue was released in 2015, while her memoir, Grace: A Memoir was released in 2012. This is an error on the author's part and should in no way detract from the other selections on this list, chosen by xoJane writers and editors with a better understanding of how time and space work.