Best of 2015: HPB Staff Picks in Books, Movies & Music

As with any year, putting together a list of the best new releases is challenging because there is so much great work to recognize. This collection of HPB Staff Picks are the books, music and movies which inspired and entertained us in 2015. If you haven’t discovered these yet, we hope you’ll enjoy them as much as we did. Here they are, in no particular order:


BOOKS // 1. Best Coloring Book (for Adults)Secret Garden Artist’s Edition by Johanna Basford / 2. Best LOL BiographyWhy Not Me? by Mindy Kaling / 3.  Best Literary Fiction to Cry Your Eyes Out OverA Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara / 4. Best Edge-of-Your-Seat MysteryMemory Man by David Baldacci / 5. Best Unexpected, Recently-Published 1950s NovelGo Set a Watchman by Harper Lee / 6. Best Finale to a SeriesWinter by Marissa Meyer / 7. Best Finger-Licking Good RecipesThe Pioneer Woman Cooks: Dinnertime by Ree Drummond / 8. Best Controversy-Stirring NonfictionMissoula by Jon Krakauer / 9. Best Euphorically-Geeky, Shout-Out-to-the-80s Science FictionArmada by Ernest Cline / 10. Best Historical NovelThe Nightingale by Kristin Hannah / 11. Best Children’s Picture Book Grown-Ups Will Enjoy Reading Again & AgainThe Wonderful Things You Will Be by Emily Winfield Martin / 12. Best Impactful Middle Grade NovelEcho by Pam Muñoz Ryan / 13. Best Brush-Up-On-Your-Manners Children’s BookPlease, Mr. Panda by Steve Antony (which technically was released on December 30, 2014 but we’re going to count it as a 2015 release) / 14. Best Pass-on-Your-Passion for Star Wars Graphic NovelVader’s Little Princess by Jeffrey Brown / 15. Best Ghost StorySlade House by David Mitchell / 16. Best Inspirational, Red-White-and-Blue American History BiographyDevotion: An Epic Story of Heroism, Friendship and Sacrifice by Adam Makos / 17. Best Continuation of a Series by a New AuthorThe Girl in the Spider’s Web by David Lagercrantz / 18. Best Revelatory and Culture-Questioning MemoirBetween the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates / 19. Best Start of a New SeriesRed Queen by Victoria Aveyard / 20. Best Infectiously Happy Bio:Wildflower by Drew Barrymore / 22. Best Impassioned and Thought-Provoking MemoirSpinster by Kate Bolick / 22. Best Movie Tie-in EditionThe Martian by Andy Weir / 23. Best Dystopian FantasyThe Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi / 24. Best Steamy Romance FictionCountry by Danielle Steel / 25. Best Adventure-of-a-Lifetime StoryThe Explorer’s Guild by Kevin Costner and Jon Baird  //  MOVIES // 26. Best Based-on-Real-Events FilmSelma,starring David Oyelowo / 27. Best Music-Rich, Unorthodox Biographical FilmLove & Mercy, starring John Cusack / 28. Best Feel-All-the-Feels Animated Movie for All AgesInside Out by Disney Pixar / 29. Best Weirdly-Wonderful Dark ComedyBirdman, starring Michael Keaton / 30. Best Action-Packed-Dialogue MovieSteve Jobs, written by Aaron Sorkin // MUSIC // 31. Best Playful-Surprise Alternative Rock AlbumStar Wars by Wilco / 32. Best Throwback-to-Soul AlbumComing Home by Leon Bridges / 33. Best New Album of Old StandardsShadows in the Night by Bob Dylan / 34. Best Powerhouse Vocalist Album25 by Adele / 35. Best Hauntingly-Beautiful Indie Folk AlbumCarrie & Lowell by Sufjan Stevens.

What are your favorites from 2015? Did we overlook the best new book you read in 2015? We’d love to hear about your Best List in the comments below. Here’s to another fantastic year of literature, music and films in 2016! Happy New Year, booklovers!