CWC’ers Share Their Best Books of 2015

Best Books
It’s that time of year! CWC speakers, attendees, and supporters share their favorite books of the year that weren’t included on other “Best of 2015” lists. Check them out below:


The Fifth Season

“The best book I read this year (so far!) was The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin. Although it’s fantasy, I don’t think I’ve read any book that has better captured the tension of the ongoing racial conflicts. It’s a book that’s both entirely of its time and somewhat timeless, since it takes place on a completely different planet. Also, the world-building is amazing, even if it does take you a chapter or two to catch up. Amazing writing, amazing story, amazing message. The only downside is that it’s part of a series and ends on a cliffhanger.”

— CWC Attendee Lorraine Boissoneault, journalist and fiction writer. Her book The Last Voyagers will be published by Pegasus Books in 2016.




Deep Breath Hold Tight

“[I recommend] Deep Breath Hold Tight by Jason Gurley. It’s a collection of short stories about worlds’ ends, and it isn’t your typical apocalyptic sci-fi anthology. While the stories all center around the end of the world–the end of someone’s world, if not the actual world itself–it’s the heart and passion that we see in the characters’ actions and reactions that really fuel the stories. The futuristic settings almost appear as sturdy backdrops for Gurley’s explorations of human emotion and endurance. This is a science-fiction collection for readers who are wary of science-fiction, with prose that is tight and well-composed, in every sense of the word. Deep Breath Hold Tight was truly a delightful surprise of a book.”

–CWC Instructor Clayton Smith, author of Apocalypticon and Anomaly Flats. He teaches Business & Entrepreneurship at Columbia College Chicago, and he is the Archduke of Dapper Press.


All the Light We Cannot See

All the Light We Cannot See

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. It is a novel both beautiful and sad, telling the stories of two very young people whose lives and any hope for normalcy are swallowed by war. Exhaustively researched and wonderfully written, the novel asks us to invest our time and interest in two very youthful protagonists, children, actually, in contrast with the sophisticated and self-involved adult protagonists of so much of our contemporary fiction — and brave, fascinating young people they are. Mr. Doerr’s novel has fine writing, inventive plotting, a Dickensian sense of character — it even has a famous jewel! What more could a reader want? A lovely book.”

–CWC Speaker Michael Raleigh, author of Peerless Detective as well as eight other books including In the Castle of the Flynns and The Blue Moon Circus. He teaches freshman writing and World Literature at his alma mater, De Paul University.

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[insert] boy by Danez Smith. Hands down one of the best poets writing today–direct, edgy, visceral, brutally honest. These poems aren’t meant for those looking to be entertained by poetry or those wishing to feel all cozy, they’re meant to shake you the hell awake and slap the stupid out of you.”
–CWC Instructor and Speaker C. Russell Price, poet and editor. He currently serves as the Senior Poetry Editor of TriQuarterly. His work has appeared in Weave, Assaracus, North Chicago Review, and elsewhere. He has been a semi-finalist for the Boston Review Discovery award and received first runner-up for the Edes Award for Emerging Artists.

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