Well, ignoring the fact that 2016 saw a chain of events begin to unfurl that is likely to bring about the end of civilisation, the last year was a pretty good one for reading. It wasn’t a fantastic year for me personally – spending much of it coping first with a bullying manager, and then the fall-out from dealing with that (he has been dealt with!). Books provided an excellent refuge from all of that. I also took on a couple of whoppers – War and Peace and Ulysses – which I am rather proud of. 23 of the 41 books I read were written by women – hurray!
I have been keeping my book diary for over ten years now – it’s funny to look at the early entries, where time and space seemed plentiful:
Compared to the desperately tight scrawl of fearful middle-age:
Anyway, on to the books:
- The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying – Marie Kondo – I got as far as clothes, and threw out about 8 bags of clothing that didn’t spark joy! As far as books and knick-knacks go, she can do one!!
- SPQR – Mary Beard – Making up for all those Roman History classes that I spent in the pub.
- A God in Ruins – Kate Atkinson – I nearly didn’t buy this, as I didn’t like the cover (a dead rabbit), but absolutely loved this. It’s linked to another brilliant Atkinson novel: Life After Life, and I recommend both.
- Dept. of Speculation – Jenny Offill
- A Spool of Blue Thread – Anne Tyler
- The Complete Eightball Vol.1 – Daniel Clowes
- Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald – Therese Anne Fowler
- War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy – I have to admit that reading this was both prompted and aided by the the excellent BBC adaptation.
- A Book for Her – Bridget Christie – funny!
- Purity – Jonathan Franzen – not my favourite, but still really readable.
- The Big Short – Michael Lewis
- A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara
- A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding – Jackie Copleton
- The Portable Veblen – Elizabeth McKenzie
- Not My Father’s Son: A Family Memoir – Alan Cumming
- A Walk in the Woods – Bill Bryson
- The Reluctant Fundamentalist – Mohsin Hamid
- Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits – David Wong
- Dancing in the Dark: My Struggle Book 4 – Karl Ove Knausgaard – I’m still working my way through the My Struggle series, and still enjoying them.
- Nod – Adrian Barnes
- The Life and Death of Sophie Stark – Anna North
- My Brilliant Friend – Elena Ferrante – I was curious about the hype, and now I’m hooked – I’ll be reading more of her work in 2017.
- The Kindness – Polly Samson
- Hotel du Lac – Anita Brookner
- Ruby – Cynthia Bond
- Slade House – David Mitchell
- The Deaths – Mark Lawson
- Time and Time Again – Ben Elton
- 2666 – Roberto Bolano
- American Housewife – Helen Ellis – I’m not a huge fan of short stories, but these were really funny.
- The Nest – Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney
- The Less than Perfect Legend of Donna Creosote – Dan Micklethwaite
- Animal: The Autobiography of a Female Body – Sara Pascoe
- Fates and Furies – Lauren Groff
- We Have Always Lived in the Castle – Shirley Jackson
- Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary – David Sedaris
- The Complete Eightball Vol.2 – Daniel Clowes
- Ulysses – James Joyce – This was a bit like reading a novel in a different language and at times I felt lost. I’m glad I read this, though, because it’s so radical for its time.
- Bonkers: My Life in Laughs – Jennifer Saunders
- The Actual One: How I Tried and Failed to Remain Twenty-Something Forever – Isy Suttie
- The Glorious Heresies – Lisa McInerney
This year has begun promisingly – just started reading The Essex Serpent. So, 2017 – any reading recommendations? Any more whoppers that you think I should try?