This is always one of my favourite posts to write – I really enjoy looking back over the year’s reading, and remembering the various bookish highs and lows …
I’ve read fewer books this year (just over 80, as opposed to last year’s 100), and the reason for this is that I’ve been spending more of my spare time watching YouTube than reading, as I’ve developed a bit of an addiction to make-up and beauty vlogs over the last six months or so. I really hope to rein that in a bit next year, and get back into my reading groove again.
Anyway, without further ado, let’s move onto this year’s awards.
Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain. This was my only 10/10 read this year, and I absolutely loved it. Set in 1960 in North Carolina, it centres on 15 year old Ivy Hart and her family, and is something of an expose of the true story of young women being sterilised without their knowledge or consent.
I didn’t manage to get to the end of either of these books. The Postmistress, I can honestly say, was one of the most boring books I’ve ever picked up. NOTHING happened! I kept thinking that it must improve soon but sadly, 100 pages in, it was no better, so I gave up and moved on.
The Other Typist was written in a style I really couldn’t get to grips with, and although it was fairly easy reading, I found the black humour slightly ‘off’, and just didn’t enjoy it.
Several years ago, the ‘misery memoir’ became quite fashionable, and there was a surfeit of books about abusive childhoods and miserable lives. I vowed never to read another, and although the cover of this one looks as though it’s cut from the same cloth, it actually isn’t.
It’s written by a woman who adopted her best friend’s two sons after their mother was killed in a car crash and their father died of cancer, and is ultimately a very uplifting book. I saw an interview with the lady herself in a Sunday paper, and was interested enough to read the book, and I’m glad I did.
Best New-To-Me Author
I really enjoyed Lucy Clarke’s debut novel, so much so that I immediately bought her second one, which was equally as good. I’m now eagerly awaiting her next offering.
Special mention also to Veronica Henry – I don’t quite know how I’ve never read anything by her until this year, but I’ve really enjoyed the three I’ve picked up. Her writing reminds me very much of Penny Vincenzi’s style, and it’s always lovely to find an author with a big back catalogue to devour. I also introduced my mother to her books, and she has enjoyed them immensely, too.
Book I Didn’t Expect To Like But Did
This American pioneer story had been sitting in my bookcase, unread, for ages, and I really didn’t have high expectations when I picked it up. I found myself absolutely glued to it, though, and couldn’t put it down. Sometimes those are the books that are best, aren’t they? The ones that surprise you with how good they are.
Book I Didn’t Like But Everybody Else In the World Seemed To Love!
I know we can’t all like the same books, but goodness me, I did feel as though I was truly in the minority when I got to the end of this and just thought it was a bit … meh. It’s an Alzheimer’s story, a subject matter I’m interested in, and I’ve read Rowan Coleman’s books before and quite enjoyed them, so having bought into the hype surrounding this novel, I was hugely disappointed withit. It just didn’t ring true to me on any level.
Back in 2013, I read Lisa Genova’s ‘Still Alice’, which had the same subject matter, but told the story in such an utterly believable and emotional way – it was a world away from The Memory Book, and was my (tied) Best Book of 2013, in last year’s Book Awards post.
A new category, specially invented for this book. I’ve read a lot of psychological thrillers this year (it’s the new ‘in’ genre, it seems), and I’m so sick of every single one being touted as ‘the new Gone Girl’. Anyway, I digress.
This was a 9/10 read for me, full of intrigue and dark twists and turns, but the twist at the end just blew me away – I SO didn’t see that one coming at all. Brilliant.
A couple of special mentions this year:
Really enjoyed this book based around the Bali bombings, and the effect it had on one young girl who got caught up in it. Very evocative of time and place, and a good page turner, too. A perfect holiday read.
Another psychological thriller, this book had a really menacing, dark feel all the way through and was a 9.5/10 read for me. Brilliant.
So, we come to the end of another year’s reading, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what 2015 will bring in the way of books. What have you read and loved this year? I always appreciate recommendations.