It’s that time of year again: the last day before New Year. As with last year, it’s time to look back and consider the books I’ve read.
This post will deal with my favourite reads this year. Worst reads (of which there weren’t that many!) will come later – follow this link to see them! So this is, I suppose, like the Booker Prize… Except that there’s no money on offer… And that these are books read in rather than published in the last year.
So not very much like the Man Booker at all really! Although there will be some overlapping books.
Right let’s aim for a top five.
#5 The Golem and The Djinni by Helene Wecker was actually my first read of the year! Beautiful depictions of immigrant cultures to New York and compelling on many levels: sociological, fantastical, personal and a rollicking good plot!
#4 Room by Emma Donoghue. A powerful and poignant story of a mother and child brought up in the most appalling situation as captives. Donoghue said she wanted to create that story at a distance from the horror and terror of the kidnapping when rituals had been established and tedium set in. And the most beautifully realised child’s voice I’ve read.
#3 Harvest by Jim Crace which was a Man Booker nominee in 2013 – as Room was in 2010. An absolutely astounding evocation of a moment in time and a wonderfully breathy summery feel to it which makes it wonderful to recall in this grey weather.
#2 The History Of The Rain by Niall Williams.
I really did love this book, a Man Booker longlist nominee. I loved the poetry of the language, the literariness of it, the humour and humanity.
Just absolutely wonderful.
#1 The Rehearsal by Eleanor Catton.
I only came upon this book and Catton because of her Booker-winning The Luminaries which was also wonderful. But for me The Rehearsal was sublime. It was coruscating and complex and writhed like a snake under the reader’s eyes. Exquisitely discomforting.
Ahhh… But now I’m already worrying about this list. Am I happy with the order? Should The Luminaries have been included? What of all the other books that were great but I’ve not included.
So a handful of honourable mentions, perhaps?
The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters
More Than This by Patrick Ness
Good Omens by Messrs Pratchett and Gaiman