Books books books

Here’s a sort of review of my year in books, in reverse order.

First, books that are still waiting to be read…

Next, the books that I’m still in the process of reading. It was only once I’d gathered them from around the house for the purpose of this photograph, that they really began to reproach me. Now I’m suffering book-guilt…

And lastly – and quite satisfying it is too – the books I have read, or reread this year. Not included in this picture are Jane Shilling’s The Stranger In The Mirror, because I’ve loaned it to someone, the first four Harry Potter books (I’m working through them with my daughter), or The Hobbit, which I’ve read to my daughter at least twice this year.

I enjoyed ALL of them. I can recommend all of them too. Thoughts have been provoked, wonder evoked, and one of them (Nik Perring‘s Not So Perfect) even staved off the onset of madness while I was stuck at Charles de Gaulle airport waiting to find out if Heathrow would become sufficiently unfogged so I could return home. (It didn’t, but we eventually flew anyway.)

What have you been reading this year?


10 thoughts on “Books books books”

  1. Because I travel a lot, and books are heavy and I can’t read on the bus without feeling sick, I prefer audiobooks. Highlights of this year: Sebastian Barry – On Canaan’s Side; Marina Lewycka – We are all Made of Glue; Joyce Carol Oates – We were the Mulvaneys; Kate Atkinson – Started Early, took my dog, and One Good Turn; Joseph Skibell – A Curable Romantic, and A Blessing on the Moon; Jackie Kay – Red Dust Road; Dom Joly – The Dark Tourist; Rose Tremain- Trespass.
    I used to read mainly new books, when I worked in retail, to try and keep up. Now I can’t afford new books, and this year, following a jumble sale purchase of Anne Tyler’s Noah’s Compass, I decided to try and read/re-read the entire back catalogue of Anne Tyler. Favourites of hers include If Morning Ever Comes, an Amateur Marriage, The Accidental Tourist, and Digging to America. I still have four on my shelf from the library that I haven’t yet read: The Tin Can Tree, Morgan’s Passing, Back when we were Grownups, and A Patchwork Planet. I read all of the last four somewhere between ten and fifteen years ago, but have forgotten the details. She has a new book coming out in Spring 2012, it’s listed on Amazon already.Another find of this year, at a folk festival, was Tracey Chevallier’s Falling angels, set in Highgate Cemetery. Listened to her Virgin Blue on audio and am keen to find more of her novels in the random shops and stalls.
    Also finished reading all the non-children’s books of Isla Dewar this year, apart from the two Wartime-themed novels. Women Talking Dirty and Keeping up with Magda were the last two that I hadn’t read and eventually I found them in charity shops. I prefer the titles that tell the story from the point of view of a mature woman, for example, The Consequences of Marriage, and Getting out of the House (which I read in Gloucester Royal Hospital in 2010, when I finally got out of the house and into the lung ward; the title made a nurse roar with laughter).
    Still to read are We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver (saw the film- wow).
    Right now I am reading just one book: the Kashmir Shawl by Rosie Thomas. I know it’ll turn out to be another soppy love story, but her descriptions of places are so stunning! She went to Kashmir to research this one, and is an intrepid traveller of the type I can only admire.
    For Christmas I’m getting a renewal of my subscription to Slightly Foxed, a quarterly periodical, so I can keep up with books of the past. Two of this year’s finds, through this journal, were the unintentionally hilarious People who Say Goodbye by PB Yetts, and Corduroy by Adrian Bell, a memoir of farming in Suffolk in the early years of the 20th century.

  2. Fascinating collection of books in all categories. ‘Seven Basic Plots’ on my TBR shelf but haven’t even opened it yet! Like Helen I’m an Ann Tyler fan and also Tracey Chevalier although ‘Burning Bright’ fell flat for me. But I love her style of Historical fiction which feels more intimate than others. Despite initial doubts I also fell in love with Wolf Hall and my other favourite read ‘State of Wonder’ by Ann Patchett – a complete find.
    One small question – did you read anything on Kindle? Just thinking they don’t ‘photograph’ half so well!

    1. Wolf Hall blew me away last year – I can’t wait for the next two! And no, I don’t have a Kindle, or any other e-reading device. Give me a physical book any day!

  3. Thank you for tips. Would Time Traveller’s Wife work well as an audio, do you think?
    I have one credit. I’ve heard that there are many, many characters, so that is where the printed page might come in useful. I think her second one is set in Highgate cemetery, so might try that.

    1. I don’t recall there being that many characters in The Time Traveller’s Wife, but it’s been a while since I read it. I think I loved Her Fearful Symmetry more, and yes, it is set in and around Highgate Cemetery.

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