Joining the lists

Best books, worst books, under-rated books, ’tis the season for writing book lists. I did a count in my reading journal and find I’ve read fifty-three books so far this year, when I include the current one, so I’ll make fifty-four or five by the end of the month. Many of these I’ve written about in this blog.

One of the places where I read.

One of the places where I read.

I decided to make my list consist of all the books I read this year, in the order I read them, without extra comment  apart from a double-star (**) for those I found particularly memorable.

A lot of my what-to-read decisions are a result of choices by my book group members, reviews and online comments, so most of the titles listed are worth reading.  I’ve added a + to titles I was re-reading and a – to those I didn’t finish (Which maybe shouldn’t be on the list, but I gave them all a good try).

Another reading place.

Another reading place.

I read six books on my iPad, via Kobo or ibooks, (I do my very best to not use Amazon) mostly on holiday in Niue, thus reinforcing the usefulness of ebooks for travelling. I still much prefer reading a printed version, and suspect I always will.

Fourteen got the **. I notice that more than half of these are set in times and places other than those familiar to me. I do think a lot of, but not all, the most interesting current fiction – and my reading is weighted towards fiction – is written from outside the contemporary English/ American arena.

I’ve got seventeen items on my “want to read” list. You will no doubt hear more about those next year. Here’s what I read this year:

Franz Kafka, America –

Gary Shteyngart, Super Sad True Love Story

John Green, The Fault In Our Stars

Jared Diamond, The World Until Yesterday

Cory Doctorow, Little Brother


**Rose Tremaine, Merivel

**Katherine Boo, Behind The Beautiful Forevers

Glenn Colhoun, Jumping Ship & Other Essays

**Vladimir Nabokov, Pale Fire

Cory Doctorow, Homeland

David Vann, Dirt

**Toni Morrison, Home

Val McDermid, The Last Temptation –

**Aorewa McLeod, Who Was That Woman, Anyway?

Carne Ross, The Leadership Revolution

**Mohsin Hamid, How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia

Michelle de Kretser, Questions of Travel

Virginia Woolf, Orlando +

**Adam Johnson, The Orphan Master’s Son

**Ruth Ozeki, A Tale For the Time Being


Naomi Alderman, The Liars’ Gospel

Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine

Michelle Roberts, Ignorance

Kate Atkinson, Life After Life

**David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest +

A M Homes, May We Be Forgiven

Stella Rimmington, At Risk –

**Karen Green, Bough Down

Tèa Obrecht, The Tiger’s Wife

Thrity Umrigar, The Space Between

Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl

**Jhumpa Lahiri, The Lowland

Anita Brookner, Latecomers –

James Salter, All That Is

Margaret Atwood, Surfacing +

Daniel Kahneman, Thinking Fast and Slow

Lore Frank, My Beautiful Genome

**Eleanor Catton, The Luminaries

Margaret Atwood, Surfacing +

Barbara Kingsolver, Flight Behaviour

Thrity Umrigar, The World We Found

Noviolet Bulawayo, We Need New Names

Tao Lin, Tai Pei

A M Homes, This Book Will Save Your Life

Mikhail Bulgakov, The Master and Margarita –

Isabel Wilkerson, The Warmth of Other Suns

Olivia Laing, The Trip To Echo Springs

The Golden Notebook2 2

Julian Novitz, Little Sister

**Alexsander Solzhenitsyn, The First Circle

David James Duncan, The Brothers K

**John Le Carré, The Spy Who Came In From the Cold

John Le Carré, The Looking Glass War


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