Books 2014

January

  1. Rough Shoot – Geoffrey Household. Rogue Male was better, and now I think I’ve read enough Household to be going on with.
  2. Blackveil – Kristen Britain. Because despite the fact that I don’t love this series and I find the heroine annoyingly uneven, so that she makes obvious mistakes solely to forward the plot, I still kind of want to know what happens.
  3. The Hundred Days – Patrick O’Brian
  4. King of the Badgers – Philip Hensher. Which was quietly terrific, and creepy and sad and now I’ll really never trust Neighbourhood Watch again.
  5. What Alice Forgot – Liane Moriarty (audio). I almost abandoned this because at the beginning, I wanted to smack Alice. Then I got drawn in. I still found her annoying but the idea of forgetting 10 years of your life was interesting. Would it be that you’d just lost the information, or that you lost the aspects of your personality that those years had formed?
  6. Bedsit Disco Queen – Tracey Thorn. I was never a huge fan of EBTG, but this got reviews on Twitter so I was waiting for the pb. I ended up reading aloud the bits that made me laugh, and thoroughly enjoying the rest.
  7. One Fine Day – Mollie Panter-Downes. I found this oddly dense for such a very short novel, which I think is down the disjointed way in which I read it. It ought really to be tackled in a single sitting. All the action, which is mostly internal and dialogue anyway, takes place in a single hot summer’s day, soon after the end of WWII. Stephen and Laura are adjusting to being back together, and to the reality of a house that’s too big to manage without servants.
  8. The Examined Life – Stephen Grosz. A rare foray into non-fiction, but Vintage have come up with the Shelfhelp scheme, a reading list of 12 books for the year with the aim ‘New year, same you – just slightly better read’. This was January’s book, and for me it was a quick read, but I envisage going back to it. It’s slices of case history from the author’s psychoanalytical practice, and as such there’s no story and there are no final resolutions. I found if fascinating to dip a toe in the water of so many people’s lives at their variously troubled times. Grosz doesn’t pretend to have all the answers, is sometimes stalled and has his own problems to deal with too, which makes the interplay also of interest. I find it oddly comforting that there aren’t any answers.
  9. A Commonplace Killing – Sian Busby. Apparently based on a true crime, and it was ok as an immediate post-WWII thing but if you want the real tawdry unpleasantness, then Patrick Hamilton is your man.
  10. Saints of the Shadow Bible – Ian Rankin (audio). Rebus back on form, reporting to Siobhan and working uneasily with Malcolm Fox. Wouldn’t have seen that one coming, and if anything I felt as though there was more character development for Fox in this novel than in his stand-alones.

February

  1. Blue at the Mizzen – Patrick O’Brian.
  2. The Unexpected Consequences of Love – Jill Mansell (audio).
  3. The Last Banquet – J C Grimwood
  4. The Shock of the Fall – Nathan Filer
  5. Black Swan Green – David Mitchell.
  6. Orkney – Amy Sackville.
  7. Five Days – Douglas Kennedy (audio). This is so, so good that I might buy it in print as well so I can enjoy reading it. The writing is articulate and precise, piling up in sub-clauses that intensify rather than mystify meaning. I’m recommending it to everyone. Update: Except that it kind of fell off a cliff half way through. Curses.
  8. Fallen Blade – Jon Courtenay Grimwood.
  9. The London Train – Tessa Hadley.

March

  1. Night Film – Marissa Pessl
  2. Never Mind Miss Fox – Olivia Glazebrook
  3. Picnic at Hanging Rock – Joan Lindsay
  4. Boy, Snow, Bird – Helen Oyeyemi
  5. The Owl Who Like to Sit on Caesar – Martin Windrow.
  6. Misfortune – Wesley Stace
  7. The Harpole Report – J.L. Carr
  8. Clever Girl – Tessa Hadley. Completely different to the Hadley I read last month, and much more interesting than the blurb makes it sound, because that only covers the beginning of the story. The confusions and messes of ordinary life are all laid bare, but with understanding. Reminded me slightly of the tim, An Education, although that protagonist avoided early pregnancy skewing her life’s direction.

April

  1. The Dynamite Room – Jason Hewitt. Not your average first novel and for my money, better than Nathan Filer’s The Shock of the Fall (both authors are alumni of the Bath MA in Creative Writing),The opening is eery and gripping, nicely setting the sense of isolation that pervades throughout. This is a different take on WWII, with a mystery at its hear that gradually unfolds and is more surprising in its ‘why?’ than it’s ‘how?’. It’s a poignant reminder of how war changes individuals, and how desperately they may want to get away from what they’ve become. I don’t know if the echo of The Return of Martin Guerre was intended, but that was a different war in a different time.
  2. Tis Pity She’s a Whore – John Ford. Not the lightest holiday reading but prep before seeing the play. I liked it but I still found the characters easy fall into incest unlikely. The performance helped, by casting Annabella as a heedless teenager (and by cutting the dodgy sub-plots). As with Joss Whedon’s Much Ado about Nothing where everyone is drunk and it all makes a lot more sense, Annabella as teenager thinking only of the moment and then unable to find her way out of trouble except by presumably hoping that ‘something will turn up’, both made sense of her actions and underlined the tragedy.
  3. The Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini – Benvenuto Cellini. This was the fun holiday read, the first autobiography to be more than a dry list of deeds. I’m sure no more accurate than contemporary autobiographies but Cellini recounts his training, travels, commissions, work and travails with gusto. He’s always the maestro, and he’s always right, making him a hard artist for any prince or king to put up with.
  4. All the Birds, Singing – Evie Wyld. The first delivery from my Blackwell’s curated TBR list! I liked the structure of this, shifting back and forth in time and unwinding back to the even that started Jake on her path to the current isolated island and a few sheep to farm. It’s brutal in places, plain prose leaving the reader nowhere to hide, and Jake both tough and vulnerably paranoid. Lloyd, a figure with his own burden that is too heavy for him to carry, staggers into her life accidentally but ultimately fortuitously.
  5. The Last, Unfinished Voyage of John Aubrey – Patrick O’Brian. I didn’t read the manuscript part but I’m content leaving Jack and Stephen looking forward to further travels and their families. All good things must come to an end.
  6. Wildwood: A Journey through Trees – Roger Deakin. Part diary, nature, social history and folklore, ecology notes, travel writing. Deakin has a great way with metaphor, and with piling up his nouns in some of the pieces. I was flicking to the internet for visuals to match the descriptions of Paul Nash’s works, and noting fellow authors to follow up on.
  7. Sandman 1: Nocturnes and Preludes – Neil Gaiman. I don’t have a  great track record of making it through comic books, but Sandman just seems like something I ought to read. So I gave it a go. The usual problems were there, but mitigated a bit, so I could follow the text and I didn’t pay much attention to the artwork. I liked the quick change of genres throughout, but by the end I felt I’d snacked rather than consumed a meal. Still, I’m interested enough in Morpheus, and particularly in Death, to read more over time.
  8. The Human Comedy: Selected Stories – Honore de Balzac. From which so far I have read ‘Facino Cane’, ‘A Passion in the Desert’ and ‘Sarrasine’. This will be one to dip in and out of, but of course a great reminder that I ought to read more Balzac.
  9. What I Loved – Siri Hustvedt. Which I loved, and am so pleased to have found a new author.

May

  1. The Wild Places – Robert MacFarlane. Serendipitous reading, as it’s dedicated to Deakin and he crops up as one of MacFarlane’s friends. There’s a chapter investigating holloways too, and I’m interested in those ever since reading Rogue Male (which also gets a mention). I do feel that MacFarlane has a bit of a tendency to   make assumptions about how ‘we’ all feel, and he can be a bit over-written for my taste, so sometimes I thought he was finding his way via the writing. I am also comforted by his conclusion, though: that the wild, harsh landscapes have a daunting and frightening implacability about them and that, when human life disappears from the earth, the wild will take over again.
  2. The Beautiful Indifference – Sarah Hall. (The Blackwell’s Curated Reading List #2) I had womanfully resisted what was, after all, a very slight paperback, but I really wanted to read these stories. So I was delighted when it turned up in this month’s surprise package. The stories were terrific, all very different settings and voices in such sharp, sparse writing. I felt that the namelessness of places and often the women too, lent a dreamlike quality and I kept reaching for a pen to note some of the language: the ‘wet crackle’ of champagne, the ‘benthic silence’ of a lake.  Now I’m very keen to try one of her novels.
  3. The Secret Hangman – Peter Lovesey. A lazy afternoon re-read, which I pretty much romped through.
  4. The Outcast Blade – Jon Courtenay Grimwood. vol 2 of the Assassini. Starting to feel as though the story is coming together a bit more. Also, liking that some formerly powerful characters are dead.
  5. They Were Counted – Miklos Banffy.
  6. The Hive – Gill Hornby.
  7. Death on the Cherwell – Mavis Doriel Hay. A nice, classic murder set in Oxford.
  8. The Exiled Blade – Jon Courtenay Grimwood. vol 3 of the Assassini, which wrapped things up neatly, if a bit abruptly.
  9. The Bone Season – Shannon Stone. Interesting concept and totally fine, but really, I think I am done with the feisty, outsider heroines who have special skills and battle against the odds and for whom the regular narrative realities break down so that they don’t die way too early in the franchise. I mean, series.
  10. Sixty-One Nails – Mike Shevdon. Perfectly competent trashy fantasy lit, in an ‘Ooh, I’ve read Neverwhere, I can totes riff on that’ kind of way. Main stumbling block for me is that the hero is a twit and there is absolutely no reason that Blackbird would be interested in him at all. Vol 1 in I don’t know how many and it doesn’t matter because I have no need to read further.
  11. The Unknown Ajax – Georgette Heyer. Well, I needed something to read while I was figuring out what to read.
  12. The Long Dark Night – Peter Lovesey. Found three Loveseys for a fiver. Bought them. I never know what’s going on in a Peter Diamond mystery. Good, now I know where Julie went.
  13. Natural Causes – James Oswald (audio). Which I liked, except for the supernatural element which I thought was going to be explained away as not being supernatural and then wasn’t. Which provoked my ‘No, really?’ response to the ending, because it seems a cop out.
  14. The Vault – Peter Lovesey. Good, now I know how Ingeborg ended up on the force.
  15. The Tooth Tattoo – Peter Lovesey.

June

  1. Fevre Dream – Georg R R Martin. GRR does vampires.
  2. The Deaths – Mark Lawson. How the other half lives (in a shitload of debt and precariously), this was like the dirtier, nastier version of The Hive. Lawson neatly skewers any number of pretensions. In one lovely little scene, a character does a victory dance of schadenfreude, because their delivery of ridiculously over-priced coffee for their ‘CappucinGo’ machine includes some of the limited edition special, whereas a neighbor missed out. Middle class problems laid bare.
  3. When We Were Orphans – Kazuo Ishiguro. Which I liked more for the writing than the story. I wasn’t sure how seriously I was supposed to take Christopher’s obsession with finding his parents, it was like a grown up version of the fascination he and Akira had with the servant’s room. They concocted an unbelievable story that each half-believed in, enough to continue convincing the other. The characters around Christopher seemed complicit in encouraging him to investigate the obviously ridiculous theory about his parents’ disappearance. The truth, when finally discovered, was as prosaic as a room simply containing an old servant’s belongings.
  4. The Man in the Queue – Josephine Tey.
  5. Don’t Point that Thing at Me – Kyril Bonfiglio. I am grateful for any book that gives me the expression ‘a traffic warden’s catamite’ and the word ‘ecdysiast’. Art theft, thuggery, bluffing, double bluffing, secret services and insults to his bespoke tailoring. It’s a wonder Charlie Mortdecai survives it all.
  6. An Education – Lynn Barber. What fun times Lynn Barber has had. I enjoyed the film An Education, and on reading the memoir remain equally baffled as to what her parents were thinking.
  7. Olive Kitteridge – Elizabeth Strout. I actually meant to buy Amy & Isabelle, but came out with this by mistake. All I vaguely knew was that Olive was a horrible character, which, although there are examples of her compassion and understanding, on balance I think she was. But I like episodic novels and I liked the snapshot views of the other characters in town, and the way that Olive and Henry’s story was interweaved.
  8. & Sons – David Gilbert.
  9. The Silkworm – Robert Galbraith. I liked The Cuckoo’s Calling, and I liked this too. I think Rowling writes a good detective story and I’ll be happy to see more of Cormoran Strike.

July

  1. Kai Lung’s Golden Hours – Ernest Bramah. Whenever people have asked what I’m reading and I say this, they give me blank looks. But it’s such a treat, such delicious, sly humor that is all about the language.
  2. The Years – Virginia Woolf. Which I bought while visiting Charleston, as I’d been put under the Bloomsbury spell again. I wasn’t optimistic because I struggle with Woolf, but actually, I finished it, and actually, mostly I enjoyed it. And when I wasn’t enjoying it, I still admired the writing.
  3. Middlemarch – George Eliot. The first Eliot that I remember and it was great, so now I shall embark on my Eliot. I moved from hating Dorothea to feeling very sorry for her. Nicely done, George!
  4. Do No Harm – Henry Marsh. Non-fiction sent me by Euan as a wild card for this month’s Blackwells delivery. Marsh was a brain surgeon so this is a collection of his cases. It’s good but rather bleak, so I’m interspersing it with cheerier stuff.
  5. Hens Dancing – Raffaella Barker. Picked up because I was attracted by the title and the cover, turned out to be superior chicklit that made me giggle around. I read it mostly sitting in London sunshine, sipping white wine and feeling like summer.
  6. The Faerie Queen – Edmund Spenser. So, I have committed to reading this at the rate of one canto a day, and I’m already four cantos behind. It’s been a busy week. The good thing is that I am hooked, and so it’ll be no chore to catch up today. If only the damn thing weren’t so huge, I’d carry it around with me for lunchtime reading.

August

  1. Speak, Memory – Vladimir Nabokov. I started underlining the good bits and great words, and then gave up because I’d have underlined the whole thing. Must now read more Nabokov and probably re-read Lolita again.
  2.  Augustus – John Williams. Well, this was brilliant, for me better than Stoner. I was gripped from the opening pages and I loved the multiple perspectives, so that it wasn’t a straightforward and chronological narrative. Also, great to be reminded of names I haven’t thought of in years – Tibullus, Propertius, Maecenas. So, I bought some Livy and I will have to read Virgil’s Eclogues.
  3. A High Wind in Jamaica – Richard Hughes. Not as disturbing as Lord of the Flies, until the completely chilling bit at the end. In essence, children captured by ‘pirates’. Which group is the most morally deficient?
  4. French Decadent Tales, trans. Stephen Romer. Oh those French and their decadence. This was a good mix of the mad (man falls in love with hair. Yes. Hair.), spooky, the odd and the people getting their deserved comeuppance. I particularly liked ‘The Bath’ by Octave Mirbeau. Chap decides he needs a wife because he’s basically too lazy to get his arse out of an armchair in the evening and she would be able to bring him things and look pretty. Carefully chosen wife watches him drown in an over-heated bath. You go, girl!
  5. Switch: How to change things when change is hard – Chip and Dan Heath. Ok, I’m reading a business book by someone called ‘Chip’ and it says New York Times No 1 Bestseller on the front. I know, I know. It talks about the elephant, the rider and the path. It’s a short step from here to Chicken Soup for Those Who Broke a Nail. But, this was recommended by a friend of mine who is not a whack job so I will give it a fair hearing. I will.
  6. Day of the Triffids – John Wyndham. I find The Midwich Cuckoos far more unsettling, but this was good stuff, of course, throwing up some interesting questions.
  7. Big Little Lies – Liane Moriarty (audio). I’m forcing myself to take a break between Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies on audiobook, to break my guilty lit crush on fictional Thomas Cromwell (I know, morally v dodgy etc). So, I’m liking this much more than What Alice Forgot, I think mostly because Madeline is a great character and Alice was bloody annoying. Also, of course, there’s a murder to be revealed and that’s much more interesting than finding out if someone gets their memory back.
  8. Bring up the Bodies – Hilary Mantel (audio). After my brief back, I was straight back in there with Thomas Cromwell. I actually didn’t love this narrator as much as the one for Wolf Hall, but I still raced through the audiobook.
  9. Waterlog – Roger Deakin. Very much like Wildwood, except about water.

September

  1. The Secret Place – Tana French (audio). I’m a fan of Tana French and this didn’t let me down. I liked the structure of the alternate chapters from past and present weaving the narrative together, and that familiar theme of a special relationship breaking down. I just about remember the powerfully enclosed relationships girls can have, how impossible it seems that anything can break them. Good to see more of Frank Mackie as well, I hope he’ll be back in future novels.
  2. The Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins.
  3. Daughter – Jane Shemil. So, ok but I’m still not sure that the narrative structure was necessary to add to the tension. Particularly as it was clear from the outset that the missing daughter wasn’t dead, because if she had been then there’s no way a narrator couldn’t mention it without being unbelievable. But, I did like the way the cosy, family life just unravelled when under investigation.
  4. My Brother Michael – Mary Stewart. This so did not stand the test of time. More of a love story than a detective story, but not much of either.
  5. Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell. Fab, loved all the stories and twists and interweavings.
  6. Fangirl – Rainbow Rowell. Meh. A version of Penelope for a slightly younger audience.
  7. The Weissmans of Westport. Sort of a reworking of Sense & Sensibility but not totally faithful, which made it more interesting.
  8. The Invisible Ones – Stef Penney. This was disappointing, because I loved The Tenderness of Wolves so much. I felt that the poisoning was pointless and didn’t really go anywhere, and the surprise wasn’t much of one, in the end. Too many clues all the way through.
  9. The Hypnotist’s Love Story – Liane Moriarty (audio). I have accidentally become a Moriarty fan. I like this, particularly because there seemed a real chance that it might not work out, only partly because of Saskia.
  10. The Professional – Robert B. Parker.
  11. The Cutting Season – Attica Locke. I finished it, but I didn’t really get into it because of the boneheadedness of the main character. Yes, the police were being idiots and didn’t trust her, but that’s because she kept not telling them information that was vital to the investigation apparently so she could sort the whole thing out herself, in order for a dramatic but surprisingly tension free denouement. Pfft.
  12. Shotgun Lovesongs – Nicholas Butler. Fabulous, I want to move to that town and hang out with Lee, Hank and Beth.
  13. The Amber Fury – Natalie Haynes. This was a bit disappointing, after all the reviews, and seemed somehow too unlikely and too much of a set piece. I think also, I’m just about out of patience with multi-part narratives and non-linear chronologies and diary extracts and it’s all starting to feel a bit gimmicky. Could someone just write a straightforward novel?
  14. The Bone Clocks – David Mitchell. I liked the first half, and particularly Holly Sykes. But the Crispin Hershey chapter almost made me lose the will to live, and the whole battle between the good eternals and the bad eternals was WTF, and the last chapter was depressing. Although probably also predictive. So, on balance, disappointing.

October

  1. The Miniaturist – Jessie Burton. What? No. Well reviewed all over the place, I thought it was kind of a mess.
  2. The Dogs of Littlefield – Suzanne Berne.
  3. The One Plus One – Jojo Moyes (audio). Absolutely fine, should have read it rather than listening to it because it didn’t need that much time devoting to it. A book for a rainy afternoon when you want a bit of troubled romance en route to happily ever after.
  4. A Breach of Security – Susan Hill. A Simon Serrailler short, filling a gap while I either wait for the latest in pb or get it on audio.
  5. Choral Mediations in Greek Tragedy – Gagne and Hopma (eds). Dipping a toe back in the bracing waters of academic writing, and I could feel lazy brain muscles being stretched. On balance, I think I disagree with Bierl’s confusion in his chapter on the maenadic chorus in Bacchae. But Laura Swift on the chorus in Medea and Ion gave me a lot to think about; and now I must re-read Ion.
  6. The Soul of Discretion – Susan Hill (audio). This went into extra bleak territory of both child abuse and rape, and in places it made for some tough listening. But it was good, if haunting and I suddenly realized I had no confidence about how the ending would work out, so that made it really tense. This is such a consistently strong series.
  7. The Mystery of Mrs Blencarrow – Mrs Oliphant. Of the two novellas in this slim volume, I preferred the second, Eleanor and Rose. I knew what was happening in both the stories but the how it unfolded worked.
  8. Aphrodite’s Workshop for Reluctant Lovers – Marika Gobbold. Trash read, and not a patch on Marie Philips when it comes to introducing Greek gods into contemporary life. It was a perfectly acceptable way to spend an afternoon, and I can’t really add more than that because I don’t remember anything much about it.

November

  1. The Flame Trees of Thika – Elspeth Huxley. Yes, fine, I bought this partly because it’s a glorious orange cloth-covered hardback from Slightly Foxed. One of those books you eventually get around to reading because you’re surprised you haven’t already.
  2. Her – Harriet Lane (audio). My problem with this was that while Nina was a horrible nutter, Emma was such a total drip that I didn’t have a lot of sympathy for her. The story was told from both perspectives, which led to a lot of repetition; and it didn’t get going until about the last 10 minutes. And then the ending was ambiguous.
  3. Vince & Joy – Lisa Jewell. Emergency re-read.
  4. 30 Nothing – Lisa Jewell (audio).
  5. A Wreath of Roses – Elizabeth Taylor. I really thought I hadn’t read this but then it seemed vaguely familiar all the way through. Beautifully written as ever from Taylor, but massively depressing.
  6. I Let You Go – Clare Mackintosh. Small print: Clare is a friend of my sister’s. I’ve met her once and we occasionally tweet each other. This is Clare’s debut novel and of course I had to support her and buy the book. The set up is straightforward: 5 year old boy killed in hit and run, in which the driver doesn’t stop. Or is it straightforward? Of course, there’s more than meets the eye and I really didn’t see the twist coming. I started reading this on the train, was annoyed when I had to put it down for the evening, picked it up as soon as I could and went to sleep thinking ‘But it couldn’t be her… so is it him?… or wait, was it…?’ Then I got up in the morning and polished off the rest. I had some quibbles, and I didn’t quite buy the Ray & Mags relationship, which seemed a bit sketched in.  But the book kept me reading, and provided a satisfactorily tense ending. I’d buy more.
  7. Foxglove Summer – Ben Aaronovitch. Skipped happily through this one Saturday morning, nice to see Peter finally getting it together with Bev, and to see an answer to the question, ‘What have the Romans done for us?’ Kept the fae at bay with their nice straight roads, that’s what. This was fine but it felt like an interlude, and it didn’t seem to do much to move the main story arc along. Either the next book will prove this one was crucial, or the cynical might think the publishers are eking out the series for the dosh.
  8. Mystery in White – J. Jefferson Farjeon. Which I sort of thought I might keep for my Christmas read, but it became my Sunday afternoon read instead. Assorted group of travelers on a train heading to their various places for Christmas get stuck in a snowstorm. They leave the train to try to get to a branch station, but only make it as far as welcoming, but mysterious house. Why are the fires lit and tea ready but no one there? And who left the bread knife on the kitchen floor? The mysteries and atmosphere pile up with the snow.
  9. Long Way Home – Eva Dolan. I’ve wanted to read this since I saw Eva Dolan at Stories Aloud, so was glad I finally found the pb. It’s a good crime novel, very well constructed and without the maverick, loner cop at the heart of it. It’s also a window into a sub-culture that doesn’t get a lot of attention, that of the immigrant workers suffering misery at the hands of those willing to exploit their vulnerability. Dolan writes with assurance and fluidity, and I’m interested to see where Zigic and Ferreira go next.
  10. Grass Green – Raffaella Barker.
  11. Balancing Act – Joanna Trollope. This felt a bit lightweight to me, I think because the device of the long lost father turning up felt contrived. It seemed that the family set up could have imploded without him saying things like ‘Maybe I’m just what you all need’. I found I couldn’t tell the daughters and their husbands apart and there wasn’t space to go into their lives enough to make them interesting.
  12. Venetia – Georgette Heyer (audio). Newly available on audio and Damerel is my favourite rakish hero, so I couldn’t resist.
  13. Sugar Hall – Tiffany Murray. Proper creepy stuff.
  14. The Sleeper and the Spindle – Neil Gaiman, ill. Chris Riddell. Great re-telling of both Snow white and the Seven Dwarves and Sleeping Beauty, and beautifully illustrated. The book is a lovely object.

December

  1. Count the Stars – Helen Dunmore. I thought this started really well and then went nowhere and it didn’t add anything to what is known of Catullus’ relationship with Lesbia from his poetry. He loved her, he hated her, she was bewitching, she was a bitch.
  2. Northanger Abbey – Val McDermid. I have recently had a conversation with Mr W in which we decry the fake Austen industry, and then I went and fell for this. I will say that I find Catherine Morland hard work anyway, but when she’s moved to modern day, her nitwittery becomes unforgivable.
  3. The House in Norham Gardens – Penelope Lively.
  4. Dragon’s Claw – Peter O’Donnell
  5. Eleanor & Park – Rainbow Rowell
  6. Sense & Sensibility – Joanna Trollope
  7. Arabella – Georgette Heyer (audio)
  8. Nos4R2 – Joe Hill. Abandoned c. 150pp in because it’s just not working for me.
  9. The Financial Lives of the Poets – Jess Waters. Abandoned about a third in because it’s not gripping me.

 

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