Books 2016

January

  1. Early Warning – Jane Smiley.
  2. Slade House – David Mitchell. Better than Bone Clocks.
  3. The French Lieutenant’s Woman – John Fowles.
  4. The Loney – Andrew Michael Hurley.
  5. The Ministry of Fear – Graham Greene.
  6. The Children Act – Ian McEwan.
  7. Troubles – J. G. Farrell. I didn’t realize this was the first volume in the Empire trilogy. I read The Siege of Krishnapur (vol 2) years ago, and I can see the relationship between them, in tracking the ending of an era and the head in the sand blindness to reality of some of the representatives of Empire. Troubles has the same dark, deadpan humor I remember, without quite the same level of tragedy.
  8. Love All – Elizabeth Jane Howard. I think Picador are doing the author a disservice by blurbing her books as though they’re chicklit. I raced through this, which was a pleasingly complex and beautifully written discourse on love, family relationships and sacrifice.

February

  1. Tell No Tales – Eva Dolan. Bought this in pb, entirely forgetting that at some point last year I bought and read the hb. I must have lent it to someone. As soon as I started reading, I knew it was familiar, but a good set up to go into vol 3!
  2. Venetia – Georgette Heyer. Comfort reading.
  3. Devil’s Cub – Georgette Heyer. Ditto.
  4. Over Sea, under Stone – Susan Cooper. Ditto.
  5. After you Die – Eva Dolan. Third in the Zigic and Ferreira series and I think it’s my favourite so far. Good to see the Hate Crimes Unit dealing with something other than racially motivated attacks, and also to see them broadening their area of operations to a more rural spot.
  6. Post Captain – Patrick O’Brian. Took a day off and visited old ships at Portsmouth; I hadn’t read Aubrey/Maturin when I visited before, so I immediately headed back to the series. And once you’ve started, it’s hard to stop…
  7. HMS Surprise – Patrick O’Brian.

March

  1. The Mauritius Command – Patrick O’Brian.
  2. Disclaimer – Renee Knight. Ok, I didn’t so much read this as force my way through the first 57 pages and then give up in total despair. It is so, so bad.
  3. Curtain Call – Anthony Quinn.
  4. The Sword of Shannara – Terry Brooks. Because the way trailers work for me is: ‘Oh, I think that’s based on a book’. Watches trailer. ‘That looks good, I think I’ll read that.’
  5. American Gods – Neil Gaiman.
  6. Just Between Us – Um, don’t remember the author. Just bought it to read on the ‘plane and forgotten it already.
  7. The Lie Tree – Frances Hardinge. Wow, was this disappointing. I just never bought into it, and I always struggle with literature set in an historical period that then has characters who seem totally out of place.
  8. Front Lines – Michael Grant. Loved this counter-factual history that assumed women got to fight in WWII. Looking forward to the rest of the trilogy.
  9. The Long Life – Elizabeth Howard. Howard never disappoints and I particularly liked the structure of this, as each section went further back in time throughout the heroine’s life. It’s a painful story of a painful marriage, but lays bare the realities of women’s choice, and lack of choice, at the time.

April

  1. A Sort of Life – Graham Greene. My Blackwell’s book of the month, and a nice bit of biography. Very surprising to me that Greene wasn’t successful – I’d always assumed his place in the canon had been contempory with his writing career, but not at all.
  2. Ready Player One – Ernest Cline. Fun read about a dystopian future where everyone spends most of their time in the OASIS, a virtual paradise that’s an escape from everyday life. A teen hero has to track the clues to win ownership of OASIS after the creator’s death, and save it from the evil corporate that wants to take it over. Lots of 80s references and heavily gaming influenced but I’m interested to see what’s made of it in film.
  3. The Woman in Cabin 10 – Ruth Ware. This is the second novel from this author that I’ve read, and I’ve been lucky enough to score both in ARC copies. I thought this was better. It had the hallmarks of a classic whodunnit, set on a cruise ship with a limited cast of characters. Throw in a narrator who may or may not be unreliable and I stayed up until I’d finished it. I had my suspicions, but there was a suitable tense ending. I can see the film already…
  4. Catullus’ Bedspread: The Life of Rome’s Most Erotic Poet  – Daisy Dunn. The author was speaking as part of the Oxford Literary Festival, so I went along and was very pleased to dip a toe back into classical waters. I quite liked the book but I did feel that the author had let her theory run away with her, and some of the translations of the poems feel a bit clunky. Still, it was good to read more about Catullus as a person than I have before, and it was good to have a reminder of what exciting times he lived in. It may be time to revisit Syme.
  5. Dune – Frank Herbert. I first read this when I was in my mid teens and I’m interested to see if it stands the test of time. I was also shocked to find out how early it was written: 1968, predating not only Neuromancer, but Star Wars!
  6. Just One Damned Thing after Another – Jodi Taylor. Audiobook. I don’t even remember how I stumbled across this series, it might have been an Audible recommendation. As can be seen from the list below, I’m hooked.
  7. A Symphony of Echoes – Jodi Taylor. Audiobook.
  8. A Second Chance – Jodi Taylor. Audiobook.
  9. A Trail through Time – Jodi Taylor. Audiobook.
  10. No Time Like the Present – Jodi Taylor. Audiobook.
  11. The Woman Who Ran – Sam Baker.
  12. Golden Age – Jane Smiley.
  13. What Could Possibly Go Wrong?  – Jodi Taylor. Audiobook.
  14. Foundation – Isaac Asimov.

May

  1. Treasure Island – R.L. Stevenson.
  2. The Nether World – George Gissing.
  3. Lies, Damned Lies and History – Jodi Taylor. Audiobook.
  4. The Penguin Book of Short Stories – Philip Hensher (ed.). Dipping in and out of this.
  5. The Ocean at the End of the Lane – Neil Gaiman. Just like first time round, heartbreaking.
  6. The Hive – Gill Hornby
  7. Gods Behaving Badly – Marie Philips.
  8. London Falling – Paul Cornell.
  9. Greengates – RC Sheriff.
  10. The Janus Stone  – Elly Griffiths.
  11. Because of the Lockwoods – Dorothy Whipple.

June & July

  1. The Severed Streets – Paul Cornell.
  2. The House at Sea’s End – Elly Griffiths.
  3. Swan Song – Edmund Crispin.
  4. The Virgin in the Garden – AS Byatt.
  5. Still Life – AS Byatt.
  6. Lightning Rods – Helen Dewitt.
  7. The Woman Upstairs – Claire Messud.
  8. The Wolf Border – Sarah Hall.
  9. Uprooted – Nina Lyon.
  10. Inglorious -Joanna Kavenna.
  11. The Shepherd’s Crown –  Terry Pratchett.
  12. The Past – Tessa Hadley.
  13. Three Wishes – Liane Moriarty.
  14. Babel Tower – AS Byatt.
  15. I See You – Clare Mackintosh.
  16. The Camomile Lawn – Mary Wesley.
  17. The Whistling Woman – AS Byatt.

August

  1. Ragnarok – AS Byatt.
  2. A Field Guide to Getting Lost– Rebecca Solnit.
  3. Men Explain Things to Me – Rebecca Solnit. The title essay of which should be required reading for everyone. Because, seriously, is there a woman alive who has not experienced that?
  4. Even Dogs in the Wild – Ian Rankin.
  5. Magician – Raymond E Feist. I thought I’d just read the first one again. Nope.
  6. Silverthorn – Raymond E Feist.

September

  1. A Darkness at Sethanon – Raymond E Feist.
  2. The Good Liar – Nicholas Searle.
  3. Did You Ever Have a  Family? Bill Clegg.
  4. Labyrinth – Kate Mosse.
  5. Scruples – Judith Krantz. Because I had a sudden urge to re-read it and a friend found it for me for my birthday. Trashtastic.
  6. Hope in the Dark – Rebecca Solnit.
  7. The Magus – John Fowles.
  8. Sharpe’s Tiger – Bernard Cornwell.

October

  1. The Secret of Nightingale Wood – Lucy Strange.
  2. The Philosophy of Law: Very Short Introduction
  3. The Trespassers – Tana French.
  4. The Outrun – Amy Liptrott.
  5. The Girl with all the Gifts – M.R. Carey
  6. The Coffin Trail – Martin Edwards.
  7. The Grown Up – Gillian Flynn.
  8. A Kestrel for a Knave – Barry Hines.

November

  1. Born to Run – Bruce Springsteen.
  2. Down Cemetery Road – Mick Herron.
  3. Moskva – Jack Grimwood.
  4. The Hanging Tree – Ben Abraamovitch.
  5. The Blood Card – Elly Griffiths (audio).
  6. Missing, Presumed – Susie Steiner (audio).
  7. The Rule of Law – Tom Bingham.
  8. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – J.K. Rowling (audio).
  9. The Summer before the War – Helen Simmons (audio).
  10. Reaper Man – Terry Pratchett.

December

  1. Slow Horses – Mick Herron.
  2. Dead Lions – Mick Herron.
  3. Holding – Graham Norton (audio).
  4. Goodwood – Holly Thursday (audio).
  5. The Dark is Rising – Susan Cooper. Traditional Christmas read.
  6. Greenwitch – Susan Cooper.
  7. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – J.K. Rowling.
  8. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – J.K Rowling.
  9. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – J.K. Rowling.
  10. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – J.K. Rowling.
  11. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – J.K. Rowling.
  12. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – J.K. Rowling.
  13. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – J.K. Rowling.
  14. The Crystal Singer – Anne McCaffrey.
  15. Killashandra – Anne McCaffrey.
  16. Crystal Line – Anne McCaffrey.