Sunday, 25 December 2016

Books of 2016 (because the rest was too awful)

It's been a bad year; politically, socially, economically, environmentally, and pretty much all the other allys. The kind of year when you just want to crawl under a rock and hide. I have tried not to hide from it, to, at the very least, know a little about what has been happening around the world even though the sense of being unable to affect it can be overwhelming. To all my regular and random visitors, Happy Christmas and I hope wherever you are that life is treating you kindly.

I feel a little lacklustre about the reading I have done this year so I hope my annual review of books is going to remind me that it has not been a total dead loss. 

Night Waking by Sarah Moss
Lives like Loaded Guns by Lyndall Gordon
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler
Emma by Jane Austen
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Ausen and Seth Graeme Smith
H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald
Stag's Leap by Sharon Olds
The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
The Bluebird Cafe by Rebecca Smith
Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
Stone Mattress by Margaret Atwood
The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
How to be Both by Ali Smith
Grief is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter
Camila by Chingiz Atimatov
The Boy who Kicked Pigs by Tom Baker
My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
Letters of Note by Shaun Usher
Spill Simmer Falter Wither by Sara Baume
The Fault in our Stars by John Green
Elect Mr Robinson for a Better World by Donald Antrim
Boneland by Alan Garner
Orlando by Virginia Woolf
The Princess Bride by William Goldman
may we be forgiven by A.M. Holmes
The Illusion of Separateness by Simon van Booy
Alone in Berlin by Hans Falada
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
The Offering Grace McCleen
Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers
Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks
My Antonia by Willa Cather
A Place Called Winter by Patrick Gale
A Prayer for Owen Meaney by John Irving
This Book Will Save Your Life by A.M. Holmes
Without a Map by Meredith Hall
The People of Paper by Salvador Plascencia
The Boat by Nam Le
The Buried Giant Kazuo Ishiguro
Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn
The Sneetches and other stories by Dr Seuss
The Crow Road by Iain Banks
The Many by Wyl Menmuir
Tony Hogan bought me an ice-cream float by Kerry Hudson
The Motorcycle Diaries by Erneso Guevara
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
How to be Wild by Simon Barnes
The Lesser Bohemians by Eimear McBride
Maddaddam by Margaret Atwood
Building a Bridge to the Eighteenth Century by Neil Postman
Foxlowe by Eleanor Wasserberg
The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall
Children at the Gate by Lynn Reid Banks

54 books, which is about average for me, though sometimes reading has felt like wading through treacle and I have made myself finish a couple of books even when I wondered why I was bothering. Recommendations from the year: unexpectedly fascinating, Lives Like Loaded Guns, about Emily Dickinson and her legacy; for a totally absorbing story, A Prayer for Owen Meany; for lovely understated writing, Grief is the Thing with Feathers; to understand another's experience Yellow Birds. The best, best thing I have read this year however is Titus Groan by Mervyn Peake that Monkey and I have been reading aloud together. We are only about half way through, and she has been away a lot recently so little progress is being made but do watch out for a coming review of this, it is a classic and a book unlike anything else you will have read.

I have done little knitting, more crochet and quite a bit of sewing, though my Turkish coat project has been sorely neglected, finishing it may be my new year resolution. Dunk has a new job, which seems to be less depressing than the old one, as least he feels appreciated. All other things are pretty much the same. In case you are wondering the Christmas tree was inspired by this video, and what with having to buy a glue gun it cost as much as a real tree.


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