Its always hard to draw up a list of favourites, and for me particularly my favourite books. I find it ridiculously hard. I have just been trawling through my book reviews this year and listing those books that were contenders. I came up with a long list of 13. However hard I tried I was unable to whittle that down to 5, so without apology or shame, here are my 5 + 1 favourite reads of 2016
This list of 5 +1 is simply the books I have enjoyed the most. The books that have kept me reading late into the night or getting up extra early to read before work. The books which have left me feeling rung out, or raw, or changed, and the ones I’ve continued to think about long after I’ve finished reading them. They are in no particular order, although if pushed I would probably say Matt Haig’s incredible ‘Reasons to stay alive’ was my number 1….
A Place Called Winter by Patrick Gale
Patrick Gale is one of my favourite authors and A Place Called Winter which is a move away from his usual Cornwall based novels didn’t fail to disappoint. Based in the Canadian prairies, this has its origins in the real life story of Gale’s Great Grandfather. This is a brilliant and moving portrayal of a particular period in history. Full review here
Reasons To Stay Alive by Matt Haig
There is so much to learn from this brutally honest and startling portrayal of Matt Haig’s triumph over the mental illness that almost destroyed him; and how, despite all this he has learnt to live joyfully again. When I reviewed it earlier in the year I finished by urging everyone to read it. I would echo that sentiment again here. This book is too important and too good not to read. Full review here
The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante
This is the second of the books in the series of 4 Neapolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante. This novel begins with the same rawness and ferocity as the first one and I was immediately back in the harsh and unforgiving world inhabited by Lila and Elena and drawn into their troubled friendship and relationships. I finished it wanting more which is always a good sign. Full review here
The Bees by Laline Paull
This is a book which came to me by way of my book club and took me completely by surprise in how much I loved it. This is one of the most innovative and imaginative novels I have read in a very long time. I learnt so much about the life of bees whilst buying completely into the complexity of their lives told within this story. Both tender and exciting. Full review here
A Year of Marvellous Ways by Sarah Winman
Oh how I loved the poetic lyricism of this novel. This is a book to lose yourself in, be carried away with the tides of imagination and swept along with the whisper of the sea. Winman has created a world which is both mesmerising and beguiling, a place where magic really might happen. Full review here
The Green Road by Anne Enright
I finished my review of this novel earlier in the year by saying “I have a sneaking suspicion this will be in my top five books of the year”. This is a clever story of 2 halves which often made me sad and squirm and feel uncomfortable. It certainly wasn’t a feel good read, but as a reader I think you know when you are onto something truly good, and believe me when I say this was truly good. Full review here.
Which books have you loved in 2016?