Its always a challenge to select my top reads of any given year. This year seems to have been especially difficult. I’ve read lots of books this year and so many of them have been so good its hard to decide between them.
Looking back over my reading year, I have read lots of female writers which isn’t unusual. I have read old favourites like Anne Tyler and Nancy Mitford. I have read some fantastic debut novels from authors such as Isabel Costello and Samantha Silva, both authors I can’t wait to read more of. I have discovered the unsettling world of Patricia Highsmith in her excellent crime writing and the much gentler and humorous world of Angela Thirkell. I have loved reacquainting myself with authors such as Margaret Foster, and Tessa Hadley whom I had neglected a little recently. Persephone (as ever) gave me great joy and I have been transported to warmer climates with Emylia Hall and Deborah Levy. The writing of Elizabeth Strout has been a revelation and I read my first ever PD James.
After much deliberation and consideration I have settled on these glorious 6 (because I could not narrow it down any further), as the books I have loved most this year. Each of them have spoken to me personally, made me laugh or cry or both and preoccupied my thoughts when they really shouldn’t.
Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day by Winifred Watson
Quintessential Persephone. I liked everything about this story of an extraordinary day in the life of Miss Pettigrew. It is brimming with Joy, affection and generosity.
Have the Men had Enough by Margaret Forster
This is a story about dementia and one womans demise into it. This is managed sensitively but without being overly sentimental. It raises questions about care provision, mortality and perhaps ultimately and selfishly, who will I care for and who will care for me?
The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon
A brilliant debut, set in a small community in the 1970’s, both of which I relate to. It was this which drew me in but it is Joanna’s compassion, humour and her ability to so beautifully capture the child’s voice and inner thoughts which kept me there.
The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce
The Music Shop will make your heart sing. I learnt about music reading this, and lost myself in the world of Frank and Ilse. A world Rachel Joyce has created with tenderness and clever observation.
Grief is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter
Oh my, this was quite something. There is little that could match the haunting beauty of this book about grief and loss. It is dazzling and surprising and remarkable. It stayed with me long after the last page was ingested.
The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan
I completely adored this debut novel by Ruth Hogan. It was recommended to me via twitter (always a great source of reading inspiration) and I devoured it in 24 hours. A heartwarming story of lost and found and mending broken hearts. Read more of my effusive praise for this novel in my review coming later this week
Reading continues to give me untold joy. I am known to set my alarm early so I can read before going to work, I continue to carry a book wherever I go and I readily gather collections of books which make me smile and fill me with excitement at the prospect of becoming lost in their pages.
Many of the books, I have read, although not all, have been reviewed on these pages. If you would like to discover more of my book reviews or are seeking reading inspiration, then do have a look at my Bookish Pages for more.
What are the books you have loved this year. Which authors have inspired you most?