There seemed to be an unintended theme running through my book choices, namely the two World Wars from a British perspective, ranging from Pat Barker’s superb Noonday (the last volume in her most recent trilogy) and Gerard Woodward’s black-humoured Nourishment, to the late Helen Dunmore’s Zennor in Darkness and the extraordinary Life After Life by Kate Atkinson.
I tackled several classics and universally treasured works, including Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Arthur Conan-Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, Robert Graves’ Good-bye to All That (back, yet again, to the First World War) and Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five (the bombing of Dresden from a US point of view, would you believe).
My favourite new releases were the bookish mystery novel Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew J. Sullivan, and The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris – a story of the Holocaust based on true events (although not strictly due for publication until January 2018).
I opted at the start of the year to read 40 books in Goodreads’ 2017 Reading Challenge – having managed a rather paltry 32 in 2016 – and surpassed the former by 35, which was quite an achievement for one whose perusal engine is snail-powered.
Here is a brief breakdown of noteworthy reads in 2017:
Bizarre Books – Russell Ash (not that funny) ⭐️
OUTSTANDING READS BY GENRE:
Autobiography/Memoir: The Outrun – Amy Liptrot ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Biography: Tove Jansson: Life, Art, Words: The Authorised Biography – Boel Westin ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Children’s Book: Hortense and the Shadow – Natalia O’Hara ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Historical Fiction: Burial Rites – Hannah Kent ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
History: If This Is a Woman: Inside Ravensbruck – Hitler’s Concentration Camp for Women – Sarah Helm ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
LGBT: The Paying Guests – Sarah Waters ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Literary Fiction: Cat’s Eye – Margaret Atwood ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Pleasant Surprise: Quarantine – Jim Crace ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Romance: Written on the Body – Jeanette Winterson ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Science Fiction: The Power – Naomi Alderman ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Short Story: The Metamorphosis – Franz Kafka ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Translation: The Vegetarian – Han Kang ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
May I take this opportunity to wish all my friends and followers a very happy New Year!