So as June comes to an end, the Summer Solstice is upon us meaning, finally, we are heading to winter, I am taking the chance to review the books I’ve read this year and select my favourites. I know I’ve definitely hated some, some I’ve reviewed (The Devils Dice and The History of Bees jump out to me) and some I didn’t even bother to review, (When I Hit You, Sing Unburied Sing). But let’s not worry about what wasn’t! I thought I would do a top 5 post but then I couldn’t just choose 5! Whilst my number 1 is without doubt, after that I feel like I have read a lot of really good books.
So, drumroll, let me present my top ten, sorry 11, books for January – June of 2018 … in no particular order (apart from 1!!!)
- Circe by Madeline Miller is my favourite book this year. I really loved the way it was written, the words were beautiful and for a girl (i.e. me) who knows nothing about Greek Myths, I found the subject matter well presented and really interesting. It inspired me to look into them a bit more to be honest. This is a book I would have no hesitation recommending to everyone!
- Home Fire by Kamilla Shamsie was the only book on the Womens Prize for Fiction shortlist that I just loved. The story is also based on a greek myth but presented in a modern story about British Muslims. Another book that I would have no hesitation in recommending to everyone. Really engaging and easy to read.
- On Beauty by Zadie Smith is one of those books for me, I really really loved it. I am so glad that my Bookshop Challenge 2018 brought me Zadie. She is an author I had missed and I am enjoying reading through her books but I genuinely think this will be my favourite of hers. I like Zadie’s style of writing but I’ve realised it isn’t for everyone. I got a letter from my friend in Norway who told me that she loved On Beauty too and I realised that this is why we’re friends!
- Never Let Me Go by Kazoo Ishiguro was recommended by book tuber Jen Campbell as one of those books that will stay with you. And she was so right. This book is amazing, definitely a book that everyone should read to make sure that you touch base with what humanity is. I have to say I spent the first half of the book saying I didn’t know what was going on but I still enjoyed reading it!
- Thin Air by Michelle Paver is a great ghost story set on a mountain. I read it and I was scared. I love stories about the old adventurers like Ernest Shackleton and Edmund Hilary and this story was so reminiscent of them that it just was a really great read for me. Loved it!
- See What I have Done by Sarah Schmidt – this was quite different to read and I really liked the style of it. Based on the Lizzie Borden murders in Massachusetts it was a bit true crime but a lot fiction and I really enjoyed the journey. I loved the authors note at the end where she described how she found Lizzie and how Lizzie never left! I tweeted the author to see if she was free of her now the book was written and she said she was!
- The Electricity of Every Living Thing by Katherine May is a book about walking the South West Coastal Path, a journey the author undertook to complete before she was 40. Added in with this super account of mud and hills is a smattering of her personal journey to an autism diagnosis. A book that every woman dealing with a late life ASD diagnosis would benefit from reading.
- The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford – Just a story about life set before and through WWII, a touching poignant story about friendship and love. Really lovely and highly recommended. So glad I found this.
- The Diary of a Bookseller is such an important book to me. It is the book that inspired me to touch base with books again, to blog about them, to visit bookshops, to be here. This book is funny and touching in its own way but for me totally inspiring!
- The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie – I couldn’t finish the list without featuring an Agatha story. I’ve spent years having only read The ABC Murders, not enjoying it and therefore not really understanding the hype. This year I totally found Agatha. I totally love her. Suddenly the curtains are drawn back and thank goodness for that!!!!
- and finally I couldn’t leave The Hound of the Baskerville off the list. Perhaps the most perfect piece of crime fiction ever! Genuinely! Well paced, good plot. Writing to aspire to…
Honestly I could just keep going, there are so many other books I’ve enjoyed reading this year, and I’ve read so many. But I think that these books are the ones I would want to say to you – go and read them. Devour them! I did. I love that this year I have “discovered” Zadie Smith and Agatha Christie, this year I read Circe which will be one of my favourite books of all time and this year I found my love of reading again, passionately.