2016 Reading List

Last year seems rather a long time ago now, and given that it’s February, I suppose in a sense it is. I say “in a sense” because seven weeks in isn’t exactly quick off the mark for my first post of the year, but then again it’s all relative, and the last 30 years fall into the same “past” as my most recent sojourn. I was overseas from Christmas Day until February 9th, and managed to fit rather a lot in, with surprisingly little reading, and evidently even less writing. In due course I’m sure my adventures will make appearances in other posts, but for now you may have my annual book tally to scroll through.

And I think it’s a pretty impressive tally, if I do say so myself. My goal was 100: I was on track after six months, a little behind at nine, and made it comfortably in the end.

My pick of the year goes to We are all Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler, and I knew within pages that this book and I would be friends. This was also one of the rare occasions I loved a book and felt confident my mother would too, so I forced it on her. And I was right; she did.

Honourable mentions go to The Mountain Shadow (Gregory David Roberts), A God in Ruins (Kate Atkinson) and A Little Life (Hanya Yanagihara.) Had I been on the judging panel for the Booker Prize, I would have awarded it to the latter rather than the verbose desert (that’s how dry I found it, and not the sarcastically comedic kind) A Brief History of Seven Killings (Marlon James.) Another decisive letdown was The Life of Elves by Muriel Barbery. I adore her first book, The Elegance of the Hedgehog, was disheartened by her second, Gourmet Rhapsody, and now fearfully suspect she’s a one-hit-wonder. I’ll probably read anything she puts her name to in the hope it’s even half as good as her debut, but my optimism will be cautious. As was my attitude towards The Return of the Young Prince (A. G. Roemmers), the sequel to The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery.) I worried that it would try, and fail, to be something it’s not, particularly as the original is such a formidable act to follow. The result was an absolutely charmless, trite and clichéd money-spinner that’s not worth the time to read and certainly not its RRP. At least I could console myself with the fact that I borrowed it from the library and wasted no money on my own copy.

I very much doubt I’ll read as many books this year as last, but am excited for some of the titles on my To Be Read list. Not to mention some upcoming publications; did you know Arundhati Roy has finally written another novel?? Get excited!! And please let me know if you’ve read any of the books on this list. It will give us something to talk about after you’ve tired of my travel anecdotes.

  1. The Amber Amulet – Craig Silvey
  2. The Inheritance of Loss – Kiran Desai
  3. Look Who’s Back – Timur Vermes
  4. List of my Desires – Gregoire Delacourt
  5. The Mountain Shadow – Gregory David Roberts
  6. A Brief History of Seven Killings – Marlon James
  7. Good Omens – Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman
  8. Rhubarb – Craig Silvey
  9. The Unauthorised Biography – Lemony Snicket
  10. Orphan #8 – Kim van Alkemade
  11. The Strange Library – Haruki Murakami
  12. The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde
  13. The Girl in the Mirror – Lumi Winterson
  14. No Country for Old Men – Cormac McCarthy
  15. After the Quake – Haruki Murakami
  16. The Mirror World of Melody Black – Gavin Extence
  17. The God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy (reread)
  18. The Life of Elves – Muriel Barbery
  19. The Unbearable Lightness of Scones – Alexander McCall Smith
  20. Before She Met Me – Julian Barnes
  21. Lunatic Soup: Inside the Madness of Maximum Security – Andrew Fraser
  22. The Austere Academy – Lemony Snicket
  23. A Strangeness in my Mind – Orhan Pamuk
  24. How to be a Woman – Caitlin Moran
  25. The Midnight Watch – David Dyer
  26. Chance Developments – Alexander McCall Smith
  27. The Soldier’s Curse – Meg & Tom Keneally
  28. Gotham – Nick Earls
  29. A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara
  30. Still Life with Woodpecker – Tom Robbins
  31. A Wrinkle in Time – Madeleine L’Engle
  32. Brooklyn – Colm Toibin
  33. Contest – Matthew Reilly
  34. The Merciless – Danielle Vega
  35. The Uncommon Reader – Alan Bennett
  36. The Surgeon of Crowthorne – Simon Winchester
  37. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows (reread)
  38. Small Acts of Disappearance: Essays on Hunger – Fiona Wright
  39. The Truth According to Us – Annie Barrows
  40. Down Under – Bill Bryson
  41. Go Set a Watchman – Harper Lee
  42. Elsewhere – Gabrielle Zevin
  43. Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces that Shape our Decisions – Dan Ariely
  44. The New Life – Orhan Pamuk
  45. My Brilliant Friend – Elena Ferrante
  46. Unbearable Lightness – Portia de Rossi
  47. Penguin Bloom – Cameron Bloom
  48. Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination – J. K. Rowling
  49. Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier
  50. Cloudstreet – Tim Winton
  51. The Ersatz Elevator – Lemony Snicket
  52. An Apple a Day – Emma Woolf
  53. The Music Lesson – Victor L. Wooten
  54. The Vegetarian – Han Kang
  55. Dubliners – James Joyce
  56. Wintergirls – Laurie Halse Anderson
  57. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – J. K. Rowling, Jack Thorne & John Tiffany
  58. The Wise Woman – Philippa Gregory
  59. The Mammoth Hunters – Jean M. Auel
  60. The Story of a New Name – Elena Ferrante
  61. Fragile Things – Neil Gaiman
  62. The Vile Village – Lemony Snicket
  63. Anne of Green Gables – L. M. Montgomery
  64. The Grownup – Gillian Flynn
  65. The Importance of Being Seven – Alexander McCall Smith
  66. Rope: A History of the Hanged – Amanda Howard
  67. Pieces of Sky – Trinity Doyle
  68. All the Light we Cannot See – Anthony Doerr
  69. A Man Called Ove – Fredrik Backman
  70. Nightmare in Berlin – Hans Fallada
  71. The Empathy Problem – Gavin Extence
  72. We are all Completely Beside Ourselves – Karen Joy Fowler
  73. Jasper Jones – Craig Silvey (reread)
  74. Goodwood – Holly Throsby
  75. The Laying on of Hands – Alan Bennett
  76. The Virgin Suicides – Jeffrey Eugenides
  77. Hear the Wind Sing – Haruki Murakami
  78. Pinball, 1973 – Haruki Murakami
  79. Three Cups of Tea – Greg Mortenson & David Oliver Relin
  80. Bridget Jones’s Baby: The Diaries – Helen Fielding
  81. The Rosie Project – Graeme Simsion
  82. Angel of Death Row: My Life as a Death Penalty Defense Lawyer – Andrea D. Lyon
  83. A Separate Peace – John Knowles
  84. The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo – Amy Schumer
  85. The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu – Joshua Hammer
  86. Tales from the Tower of London – Daniel Diehl & Mark P. Donnelly
  87. It’s Kind of a Funny Story – Ned Vizzini
  88. The Ocean at the End of the Lane – Neil Gaiman
  89. Public Library and other stories – Ali Smith
  90. The Return of the Young Prince – A. G. Roemmers
  91. This is How you Lose Her – Junot Diaz
  92. The Pause – John Larkin
  93. There But For The – Ali Smith
  94. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay – J. K. Rowling
  95. The Hostile Hospital – Lemony Snicket
  96. Hate List – Jennifer Brown
  97. The Spy – Paulo Coelho
  98. The Sellout – Paul Beatty
  99. Writers on Writing – edited by James Roberts, Barry Mitchell & Roger Zubrinich
  100. A God in Ruins – Kate Atkinson
  101. The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains – Neil Gaiman
  102. How to be Both – Ali Smith
  103. The Reader on the 6:27 – Jean-Paul Didierlaurent
  104. Literary London – Eloise Millar & Sam Jordison
  105. The Secret Library: A Book Lovers’ Journey Through Curiosities of History – Oliver Tearle
  106. The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao – Junot Diaz
  107. Mr. Palomar – Italo Calvino
  108. A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens