Let’s talk about books. It’s been a while since we’ve had a bookish conversation around here. In truth I fell out of reading at the end of last year. Life just got too busy, there was so much going on, commutes were spent catching up on emails and other life/work admin tasks, weekends and evenings were all about seeing people, doing house things or sprawled half asleep on the sofa. I just didn’t give myself time to chill out and relax. Silly, silly me.
I wanted to share a few of my favourite reads from last year. It’s something I like to do as the year ends, I look back at my Goodreads list from the year to see what’s been read what still stands out. I find that I often fall in love with a book and then forget about it later on. In 2015 I read 37 books and here are a few of my favourites.
The Boy Called Christmas, Matt Haig – This is the last book that I read in 2015, it was one I’d been hoping that Santa would bring me and he did – hooray! So when Boxing Day came I snuggled down and started reading, and I was in awe. This is a lovely story, exploring loss, magic and the belief that nothing is impossible. The stunning illustrations from Chris Gould help to make this the perfect page turner. I plan to read it each and every Christmas from now on.
Child 44, Tom Rob Smith – Russian history fascinates me, I studied it a little bit at school, but I haven’t read around the subject much more than that. Right now the only Russian history I learn is from fiction books or films – obviously not exactly the best way to learn history, but it is what it is. This has been on my ‘to read’ list for quite some time. So when the film was released in 2015 I finally bit the bullet and got reading. I was gripped from the first page and flew through this book. I’m eager to read book two and three in the same series. Hopefully I’ll get to them this year.
First Class Murder, Robin Stevens – The book that takes all my childhood dreams and puts them into a story. Travelling on the Orient Express. Boarding school that’s fun and includes cake. Playing detective. Check, check check. I whizzed through this book – possible because it’s meant for people younger than me – but hey who. I loved it, I tried to solve the murder, and only got it just before the end – which I guess is what you want. Although I was kicking myself for not working it out sooner. These stories always have brilliantly written characters to cheer for, to hate, to question or admire and I love them. Can’t wait for the next in the series.
Sister’s Fate, Jessica Spotswood – Sisters’ Fate is the final book in the Cahill Witch Chronicle series, a set of books about three sisters who are also witches. I was incredibly intrigued to see how this would end and I was pleasantly surprised. I think book three was the best book yet, and the story was perfectly written. There were bits of it that I hated, but I also understand that it needed to happen for the story. If you haven’t read this trilogy yet then I’d certainly recommend you give them a go.
The Rest of Us Just Live Here, Patrick Ness – Alongside A Monster Calls this is my favourite Ness book. This book explores the idea of what happens if you’re not the chosen one. There’s so many books focusing on the hero and fixing things, but to look at the side characters in the book is an incredibly interesting concept and this book looks at that in a wonderful way.
The Miniaturist, Jessie Burton – Honestly it took me a while to get into this book. By a while I mean the first third of the book. I just wasn’t interested, but then one thing happened and it changed what I was reading and my take on it and suddenly I was racing through to finish it and see what was going to happen. I do think the fact that I visited Amsterdam a couple of years ago helped me here, as it allowed me to envisage and imagine the streets of Amsterdam as they are described in the the story.
Not My Father’s Son, Alan Cumming – as mentioned earlier in the year this is an excellent autobiography and it’s definitely one of my top 10 books ever. Read it. Now.
George, Alex Gino – This is a book that I think should be read by everyone, everywhere. I was handed this by my sister who told me to read it immediately. So I did, of course. And I was blown away. There’s been a lot of talk and news around the transgender community and yes this book looks at these issues, but in reality it’s a book about a child who is working out who they are and navigating the unknown like all children do. The transgender element is almost an aside to everything else that this book has to offer.
What about you lovely readers? What have you been reading recently, any recommendations for me in 2016? Please share.