As we’re just past halfway through the year, I thought I’d take a quick look back at my favourites so far – all books getting 10/10 from me…
I’ll start at the top – my book of the year, so far, is one I’ve recently reviewed for issue two of Shiny New Books. Tigerman was the first novel I’ve read by the amazing Nick Harkaway. I loved this book, and I became a complete fangirl (if you can say that of a 54-year-old woman – Ed) when I met him at a recent event (see here). Tigerman is an eco-thriller about an post-empire island paradise and features superheroes and romance in a style Graham Greene would have been proud of. And, I’ve got Nick’s first two novels still to read – Yay!
Back in January, I experienced the beautiful prose of Patrick Hamilton for the first time when I read Hangover Square. This story of unrequited love in darkest Earls Court just before the war was simply stunning. Very dark though… See my review here.
I’d been put off reading Kate Atkinson by not liking her debut when I tried it many years ago. I’m so glad our book group chose Life after Life – for I loved it. It’s sheer cleverness won me over within pages and then I started to appreciate the writing. See my review here.
It’s back to Shiny New Books for two last favourites – well it is a book recommendations site after all:
Bedsit Disco Queen is Tracey Thorn’s autobiography of her life in the world of pop and it is such fun and so brilliantly written all the way through (unlike a certain other popstar’s memoir!). You don’t need to be a fan of Everything But the Girl, the band which formed the major part of her musical career, but after reading this you’ll want to be one.
And lastly, Into the Trees by Robert Williams. Everything that forests stand for, both good and bad, is used to great effect in this understated contemporary novel about the effects a forest has on a family living in it. It deserves a wider readership – see my review here.
So that’s my top five so far out of over sixty books read. It’ll be interesting to see if they’re still in my books of the year by the end of December. There’s some big names coming up for autumn – McEwan, Waters, Amis, and John Cleese’s memoir to mention just a few that I’ll be reading…
What has been your best read of the year so far? Do share …
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To explore any of these titles further on Amazon, click on the author name below:
Harkaway, Hamilton, Atinson, Thorn, Williams.
20 thoughts on “Books of the year … so far”
I loved Bedsit Disco Queen – definitely one of the best memoirs about pop music I’ve read.
Good pop memoirs are relatively few and far between aren’t they? They can descend into a list of gigs and the minutiae of recording which doesn’t make for the best reading. Thorn’s certainly bucks the trend – Yay!
Fascinating list! I still need to read more Hamilton, and also get on with the Tracey Thorn which I have lurking!
I’ve acquired the Slaves of Solitude and Twenty Thousand Streets Under the Sky now. Just need to find time to read them.
I think Slaves of Solitude is Hamilton’s best. Go for it!
I second that Harriet!
You might like Ben Watt’s memoir of his parents, Romany and Tom, Annabel. I really enjoyed it – must read Bedsit Disco Queen. My book of the year keeps changing but at the moment My Salinger Year is riding high.
I have Romany and Tom – much looking forward to it (love Ben Watt’s ‘Patient’ before too).
I also have My Salinger Year – everyone has loved that book! Have you seen the wonderful interview she’s done for Shiny yet? (here). I know I’ll love it too.
I’ve just read it, and it’s lovely!
Oh, the delight that awaits you with My Salinger Year!
Theodor Fontane’s Cécile, Antonya Nelson’s short story collection, Funny Once, During the Reign of the Queen of Sheba by Joan Chase, Hrabel’s Harlequin’s millions, The Impossible Exile by George Prochnik….
I’ve read the Hamilton book and the Atkinson and really liked them.
I’ve heard the Joan Chase is rather good, but don’t know any of the others – off to look them up. Cheers!
It wasn’t published this year but I’ve just read Jim Crace’s ‘Harvest’ and been completely blown away by it. However, it failed to win last year’s Booker is beyond me.
Wasn’t Harvest good! Very understated – gently devastating in a way, and totally underrated! I think it should have won the Booker too.
I loved Harvest as well! Terrifying story. And he sums up so much about life and community in such straightfoward elegant prose.
Mine would be: Matthew Quick’s The Good Luck of Right Now; The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert; Sebastian Barry’s The Temporary Gentleman; Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London series (thanks to you for that); and Hilary Mantel’s Every Day is Mothers Day and Vacant Possession. Oh yes, and Celia Fremlin (everything I’ve read of hers).
And I thought I was the only person who had not read Harkaway. I need to give him a try, I’m just not sure where to start, though from all reports any of his book are worth the read.
You are now! 🙂
Tigerman seems to be cropping up a lot recently. It doesn’t sound like a book I’d enjoy, but I might have to give it a try anyway! Into the Trees does sound like my sort of thing – I’ve added it to my wishlist 🙂
Tigerman, Life after Life and Into the Trees are all newer books I’ve had pegged to read and you’ve made me think I should put them higher up in my pile. So thank you. Patrick Hamilton is an author I’ve always wanted to read as well. And Bedsit Disco Queen sounds like really good fun!
It’s hard to pin down books I’ve been most impressed by this year so far but one would definitely be Siri Hustvedt’s The Blazing World.