This is such a fantastic idea (courtesy of Cleopatra Loves Books ) I just had to have a go:
A book with more than 500 pages
OK, I’m on safe ground here because The Physician by Noah Gordon (Part 1 of the Cole Family trilogy) comes in at a whopping 720 pages. It was a 5 out of 5 read for me. Everything great historical fiction should be…fascinating period detail, an epic story peopled with imaginatively drawn characters that conjured up the sights and sounds of another time and other cultures. If only I can find the time to read the other two books…
A forgotten classic
The Dead Secret by Wilkie Collins, not so well-known as his other books The Moonstone and The Woman in White, and may be for good reason. The female characters were a bit too drippy for my liking.
A book that became a movie
The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John Le Carre, made into a terrific film starring Richard Burton as the world-weary Alec Leamas carrying out one last mission in East Berlin at the height of the Cold War.
A book published this year
So many to choose from but I’ll go for Dark Matter by Blake Crouch, a page-turner that’s mind boggling at times and impossible to summarise without giving everything away. It made me wonder, if I read it again, would it turn out differently?
A book written by someone under 30
Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo (born in 1988). I was lucky enough to read an advance review copy of this debut novel courtesy of NetGalley. I think we’ll be hearing more about this book when it’s published in March 2017 and about this author as well.
A book with non-human characters
Spaceman of Bohemia by Jaroslav Kalfar. This was another advance review copy courtesy of NetGalley. It’s not published until March 2017 so I won’t say too much about it except one of the characters is definitely non-human!
A funny book
The closest I can get is Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Book Store by Robin Sloan – not laugh out loud funny but it made me smile.
A book by a female author
One of my projects this year was to read more by Virginia Woolf (I’d only read Mrs Dalloway and Orlando before). I started with her first novel, The Voyage Out.
A book with a mystery
I’m going to give a shout out to a modern classic, The Blue Room by Georges Simenon. Better known for his Maigret stories, he also wrote some cracking psychological thrillers and this is one of the best. Taut, tense and stylish.
A book with a one word title
Another advance review copy courtesy of NetGalley, Charlotte. Laid out in an unusual format, it tells the tragic story of Charlotte Salomon, a gifted artist who met her end at the hands of the Nazis.
A book of short stories
I’m hoping I can get away with a set of essays – The London Scene: Six Essays on London Life by Virginia Woolf. As well as novels, Woolf was known for her journalism and these six essays appeared in Good Housekeeping magazine.
Free square – A book that’s a pastiche
Moriarty by Anthony Horowitz, the follow-up to his hugely successful (rightly, to my mind) recreation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories, The House of Silk. Horowitz is clearly an avid reader of the original Holmes stories as he include lots of details from Conan Doyle’s books and manages to capture his writing style perfectly.
A book set on a different continent
In A Place Called Winter by Patrick Gale, Harry Cane is forced to forsake the land and people he loves for a harsh new life as a homesteader on the newly colonized Canadian prairies. This was one of my 5 out of 5 reads this year, absolutely wonderful.
A book of non-fiction
This will have to be Virginia Woolf again – A Room of One’s Own – which has made me realise I need to read more non-fiction next year.
The first book by a favourite author
Call For the Dead is John Le Carre’s first novel, a terrific little whodunit that marks the first appearance of George Smiley.
A book you heard about online
Amongst the many books I first came across on NetGalley was The Fortunate Brother by Donna Morrissey, a combination of family drama and murder mystery. It will be published in the UK in April.
A best-selling book
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. I loved it and thought it really lived up to all the hype.
A book based on a true story
Mrs Hemingway by Naomi Wood is a fictionalised account of Ernest Hemingway’s tempestuous relationships with his four wives.
A book at the bottom of your to read pile
Restless by William Boyd was a book I had been meaning to get around to reading for ages since I’d read a lot of Boyd’s books in the past. It’s a gripping story as Ruth uncovers the true history of her mother’s wartime exploits.
A book your friend loves
The House of Trembling Leaves by Julian Lees. This was a recommendation from a friend on Goodreads. I’d had it on my Kindle for a few months since it came up on an Amazon daily deal. Unfortunately, I didn’t rate it as highly as the person who recommended it.
A book that scares you
I don’t read horror books but Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 is a chillingly prescient vision of a future where books are banned in case they give rise to independent thought. Plus the Mechanical Hound is well scary!
A book that is more than 10 years old
I only got around to reading Still Alice by Lisa Genova (published in 2005) this year and I wish I hadn’t waited so long. It was a 5 out of 5 read for me – moving and unsettling at the same time.
The second book in the series
The Pale House by Luke McCallin is the second book in his series featuring Gregor Reinhardt, one time German military intelligence officer now reassigned to the military police. Like the first book in the series, The Man from Berlin, it’s a detective story set in the midst of World War 2. The third in the series, The Ashes of Berlin, was published in December. I loved all three books.
A book with a blue cover
A Better World by Marcus Sakey, the second in his Brilliance trilogy. A nice undemanding, ideal for around the pool or on the beach.
This has been a great way to review some of the many books I’ve read this year. You can find a full list here: Reading List 2016