This is a post by Cleo at Cleopatra Loves Books to which I always look forward. Like Cleo, I never pick books in order to fit the squares, I like to look back at all the books I’ve read in the year and try to match them with the categories. I’m happy to say, I’ve managed it again this year – how about you?
Click on the book title to read my review.
A Book With More Than 500 Pages – And the Birds Kept on Singing by Simon Bourke
Weighing in at 642 pages, I really enjoyed this coming-of-age story that is structured around two possible life journeys for a young Irish boy. In one, he is adopted and in the other, he remains with his birth mother.
A Forgotten Classic – The Executioner Weeps by Frederic Dard
First published in 1956, this was a timely publication in English of an emblematic work, a noir-ish thriller, by an extremely prolific author who deserves to be much better known outside his native France.
A Book That Became A Movie – Queen of Katwe by Tim Crothers
The heart-warming story of a young girl from the slums of Kampala who, thanks to an inspirational mentor, rises to be her country’s national chess champion. It was adapted into a terrific movie.
A Book Published This Year – These Dividing Walls by Fran Cooper
An impressive debut and one of my favourite books of the year, I really loved this novel set in an apartment building in Paris. It depicts a city where tensions over unemployment, immigration and change threaten to boil over in the sweltering heat of summer.
A Book With A Number In The Title – The Sixteen Trees of the Somme by Lars Mytting
A compelling, enthralling story line with wonderfully atmospheric settings and well-developed characters. A fantastic book, highly recommended.
A Book Written By Someone Under Thirty – Fires by Tom Ward
Part thriller, part social commentary with a distinctly dystopian feel, I was really impressed with this novel by a talented young writer.
A Book With Non-Human Characters – Dan Knew by F J Curlew
An engaging story told from the perspective of ‘wee Dan’, a Ukranian street dog, recounting his travels and adventures with the family who adopt him.
A Funny Book – Zenka by Alison Brodie
A thriller, a black comedy and a romance rolled into one, all liberally sprinkled with the author’s trademark humour.
A Book By A Female Author – Shelter by Sarah Franklin
Fabulous historical fiction novel set in the Forest of Dean in World War 2. Another one of my favourite reads of the year.
A Book With A Mystery – Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
The new film adaptation provided lots of people with a reason to read this one – still incredibly clever and stylish.
A Book With A One-Word Title – Exquisite by Sarah Stovell
A psychological thriller about the obsessive relationship between two writers that kept me guessing right up to the last page.
A Book Of Short Stories – Dance of the Happy Shades by Alice Munro
Read as part of the 1968 Club, this is Alice Munro’s first published collection of short stories proving that her laser-like observation, dry humour and mastery of the form was evident from the beginning.
Free Square: A Book For The Festive Season – Mr Dickens and His Carol by Samantha Silva
If, like me, you love A Christmas Carol, this wonderful book will give you that same warm feeling as Charles Dickens struggles to meet his publisher’s deadline to craft the Christmas story so familiar to us today.
A Book Set On A Different Continent – Wake Me When I’m Gone by Odafe Atogun
For some reason, I find myself drawn to the work of Nigerian authors. I really enjoyed this story of a woman fighting against the patriarchal system and outdated traditions of her village. It had a fairytale quality about its simple language.
A Book Of Non-Fiction – Cuz by Danielle Allen
Part memoir of her cousin and the events leading up to his death, part devastating analysis of the shortcomings of the US justice and penal systems.
The First Book By A Favourite Author – If The Creek Don’t Rise by Leah Weiss
I’ve had to cheat a little for this one because although this is the author’s first book it’s also her only book to date. However, on the strength of this outstanding debut she is firmly in my favourite author category and I hope there’s more to come from her.
A Book You Heard About Online – Broken Branches by M. Jonathan Lee
Thanks to the fabulous publicity campaign by new publishers, Hideaway Fall, this was a book that many of us found about online. It didn’t disappoint either.
A Best-Selling Book – Birdcage Walk by Helen Dunmore
This was the first book I’d read by this author and sadly it was to be Helen Dunmore’s last book as she sadly died earlier this year. It made me want to go back and read her previous novels.
A Book Based On A True Story – Miss Boston and Miss Hargreaves by Rachel Malik
One of my favourite books I read all year. Inspired by the author’s own family history, this is a lovely story with two wonderful characters whom we meet at the start of World War 2.
A Book At The Bottom Of Your To Be Read Pile – Take Courage: Anne Bronte and the Art of Life by Samantha Ellis
A very personal championing of Anne in a quest to bring her out of the shadow of her sisters. Fascinating and full of interesting detail.
A Book Your Friend Loves – Days Without End with Sebastian Barry
Quite a lot of my blogger pals loved this book, as did I and as did the judges of The Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction.
A Book That Scares You – The Ice by Laline Paull
Although some of the events in this eco-thriller were pretty scary, it was the picture of the effects of global warming and climate change in the near future setting that was really scary!
A Book That Is More Than 10 Years Old – The Yellow Wallpaper by Chalotte Perkins Gilman
This was a book on my Classics Club list – an unsettling study of psychological manipulation and mental instability.
The Second Book In A Series – Ares Road by James L Weaver
I loved the first book in the series, Poor Boy Road, and enjoyed this second one just as much. I’m now looking forward to the third in the series, Blackbird Road, early in the New Year plus excited at the news the author is working on a fourth book at the moment.
A Book With A Blue Cover – Maria in the Moon by Louise Beech
The beautiful blue cover of this book was matched only by the compelling story it contained.