30 December, 2016

2016: My Year in Books

I don't get half as much time to read as I'd like to these days. I used to read four or five books a month (which I know is still paltry by some people's standards!). The last couple of years have been quite different. My aim this year was to read at least 16 books. And I did - just!

Listed below are the books I've got through in 2016 in the order from the one I enjoyed most to the one I enjoyed least. For each one I gave a mark out of ten for how much I enjoyed reading it. The quality of the writing obviously had a big effect on my enjoyment, but there will always be some stunning books I don't get on with, and some less-stunning ones I get hooked on - so it's definitely not a mark of how "good" they are! Have you read any of these? What did you think?

  1.  Never Let Me Go - Kazuo Ishiguro 10/10
  2.  The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger 10/10
  3.  The Moth - Various Authors 10/10
  4. I See You - Claire Mackintosh 10/10
  5. The Memory Keeper's Daughter - Kim Edwards 9/10
  6.  Before I Go to Sleep [audiobook] - S.J. Watson. 9/10
  7.  The Knife of Never Letting Go - Patrick Ness 9/10
  8.  We Have Always Lived in the Castle - Shirley Jackson 9/10
  9.  Going Out - Scarlett Thomas8/10
  10.  Middlesex - Jeffrey Eugenides 8/10
  11.  Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell 8/10
  12.  Sacred Treason - James Forrester 8/10
  13.  A Grandmother's Tale - RK Narayan 7/10 
  14.  Five Rivers Met on a Wooded Plain - Barney Norris 7/10
  15.  Stone Mattress - Margaret Atwood 7/10
  16.  The Buried Giant - Kazuo Ishiguro 6/10
  17.  The Way Back Home - Freya North 6/10

In addition to these I read a couple of non-fiction books, including a glorious collection of CS Lewis's essays. (Actually The Moth is a collection of real-life stories as told at live story-telling events in the USA. So technically it's non-fiction, but as fact is often stranger in this case, and certainly as wonderful, I've included it in this list.) It's good to see all the books written out like that as it makes me realise the width of my reading. I didn't read any old classics this year but my list includes historical thrillers, modern crime novels, "literary" novels, both Indian and Canadian short stories and Young Adult Fiction.

My biggest disappointment of the year was The Buried Giant. Ishiguro's Booker-winning novel, The Remains of the Day is the best book I've ever read so I looked forward to reading his latest work. It was beautifully-written of course, but I didn't really enjoy it at all. It was all a bit too weird and mythical and I felt like it was trying to be poignant rather than actually being so. However, that did make me read Never Let Me Go by the same author and that proved to be my favourite book of the year. So some good came of it!

What were your top reads of 2016? Did you get any good books for Christmas?


  1. I thoroughly enjoyed The Time Traveller's Wife. I thought it was a fresh take on the theme and from a different perspective. (I was disappointed with the film version though because of the way they mangled the ending.)

    1. I haven't seen the film version. Maybe I won't then!


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