My year in books

In no particular order, neither calendrical (yes, I know that’s not a word), nor preferential. Merely a selection of the titles I have loved the most this year, with the occasional quote thrown in to persuade you of their brilliance but honestly? If I could persuade you to buy one, just one, it would be All The Birds, Singing by Evie Wyld – a book I read feeling as though I were holding my breath the whole way through. A book that I delayed reaching the end of for two weeks because I wasn’t sure I could bear it. A book that effectively ruined me for all other books for a good two months because my head was so full of Jack that there wasn’t room for any other character, and I found myself completely unable to blog about it because how could I possibly do it justice? I couldn’t.

The Town in Bloom by Dodie Smith
Saturday Night, Sunday Morning by Alan Sillitoe
Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett “The Chalk Hill Feegles, on the other hand, were more at home with the drinkin’, stealin’ and fightin’, and Rob Anybody was good at all three. But he’d learned to read and write…He did them with a lot more optimism than accuracy, Billy knew. When he was faced with a long sentence he tended to work out a few words and then have a great big guess.”
On The Road To Wigan Pier by George Orwell
Moon Tiger and Passing On by Penelope Lively “He got out and I was left alone with my own images, the distant but vivid shapes and colours of another time, the tanks hunched in the sand, the surrealist sepia swirls and blots of camouflage. I wasn’t thinking of Tom, but of myself…An innocent moving fecklessly through the days, knowing nothing, whom I saw now with awful wisdom.”
The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obrecht
Levels of Life by Julian Barnes
All The Birds, Singing by Evie Wyld “I’d been up that morning, before the light came through, out there, talking to myself, telling the dog about the things that needed doing as the blackbirds in the hawthorn started up. Like a mad woman, listening to her own voice, the wind shoving it back down my throat and hooting over my open mouth like it had done every morning since I moved to the island.”
The Mapp and Lucia series by E F Benson
Carpe Jugulem & Lords and Ladies by Terry Pratchett
Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte (enjoyed it so much that I now have the Tenant of Wildfell Hall to read)
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce “I didn’t stop because there were no words for me to say. There weren’t when I first read her letter, Maureen. I’m the kind of man who thanks the talking clock. What difference was I ever going to make? How did I ever think I could stop a woman from dying?”
The Bold and the Beautiful by Cressida Connelly
The Bronte Myth by Lucasta Miller
The Road to McCarthy by Pete McCarthy
Ann Veronica by H.G. Wells “Nevertheless, she could not prevent a rising excitement as the dawn of a new life drew near to her – a thrilling of the nerves, a secret and delicious exaltation above the common circumstances of existence.”
The Colour Purple by Alice Walker
The Camomile by Catherine Carswell
Gilead by Marilynne Robinson “Sometimes I have loved the peacefulness of an ordinary Sunday. It is like standing in a newly planted garden after a warm rain. You can feel the silent and invisible life. All it needs from you is that you take care not to trample on it.”

I’ll be seeing the year out with Reality Reality by Jackie Kay and On The Map by Simon Garfield, starting 2014 with the letters of Abelard and Heloise, and the Decameron, before treating myself to a return to Dracula. Let him see off winter with impeccable gothic style.

Oh, and the needle-felted dragon? He has been unwrapped, praised and now sits in the tree. Still nameless though. I’ve informed the Teen that until she names him, he’s Brian.




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