Happy New Year’s Eve! To quote Tim’s newest T-shirt, 2016 sucked. I’m not sure how, but I have to hope that 2017 will be better.
That said, this year wasn’t all bad. There has been great music, great theatre, great art and of course great books. I read 80 books this year (less than last year) or 20,571 pages (more than last year). I read 12 classics towards the Classics Club, including finally getting round to reading books I’ve had on the TBR for many years.
I read 21 books in translation, from many different languages (my spreadsheet shows 10 languages but in addition, Angela Carter’s Book of Fairy Tales was translated from all over the world), which is more than double what I managed last year. 24 books were by authors from a country other than the US or UK, which again is up on last year.
I read 32 books by men, 40 by women and 8 by authors of both genders, which I’m happy with. I read 4 poetry books, 4 short story collections, 9 non-fiction books and 20 comics, leaving an overwhelming 43 fiction books. I think I should read more non-fiction next year.
And now we get down to it: my top reads of the year.
Her Father’s Daughter by Marie Sizun
This novella is told from the perspective of a four-year-old girl living in Paris during the Second World War. She is the apple of her mother’s eye and despite the Nazi occupation is utterly happy in her little world. Then the father she has never met comes home from the POW camp. In sparse moving prose, this is the story of shifting affection and loyalties.
I Kill Giants by Joe Kelly and JM Ken Niimura
A beautiful graphic novel about a teenage girl who is coping with dark times by convincing herself that she fights giants. Gorgeously told and incredibly moving.
The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante
The first sequel to My Brilliant Friend, this continues the story of best friends Elena and Lila from the age of 16 to 23. Their worlds begin to expand beyond their neighbourhood, but this also reveals their limits.
The Birds and other stories by Daphne du Maurier
This is an excellent collection of short stories. The tales are all weird, spooky, dark with flashes of humour.
Atlas of Remote Islands by Judith Schalansky
This is a beautiful book of amazing facts and there are stories so strange they ought to be mythical. Every detail is considered, functional, exquisite – typography, art, infographic, end papers, edging.
What were your favourite books this year?