This is my annual round-up of books I’ve read in the year. Maybe it’s a little early, since there are still three weeks to go, which could mean three more books, but I am thinking of taking a small break other than for bookclub books. After all, I hit my Goodreads target before the end of November. I don’t know why I thought I would struggle to reach it, but I’m still planning on reverting to 52 for next year.
So, 63 books and counting… yet my TBR list on Goodreads is now at 420! I think I read about 30 books from it this year, and another 12 or so that came in as bookclub books, and not on my list already. That suggests about 20 books were new offers, promotions and ARCs – about half of which I would probably added to my reading list anyway. That suggests that 10 books got added to my list ahead of things I want to read. I think that most of them would not have made it onto the list, but there were (are) surprises, like Kim Headlee’s short book The Challenge, which has opened me up to a new prolific author (well, it started when I read King Arthur’s Sister…). That is one of the problems for the list, of course. Most of the books I love are written by authors writing more books I want to read. Tuck Everlasting and Tails of the Apocalypse popped up right at the end of the year, new to the list, and may even sweep into the lead. Then again, it’s good to pay it forward with trying out new authors…
So, here’s a look at the best…
The Uncommon Reader and Apocalypse Weird: Reversal both got 5 stars from me. I discover that I like the genre ‘weird’. I could probably write it a bit more too – especially in short stories. The Uncommon Reader had some bits set in Norfolk, so that went in the Local Heroes pile, too, and was one of very few bookclub selections to get 5 stars from me.
Moonfleet and Homecoming; two very different genres, although both written by authors now dead – it’s just over a year since Sue Bowling passed, and I’m glad I felt she was a blogging friend for the time I knew her. I must read her second book before the gist of the world she built escapes from my brain.
Dark Currents (Emperor’s Edge #2) and King Arthur’s Sister in Washington’s Court. I see I also have something called White Water Landings listed – good thing I beat my target! I’ve said a lot about Emperor’s Edge this year. Books 4 and 5 are now on my Kindle.
Frankie Dupont & the Lemon Festival Fiasco and Fingersmith, which was a bookclub read. I think it had so many extra twists and so much foreboding, that the effect of seeing the author live was the icing on the cake. The bookclub had mixed feelings about it, but we’re now talking of reading The Paying Guests, another Sarah Waters book. It’s on my list, anyway.
A good month for reading, partly due to summer in the garden and partly to a train trip to the south of France. Five stars to Deadly Games (Emperor’s Edge #3), The Janus Stone (Ruth Galloway #2), Lionel Goes to Camp (Lionel Snodgrass #3) and Rex Rising. I am nothing if not eclectic in my tastes. Janus Stone is Local Hero #3, and there are more in that series to come in this list, and next year, too.
Stardust was the only one of five books read that month to get 5 stars. I think I wavered on it. It’s certainly different, and I’ll read more Neil Gaiman on the strength of it, so…
Frankie Dupont & the Science Fair Sabotage, In The Shadows of the Mosquito Collection and The Edible Garden all got top honours, although I was starting to want to have more flexibility in my marking system.
I Tackled my TBR and gave 5 stars to Death in a Dacron Sail (Rhe Brewster #2), The House at Seas End (Ruth Galloway #3) , The Challenge, Turtle Feathers, Rounding the Mark (Montalbano #7), and One Man: No Plan (K’Barthan #3). You see what I mean about series? House at Seas End is Local Hero number four.
Looking for Trouble (K’Barthan #4) was the one to take the honours in this month. I was worn out after TackleTBR, and maybe I won’t do it next year. Also I found the switch from reading in the garden while the guinea pigs mowed my grass, to indoors under artificial light very hard.
Tuck Everlasting (review in a couple of weeks) and Tails of the Apocalypse (review soon) came in at the end of a month where I gave a lot of 3 stars. This followed a discussion on whether people use Goodreads stars according to how Goodreads describe them or not. I don’t, I realise. Rings of Saturn I only gave 2 stars to, but it was a 5th Local Hero. Another long train trip bumped some long-standing candidates off my TBR list.
The month isn’t over, of course, but Dining Out with the Ice Giants, which I got in a Storybundle, is heading for five stars, and I’m likely to look out its predecessor in the series. Frankie Dupont and the High Seas Heist, reviewed on Saturday, made it a hat-trick for Julie Anne Grasso. I also need to read another Local Hero, since somewhere along the way I gathered a phantom one in (and I read the Ghosts of Norfolk last year, so it doesn’t count.)
Which was the best?
I don’t know. There’s a tendency to think the latest is the best. You all know I loved the Emperor’s Edge series, the K’Barthan series, and the Ruth Galloway mysteries since they were my Grateful I’ve Read Giveaway books. Homecoming deserves to be in the final group, partly because of its amazingly deep world-building. And Dining Out Among The Ice Giants looks to be in there. So, four scifi type of books and one crime thriller. I think that five ‘best-ofs’ is good enough, don’t you?