I had thought I hadn’t read all that much this year, however I’ve averaged about two books a month, which is none too shabby.
There’s the usual mix of literary fiction, science fiction, fantasy and crime novels. The Margaret Atwood novel was a very good final novel to the “Maddaddam” dystopian trilogy, all of which I’ve enjoyed. It didn’t garner great reviews, but if you have already invested time in the first two titles you will want to follow the characters to the end. Excellent new SF writers to me were Lauren Beukes, James Cory, Ann Leckie and Jo Walton, and I have re read some Ursula Le Guin and Phillip K Dick, both of which have stood the test of time. I’m also re reading all the John Le Carre novels (slowly) and managed two this year. On the fantasy side somehow I had never read the Mary Stewart “Arthur” trilogy and they were an excellent surprise.
These titles show my interests outside of fiction. Bob Stanley’s “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah” I found fascinating and infuriating in equal measure. Mostly down to the authors views on certain music not coinciding with mine! Stuart Maconie’s “People’s Songs” was an excellent companion to the BBC Radio 2 series, sadly not online anymore but available via iTunes. I’ve read all the David Kynaston modern British history books and as the books are now covering the period of my childhood it’s even more interesting reading all the social details. Gillian Clarke’s poetry was new to me, which considering she is the national poet of Wales, I can’t understand how I have missed her. Her poems of rural welsh life are exquisite miniatures, with “Letters from a far country” being a particular favourite.