I had intended to do a ‘best books’ and contrasting ‘worst books’ post for those I had read this year, but it’s actually very hard to choose ‘best’ & ‘worst’ from around 90 books – especially as I read such a diverse range of books.
Instead, I have decided to classify them as ‘most memorable’ (in a good way!) and ‘most disappointing’.
This list doesn’t necessarily include my absolute favourite reads – but an easy, fun read can be extremely enjoyable but wont stay with me for any length of time. I wanted to concentrate on those books that have had stuck in my mind – the ones that I immediately think of if someone asks for any recommendations. The ones that were a bit unique.
So here they are – in no particular order (pic and titles link to my full reviews).
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern: Read with the book club, this really divided us – mainly into boys vs girls. although it was very light on plot and depth of characters, I have never read a book with such beautiful, striking imagery. I could feel, smell and taste the circus, and it was a wonder to behold.
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness: I only read this originally to see if it was an acceptable YA book for The Girl to read. It is the first in a trilogy, and I have recently read the second one, which is just as good. The idea of ‘The Noise’ is unique, and I have since caught myself wondering what other people’s noise may contain when I have been with them. It also made me bawl my eyes out!
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein: This isn’t the first book to be narrated by an animal, but it felt one of the most sympathetic. Dogs are often veiwed as being a bit daft, but Enzo was far from daft – he was intelligent, loyal, insightful and funny. One of the best voices I’ve read this year.
The Waterproof Bible by Andrew Kaufman: There were so many beautiful and surreal ideas in this book that all came together in a stunning climax with all the strands tying into a unique but perfect bow. I especially loved the idea of being able to store away your emotions, and have passed a few Big Yellows since and imagined what experiences could be locked away within.
The Moving Toyshop by Edmund Crispin: I was toying with Dead Scared as my final choice (see what I did there?) or The Girl With The Glass Feet but finally decided on this old-fashioned detective romp. I do like a good detective thriller, and have read some pretty decent ones this year, but this 1940′s book, recommended by my nan and read by our book club was totally different to its contemporaries. It was good wholesome fun, with some surprisingly modern-feeling elements.
So, they were my most memorable reads of this year (yes, and I kind of managed to sneak 7 in there – did anyone notice?). Next I will be posting the 5 books that most disappointed me!
I would love to hear what YOUR most memorable books were this year, as I have a whole new year starting in a couple of days to fill with ideas of books to read!
Last week I finished my book the day after I had ordered a large delivery from Amazon, so I thought I’d make the most of working in Camden by popping along to the many charity shops, to pick up a ‘filler’ book to tide me over til my delivery arrived.
I am SO glad that I did, as City Of The Beasts is not a book I reckon I would ever have picked out online (although the cover is very pretty!).
£1.99 in the YMCA shop introduced me to Alexander Cold, a 15 year old American lad whose mother is dying from cancer, so he is shipped off to his grandmother’s while she is having chemo. His grandmother is an explorer/writer and is off to the Amazon with a party put together by International Geographic Magazine trying to find evidence of a legendary ‘Beast’ (much like a yeti) that lives amongst the natives in an area hitherto unexplored by the developed world. Alex discovers much to his horror that he is to go with her.
The story starts out as a tale of a young lad whose family are being torn apart and his relationship with his outspoken, uncompromising, well-traveled grandmother who just makes him fit into her life and plans. He is the complete opposite of her, and initially finds the trip to the Amazon the stuff of nightmares.
For the first part of the book, I was loving the pace, loving the wonderful sights and sounds of the Amazon, and getting to know all the characters involved – it was a beautifully crafted jungle adventure…and then there is ‘an event’ (I don’t want to ruin it for anyone) and suddenly the book takes a turn and becomes this mystical tale, full of wonder and magic.
I can’t say how much I loved this book – it was a perfect ‘filler’, and I zoomed through it quicker than I do with most books. Turning each page was a joy, and I never knew where it was going to take me. It was also the perfect size – there wasn’t TOO much ‘depth’ – there were no flowery words just for the sake of padding it out and trying to be clever and arty – the story was very much ‘as it was’ – and I never felt that I had been cheated.
I usually race through paragraphs when I’m enjoying books, skim-reading just to get to the next good bit (I’m a bugger for that), but I actually believe I read near enough every word because it was relevant!
This is definitely my favourite book that I have read in recent months.