Thursday, 31 December 2015

Clearing the Decks

According to some loose but not completely unreliable calculations (x-refing my 'books I enjoyed' column on the right with the occasional Guardian review of books I didn't enjoy so much but liked well enough to finish) I read at least 56 books in the last year:

Over Seventy - P G Wodehouse
We Are All Completely Besides Ourselves - Karen Joy Fowler
The Voyage Out - Virginia Woolf
Solitude - Anthony Storr
Doppler - Erland Loe
Good Evening Mrs Craven - Mollie Panter Downes
The Sherlock Holmes omnibus
A small fat anthology of G K Chesterton
A Single Man - Christopher Isherwood
The Hot Gates - William Golding
The Murder Room - P D James
Dear Committee Members - Julie Schumacher
Dearest Andrew – letters from Vita Sackville West to long distance penpal Andrew Reiber
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie - Muriel Spark
Hotel Du Lac - Anita Brookner
The Calculus Diaries - Jennifer Ouellette
The Face on the Cutting Room Floor - Cameron McCabe (Ernest Borneman)
Christopher and Columbus - Elizabeth Von Arnim
More Work for the Undertaker - Margery Allingham
A Woman of No Importance - Oscar Wilde
Two Cheers for Democracy - E M Forster
A Wanderer in Venice - E V Lucas
The Fascination of London, The Kensington District - G E Mitton
Monday or Tuesday - Virginia Woolf
Tolkien's Gown - Rick Gekoski
Nice Work - David Lodge
Dear Reader – Paul Fournel (translation by David Bellos
The Ballad of Peckham Rye - Muriel Spark
Six Against the Yard - The Detection Club (Allingham, Sayers and others)
In the Mountains - Elizabeth Von Arnim
Elizabeth in Rugen - Elizabeth Von Arnim
With a Zero at its Heart - Charles Lambert
The Provincial Lady (and sequels) - E M Delafield
Money, The Unauthorised Biography - Felix Martin
Curtain (Poirot's Last Case) - Agatha Christie
The Pale Horse – Agatha Christie
Nudge - Sunstein and Thaler
Satin Island - Tom McCarthy
A Spool of Blue Thread - Anne Tyler
Dead Man's Folly - Agatha Christie
Sleeping Murder - Agatha Christie
The Floating Admiral - Sayers, Christie, Chesterton and Others
The Finishing School – Muriel Spark
Taken At the Flood – Agatha Christie
Passages from the Autobiography of a Shakespeare Student - R M Theobald, M.A.
The Love Affairs of a Bibliomaniac - Eugene Field
The Blank Wall - Elizabeth Sanxay Holding
The Enchanted Places - Christopher Milne
Foxglove Summer - Ben Aaronovitch
The ABC Murders - Agatha Christie
The Gap in the Curtain - John Buchan
A Moveable Feast - Ernest Hemingway
Spotted Hemlock – Gladys Mitchell
Quiet, the Power of Introverts in a World that Won’t Stop Talking – Susan Cain
Alarms and Diversions - James Thurber
A Brief History of Seven Killings - Marlon James

Of the 56, 28 were by women, 26 by men and two were compilations with a mixed team. 19 were non fiction (which surprised me, I didn't think I read that much non-fiction) and 37 fiction. 

Last years resolution - to read more recently published works - went quite well, up from 4 to 7 (and if I finish 'The Fishermen' by midnight I'll have doubled up on last year, but I'm not going to dash through a book I'm enjoying just to say I completed it in 2015).

Most were of a pretty good standard (and the Booker nominees not as pretentious as I might have feared) but I have to fall in with everyone else in saying that A Brief History was the best book I read this year, and head and shoulders above the others shortlisted. A truly epic and complex novel written incredibly well. I won't be surprised if it crops up next to Dickens and co in the 'top hundred best ever' lists in a few years.

My favourite however - because it's not the same thing - was either Tolkien's Gown or A Gap in the Curtain.

So Happy New Year to anyone who might be following this blog - or who just stumbled across it - and I'll see you in 2016.

There is no reason for including this except I drew it.

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