I have been keeping a list of the books I read each year for some time as an aide memoir to myself as I find it so easy to forget what I’ve read and when and am enjoy looking back over my reading from the previous year. I have a particular soft spot for reading multiple books by the same author and love long series of books.
1 – Smiley’s People – Jan 14th in Cuba
2 – Death at Pemberley by PD James (Jan 15th in Cuba)
3 – At Home by Bill Bryson (Jan 18th in Cuba)
4 – The Secret Pilgrim by John Le Carre (8th Feb)
5. The Readbreast by Jo Nesbo (21 feb)
6. Fall of Giants by Ken Follet (march 30)
7. Gallows View by Peter Robinson (April 11th)
8. The Hunger Games (April 15)
9. The Hypnotist by Lars Kepler (April 29)
10. Catching Fire (may 10)
11. Mockingjay (May 17)
12. A Dedicated Man by Peter Robinson (May 27)
13. Shark’s fin and Sichuan Pepper by Fuchsia Dunlop (May 28)
14. A Necessary End Peter Robinson (June 13)
15. The Song of Achilles (June 16)
16. Heresy by SJ Parris
17. Her Fearful Symmetry by Audry Niffenegger (July 22)
18. Restless by William Boyd (Aug 11)
19. The Pyramid by Henning Mankell (aug 18)
20. Past Reason Hated by Peter Robinson (30 Aug)
21. Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovich (6 Sept in Crete)
22. The Prisoner of Heaven by (Carlos Ruiz Zafon Crete 10 Sept)
23. Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovich (14 Sept ,Crete and home).
24. Prophesy by SJ Parris (Oct 1st)
25. Sacred Hearts by Sarah Dunant (oct 19)
26. The Litigators by John Grisham (Oct 28)
27. Whispers Underground by Ben Aaronovich (Nov 14)
28. Sacrilege by SJ Parris (Dec 4)
29. Cold is the Grave by Peter Robinson (Dec 19)
Some thoughts on my year’s reading – high and low points.
I was disappointed in The Fall of Giants by Ken Follett as I had so enjoyed his earlier Pillars of the Earth books, I found it to be dull, plodding and seemingly aimed at a somewhat dim audience. Very obvious things were explained in an irritatingly simple way and I found it just annoyed me throughout despite the potentially thrilling length and breadth of the story. I hate to be let down by a much-anticipated book. I won’t be reading the next in the series.
Bill Bryson’s ‘At Home’s was fantastic! For a book chock full of facts it was surprisingly readable and I found myself ploughing through it with great pleasure on my sun lounger in Cuba boring my mother with a non-stop stream of information about everything from early ice production to rat infestations as she tried to get on with her own reading material. I’m a long time fan of Bill’s, but this book was very special indeed.
I succumbed to the Hunger Games trilogy early in the year and really enjoyed the somewhat glum view of a dystopian future – very original and creative (a new genre for me so not sure how original it really was) and I read them in pretty quick succession on my Kindle with great pleasure. I have yet to see the film.
Peter Robinson DCI Banks books – I have acquired a stack of paperbacks from my dad and have enjoyed reading them after seeing several of the stories on the TV during the year. It’s been interesting to read the early ones (starting in the 80s I think) and noting the vast amount of alcohol consumed by almost all levels of the police force in Eastvale – it’s a miracle that they managed to solve anything at all and catch any bad guys without crashing their cars and dying of liver failure. Too many together was a bit draining, but I think dad has some more for me which I shall look forward to reading in 2013.
The Song of Achilles was simply wonderful! I was never a fan of the Greek myths and struggled with them at school and quite happily ignored them completely until I fancied reading this book on my trip to Crete in June as it seemed pleasingly appropriate to do so. I am very glad that I did as I found it impossible to put down and read it in its entirety on my journey home. It was one of those books which lingers pleasingly in the mind for some time after completions.
The Rivers of London trilogy by Ben Aaronovich was my star find of the year. Initially attracted by an eye-catching cover in the bookshop I devoured the first book in Crete in September and promptly read the next two in the series. A curious mix of Harry Potter meets Sherlock Holmes meets a London guide-book they tell the story of a magical PC working in the magical department of the Met. Police, there’s all sorts of strange goings on in this secret world but it’s so soundly rooted in ‘real’ London that it manages to be totally convincing. I can’t wait to see what comes next.
The Giordano Bruno books by SJ Parris have pleased and irritated me in pretty much equal measure – I’ve been trying to fill a Shardlake shaped hole and Bruno seems to sort of do the job and he is growing on me book by book.
I have loved all the ScandiNoir stuff on television and read three books of the genre from last year – The Redbreast and The Hypnotist were both particularly grim with some moments of levity but the Pyramid by Henning Mankell was very good and it was an interesting insight into the enigmatic Wallander. I shall not be investigating any further books by the authors of the first two books! Mind you, I did love the Millennium Trilogy so shall not necessarily abandon the genre all together.
A special prize for the worst book of the year goes to John Grisham’s The Litigators which I bought after hearing a glowingly reviewed on the normally reliable ‘A Good Read’ on Radio 4. It was so grim that I had to keep on reading to see when it would suddenly turn into the book I had heard such glowing reviews about. It didn’t happen and I shall happily never read another Grisham novel.