Jan 2016 TBRAs we all probably know by now, I don’t like to post my Best Of until the first day of the New Year, just in case I read THE BEST BOOK EVER as the last book of the year. I almost did this year, too. So here’s my pic of the year’s books, but some stats first …

In 2015, I read 115 books – 83 fiction and 32 non-fiction. In 2014, it was 104 in total, but 50 fiction and 54 non-fiction. I’ll blame my flu in May and a couple of colds for that. Interestingly, although my top 10 include books by 6 men and 4 women, I read 71 books by women and 43 by men (and one by a man and a woman, in case you’re adding up). However, 19 of those 71 were by Debbie Macomber or Georgette Heyer, so a lot of shorter, lighter reads there. I’m surprised at how little non-fiction I read this year, as I certainly have a lot of it on my shelf at the moment.

Top ten books of the year

In order of reading …

Robert Tressell – “The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists” – always meant to read it, this was the year I did

Anthony Trollope – “The Warden” – started my love of Trollope!

Helen Cross – “The Secrets She Keeps” – wonderful, funny, moving novel

Gillian Dooley – “From a Tiny Corner in the House of Fiction” – all the interviews Iris Murdoch did, beautifully edited

Robertson Davies – “Tempest Tost” – re-read of a favourite, still marvellous

Arnold Bennett – “Clayhanger” – first in a series and so absorbing

Carol Ann Duffy – “The World’s Wife” – the first time a book of poetry has made it onto the top ten, I think

Vita Sackville-West – “The Heir” – I loved “The Edwardians” too, but I loved this more

Steve Silberman – “Neurotribes” – uncomfortable reading in parts but really important and fascinating

James Kelman – “You Have to be Careful in the Land of the Free” – dialect, yes, but such an unputdownable read

Special series mentions go to …

Arnaldur Idriðason – The Reykjavik Murder Series – I’m only on Book 2 but I love these and I love love love the setting!

John Galsworthy – The Forsyte Saga – nine wonderful books read this year in good company


My DNFs and one Finished But Only Because It Was A Review Copy:

Wolfgang Iser – “The Art of Reading” – Too Hard. But I got what I could out of it

John Algeo – “British and American English” – not what it was advertised as being – it translated British into American and I wanted the other way round. No indication of this on the blurb!

Jonathan Franzen – “Freedom” – I liked another of his books, this was angry and horrible and I gave up

Tracy March – “Should’ve Said No” – indeed. A queasy mix of sex’n’museums

Reading challenges past and future

I read the Galsworthys and did #20BooksOfSummer in the summer (failed that one slightly). I’ve got up to 55 years filled in my Reading the Century project, pretty well naturally (i.e. not many books bought to fulfil it) but I have filled in lots of popular years now so might have to aim for the 60s this coming year!

I’ll be continuing Reading the Century, continuing reading Dorothy Richardson’s “Pilgrimage” series and will be doing Heaven-Ali’s #Woolfalong project, which reads novels and essays by and books about Virginia Woolf.

State of the TBR January 2016

Jan 2014 bSee above. Oops. Only all fits on because Christmas and post-Christmas is horizontal (you can see it on the right, on the back row). The January 2015 TBR looked like this, which was far more manageable! But I’m definitely Making More Time For Reading now, so hopefully I can get through them to the delights I’ve picked up recently.

Jan 2016 currently readingI’m currently reading Ken Livingstone’s memoirs (which are quite dull, but in a good way, if you see what I mean) (note the Morrab Library bookmark, reminding me of Cornwall friends), plus “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Won’t Stop Talking” which is quite good if you need that sort of thing, but not QUITE for me, and a book about not buying things on my Kindle.

Jan 2016 coming upComing up, it’s time for another Dorothy Richardson (hooray!) and Ali’s Woolfalong is starting, so I’ll need to check what I’m meant to be picking up for that. Then these books are next on the TBR – you can see it HAS shifted, because this picture is actually different to those of the last few months!

Every year at the end of the year I think “Do I actually want to bother carrying on with the reading blog?” I do always note my reviews in a paper journal, but I do enjoy the interaction I have on here with other book bloggers, even though this is not the most popular blog and doesn’t get as many comments as others. I cherish my comments and commenters, so I’m going to carry on and I look forward to hearing what you all have to say.

Have you posted your Top Books yet? I bet you have. What challenges are you doing and what have you got coming up in January? Have you read any of these books on my shelf?