It’s this and shopping lists.
Bit of a half-arsed attempt at listing what I read this year. Could do better.
- Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. If you’ve ever needed loving arms around you or if your mother’s an astonishing let down, this might make you smile.
- The Little Book of Whittling by Chris Lubkemann – gorgeous, photo-illustrated book on how to whittle animals and tools out of wood.
- Milkman by Anna Burns. Complex, observant, tribal story of gossip, politics and violence in an unnamed city (Belfast).
- Womanhood: The Bare Reality by Laura Dodsworth. The third of the triptych – similar vein to the others.
- Best Microfiction 2019 anthology of editor-nominated microfictions. Am biased because I have one in it, but enjoyed it anyway. Crumbs by Nicole Rivas, Not Sorry by Sarah Salway, The Seeds of Things by Joe P Squance, My Father Comforts Me in the Form of Birds by Sharon Telfer. Lots more.
- the everrumble by Michelle Elvy. Utterly gorgeous, life-affirming story of Zettie who stopped speaking at age seven to focus on listening. A world poem. Best read in 10 years.
- The Gloaming by Kirsty Logan. Girl growing up on a remote island, sweet story of magic and loss by the sea – selkies and remote islands. I live by the sea and swim in it most weeks, but expect other readers might find this otherworldly.
- Fleabag: The Original Play by Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Shorter and more heartbreaking than the TV series. Clever. Ouch.
- Something Like Breathing by Angela Readman. Observant coming-of-age story of two girls in a small island community. Unexpected.
- All That Is Between Us by KM Elkes. Excellent short fiction collection, on relationships between people.
- The Choice by Edith Eger. Memoir of Auschwitz survivor who became a clinical psychologist. Devastating, inspirational.
- The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris. Interesting but didn’t hook me like The Choice, although it provided more detail. Should have read this one first.
- Becoming by Michelle Obama. We love Michelle Obama. Warm, smart advocate of hard work.
- The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy. Soul balm. Book hugs. Perfect for a child or an adult. One of my special Mum-to-child gifts. Have also given copies to friends and a school library. If “must read” exists, this is it.
- The Strawberry Thief by Joanne Harris – fab, will comment properly shortly
- Things We Say in the Dark by Kirsty Logan – fab, will comment properly shortly
- The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry (reading now).
So, in the week before New Year, can I remember what I read this year? Even the slightest chance?
- The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell. Classic, gothic creepy.
- Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall. The culture and history of ultra-running (with opinions on evolution and footwear). Inspiring and fun.
- Manhood: the Bare Reality by Laura Dodsworth. Men’s relationships to their penises. Lots of anxiety, less relaxed love and fun. Quite miserable.
- My Name is Leon by Kit de Waal. Painful and poignant but beautifully told story of adoption.
- Other Household Toxins by Christopher Allen. Merciless flash fiction. Excellent.
- You Can’t Spell America Without Me by Alec Baldwin and Kurt Andersen. It’s sad that it’s funny.
- The Story of Life by Chris (Simpsons Artist). Flanimals meets Edward Monkton.
- Boost Creative Writing Confidence at KS2 by Kate Long. Ace – fun for parents, too.