Friday, 4 April 2014

My Top Books for the First Quarter of 2014

At the end of each year I have a lovely time choosing my top books of the year… but so many get missed off those lists. What I’ve decided to do for 2014 is get into quarterly instalments. So, now March is gone and spring is here (albeit a weird, misty Spring in Manchester – the air choked with Arabian sand and smog) and I can decide what my top ten reads of the year so far have been…

I’ve read 48 books so far this year, and it’s tricky whittling even this number down. But here are the ten:

TOLSTOY AND THE PURPLE CHAIR – Nina Sankovitch (beautiful memoir about reading and grief)
FAN GIRL – Rainbow Rowell (Fabulously romantic, soapy hymn to Fan Fiction and early days at uni)
ADVENTURES WITH THE WIFE IN SPACE – Neil Perryman (Memoir of a man afflicted by Who, mercilessly inflicting it on spouse.)
DAYS OF ANNA MADRIGAL – Armistead Maupin (Rightfully indulgent final segment of multi-volume polymorphously delightful literary soap opera.)
THE GOLDFINCH – Donna Tartt (A hefty thriller about fine art and friendship.)
COLD SERIAL MURDER – Mark Abramson (Second in a sexy cosy crime series set in San Francisco.)
THE NEW ARRIVAL – Sarah Beeson (Moving memoir about discovering your vocation and nursing in the 1970s.)
THE COLLECTED WORKS OF A.J FIKRY – Gabrielle Levin. (Splendid eccentric ensemble cast centred around bookshop and a mysterious orphan.)
A PLACE TO CALL HOME – Carole Matthews (An edgier feeling to Carole’s spring romance – it’s all about pursuit, sanctuary and new love.)
LIFE AFTER LIFE – Kate Atkinson (A family saga about reincarnation and second, third and fourth chances.)

What I find surprising about the list is that they’re all either brand new titles – or they’ve been published in the past couple of years. This, in the year when I’m supposed to be reading all the old books I’ve got clogging up the house.

Also – and I don’t know if this is interesting or good or bad or both – but six out of ten of these I read as e-books on my ipad. I blame my poor eyes and loving the giant print and the sepia pages. The ones I read as actual books I read as large hardbacks or copies with lavishly large print.

Lots of memoir here – almost a third of them. And lots of bookishness – bookshops, writers and the literary games and allusions of Kate Atkinson.

Anyhow – that’s me during this long, curious winter. That’s the best of what I’ve been curled up with. How about you?

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