I read 54 books this year, my Goodreads challenge was for 50 books, so I managed to beat it, yay. It’s nowhere near how many books I read in 2015 though, a massive 88, but 2015 was a pretty remarkable year reading wise, I had a lot of time where I couldn’t do that much else but read, so although it would have been nice to read that sort of amount again, I wasn’t particularly expecting to. Pre-2015 I was reading 30 something, maybe into the low 40s books a year, always aiming for 50 but never making it, so I’m glad I managed it this year.
One of the reasons why I got through so many books in 2015 was that I rediscovered my love for crime fiction. I had last been into crime fiction about 20 years previously, so I had a lot of brilliant crime series to catch up on and I find it a lot easier to plough through crime fiction quickly than I can do with other sorts of books. My love of crime fiction continued into most of 2016 but I found myself tiring of it, problem was, I was in a bit of a rut and I couldn’t think of what else to read. I found the solution in, at least for a while, getting my crime fix in settings other than bleak realism, the books by A.K. Benedict particularly helped there, as they had a lovely dose of fantasy too. From those I ventured into some historical fiction, devouring the Giordano Bruno series (I realise that a lot of the books I’m mentioning here haven’t been blogged about on this blog, you can find my reviews either over on Goodreads or on my old blog). I was still reading some crime fiction interspersed with my trips into fantasy and historical fiction but that’s pretty much died off now, in fact currently, the thought of reading crime fiction leaves me cold now and I’m currently very much into fantasy stuff, particularly if it’s in a historical setting.
So, to sum everything up, it’s been hard to pick out one particular book that I’ve fell in total book love with this year, if I were to pick a shortlist, it would be
- Faithful Place – Tana French – one of the more unique crime novels I read this year, set between present day and 1980s Dublin, it explores the unique relationships between the neighbours and families of a deprived part of the city.
- The Secret Place – Tana French – the book after Faithful Place, it features the daughter of one of the main characters of the previous book, in a posh Dublin girls’ boarding school, a boy from a neighbouring boys’ school is found murdered in the grounds and it’s clear one of the girls’ did it. I liked it because it looked at the challenges of being a teenage girl and it had a unique, if minor twist to the story.
- In a Dark, Dark Wood – Ruth Ware – is one of those thriller type books that are so popular at the moment, I liked this one because of the closed setting, a hen party in a house in the middle of nowhere, made it feel very intense. I also read Ruth Ware’s Woman in Cabin 10 this year and found it nowhere near as good.
- The Ashes of London – Andrew Taylor – I absolutely loved this one, set during the Great Fire of London, it felt like you were actually there.
- Fellside – M.R. Carey – set mainly in a women’s prison, this book is not what it first seems.
- The Giordano Bruno series – S.J. Parris – Giordano Bruno and other real life historical characters made very much fictional here, get into one scrape after another as Bruno investigates murders.
- Soldier, Spy – Tom Marcus – not normally the sort of book I read, this is the memoir of an ex-MI5 spy, it was well written and extremely eye opening.
- Paper and Fire – Rachel Caine – sigh, Wolfe, sigh, okay maybe this is on the list partly because Christopher Wolfe is the hottest book character I’ve read this year but I also love Caine’s alternate world creation, a steampunkish world where the Great Library controls everything.
And if I were to pick a favourite from that list? Nah I can’t but if I were to pick a top three, it would be three books that each cater to the different needs I have when reading a book, these would be The Ashes of London for immersing me into a completely different era, Soldier, Spy for giving me a view into a part of the world I know little about and Paper and Fire for creating a lovely group of characters that feel like old friends.
What books have you particularly enjoyed this year? One thing I’m struggling with, now that I’m off crime fiction, is that although with crime fiction you’re spoilt for choice, I’m finding it harder to find historical / fantasy books to read, does anyone have any recommendations?