Thank you to Cleo for reminding me about this, one of my favourite annual memes – the Reading Bingo. It’s always a mad scramble to see if I can fit any of my haphazard reading into the categories at the end of the year, but I was very ambitious last year and did two of each. I’d struggle to do that this year: in fact, I may not be able to fill in the whole sheet!
More than 500 Pages
Retribution Road by Antonin Varenne
Late Fame by Arthur Schnitzler – this was quite literally forgotten, or set aside by the author and never published until a couple of years ago
Turned into a Movie
The Life and Loves of a She-Devil by Fay Weldon – although I haven’t actually watched the two adaptations
Published This Year
Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski – what a brilliant, creepy, atmospheric story, capturing our passion for podcasts and the teenage grumpiness very well
Number in Title
Three Days and a Life by Pierre Lemaitre – a much gentler pace than this master of the chilling read has accustomed us to
Written by Someone Under 30
The End of Eddy by Edouard Louis – at least I think the author is still very young, and he published this in French quite a few years ago. Correct me if I’m wrong. Besides, I may want to turn this into ‘a book by someone over 70’ instead!
The Humans by Matt Haig – well, it’s an alien and a dog who pull most at the heartstrings
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson – delightful comedy of manners
Folle by Nelly Arcan – so many I could have chosen from, but I decided to choose one that could only have been written by a fierce and bitter woman
The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny – I couldn’t resist picking the title which has the most resonance – and it is, indeed, a mystery in a crime fiction series
Men by Marie Darrieussecq – not my favourite book, it had a bit of a colonial feel to it
The Stories by Jane Gardam – klipp und klar, as the Germans would say – outstanding stories by a real master/mistress of the genre
Most obscure: Vlad by Carlos Fuentes – and perhaps should stay so…
Boundary by Andree A. Michaud – Maine and Canada, border country, and an area I know very little about
The Unwomanly Face of War by Svetlana Alexievich – probably one of my top reads of the year
First Book by Favourite Author
Elizabeth and Her German Garden by Elizabeth von Arnim – it was a reread, but just delightful, even for a non-gardener like myself
Heard About Online
To Clear the Air by Mechtild Borrmann – I usually think Mrs. P’s recommendations are unbeatable, but this book did not quite do it for me. However, she has written others and they are better.
The Power by Naomi Alderman – I realised this was quite a difficult category for me, as the books I like don’t usually sell in the hundreds of thousand which shout bestseller to me, but I think this one did quite well after winning a few prizes. I’ve certainly seen it everywhere in bookshops and libraries.
This House of Grief by Helen Garner – just heart-breaking, another contender for book of the year – and I’m not even a huge non-fiction fan
Bottom of TBR Pile
On the Road to Babadag: Travels in the Other Europe by Andrzej Stasiuk – I think this one has been on my bookshelves for quite a while, I can’t even remember when I bought it
Loved by a Friend
Tall Oaks by Chris Whitaker – Liz Barnsley, book blogger and crime fiction aficionado/editor had been buzzing about this one for ages – and it really lived up to every recommendation!
We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson – subtle horror – in fact, just put all of Shirley Jackson’s work in this category
More than 10 Years Old
The Last Summer by Ricarda Huch – a nice old-fashioned feel to this, and yet still terribly timely
2nd in a Series
Persons Unknown by Susie Steiner – she’s fast becoming a favourite author, and I can’t wait for the next one!
And it will forever remind me of that wonderful, educational and inspirational weekend of poetry!
And, just because there weren’t a lot of pictures involved in the above, here is a gratuitous picture of my favourite non-human, bemused and bedecked for Christmas.