Books: The Hits and Misses of 2016
Anyone who knows me well, will know that I always have at least one book on the go at any one time. In 2016, I set myself a Reading Challenge of 24 books, which I actually surpassed. I also started listening to Audio books this year - a great way to spend my hour commute.
I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes: this seems to be a bit of a Marmite book, but I loved this action packed thriller which no doubt will also make a fantastic film.
The Bees by Laline Paull: set in a beehive, this book about a bee who breaks out of her allocated role is brilliant.
The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters: a wonderful ghost story.
The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma: (2015 Man Booker shortlist): the story of four brothers and how they are affected by a curse after fishing in a forbidden river.
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman: a heart-warming story about a grumpy old man and his neighbourhood which has you laughing one minute and crying the next.
Us by David Nicholls: a couple on the verge of break-up who take their son on a European Grand Tour the summer before he starts uni. I read it in the summer before Albert went to uni so was quite poignant for me.
This Book Will Save Your Life by A.M. Homes: a very witty book about a man whose life suddenly changes one day due to a medical emergency and the resulting impact it has on his life.
At the Edge of the Orchard by Tracy Chevalier: I love Tracy Chevalier's writing - this is about a dysfunctional family trying to grow apples in the swamps of America.
Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee: This sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird just didn't do it for me. Disappointing.
My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante: The first in a trilogy that I thought I was going to love but actually hated.
Satin Island by Tom McCarthy: (2015 Man Booker shortlist) - it was so bad that I can't even remember what it was about. I just remember thinking it was pretentious.
J by Howard Jacobson: (2015 Man Booker shortlist) - I didn't hate this, but struggled to read it. I usually like dystopian novels but not this one.
A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James: (2015 Man Booker Prize Winner) - I tried reading it but resorted to the audiobook but it just didn't do it for me. There were far too many voices and it was just too bloody long!
Fiction: The Rest
The Tea Planter's Wife by Dinah Jefferies: This was a gift and not something I would usually read, but I did really enjoy it.
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr: I enjoyed this book which is about a blind girl hiding a gem in St Malo in WWII, but thought it could have been so much shorter.
The Hand That First Held Mine by Maggie O'Farrell: I wanted to read this because someone told me it would make me cry. It didn't. Perhaps I read too much, but I found it a bit predictable.
Stone Mattress: Nine Tales by Margaret Atwood: I'm not usually a fan of short stories but the majority of these were great and all a little macabre.
Number 9 Dream by David Mitchell: It was a little difficult to separate the fantasy from the reality in Eiji's narration, but this is a great story.
Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey: About a lady with dementia who is convinced her friend is missing but uncovers the truth about her sister.
The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier: This is a great book for quilters!
Etta and Otto and Russell and James by Emma Hooper: Etta journeys on foot from her home to the sea and her and Otto's love story enfolds.
The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood: In a similar vein to Oryx and Crake, another dystopian novel from Atwood. Not quite up to her usual standard.
Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene: This felt very dated - not Graham Greene at his best.
Harvest by Jim Crace: An interesting tale about a new family that settle in the neighbourhood and how this becomes a catalyst for a whole heap of trouble.
A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler: (2015 Man Booker Shortlist) a good story, but again, Anne Tyler has written better.
The Driver's Seat by Muriel Spark: A disturbing little tale about Lise, an office worker who is taking a holiday but turns into something much more sinister.
Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science by Atul Gawande: I love a good medical book - absolutely fascinating.
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed: I watched the brilliant film with Reese Witherspoon before reading this. It was a joy to read of her hike across the Pacific Crest Trail.
So, what were your reading highlights from last year?
Love Mrs Jones x