To kick off my literary reflections for 2017, here are my favourite fiction books from this year. (Note that not all of these were published this year, that’s just when I read them.)
The following are abridged reviews; where there’s a longer version on the blog, I’ve linked to it. Blurbs are either from the back of the book, or from Amazon.
PHILIP PULLMAN RELEASED A NEW BOOK and this made me so excited that of course I had to go and buy it straight away.
A house burns to the ground while the family who live in it stand outside and watch. All bar two, that is: the absentees are the father, who is away at work, and the youngest daughter Izzy. Everyone knows it was Izzy who burned the house down, because that’s just like her: ever a wild child, impossible to control, Izzy has been the family’s unpredictable rebel practically since the day she was born.
I finally have my brain fully back! It’s been switching on and off over the past year based on the number and strength of pills I’ve been on at any given time. So more like a dimmer switch than a straight on/off affair. However, as of yesterday I am off aaaaallll the meds. Let’s see how this goes.
The most exciting thing about this, of course, is that I can read books again. And not just novels and things that require zero brain power, but real books. Big books. Thick philosophical books. (I know novels can be all those things too, but boy have I missed philosophy.)
Here’s what I read this week.
I know, I know, it’s not so much ‘weekly’ as ‘sporadically’ at the moment. I’ve had a couple of weeks when I couldn’t really read anything because I had no brain due to my internal organs falling apart.
But I’m back on track, so here’s the latest reading list update.
Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,
And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.
I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.
~ Emily Dickinson
This week I read a few books, but wasn’t in the mood for anything particularly intellectually challenging so most of them were light read novels.
Marian Keyes is one of those writers whose work I am aware of – I mean, she’s one of the most popular authors out there, how can you not be? – but which I don’t read very often. I’m fairly sure I must have read something of hers at some point before this, but if I have I can’t remember what it was. So when FMCM sent me a review copy of The Break I was very much coming at it with an open mind and few prior expectations.
And so I settled down with a notebook and a drippy-wine-bottle candle at the ready, and I started to read.
Previously I’ve been mini-reviewing books in the reading list section at the end of my weekly round-ups, but they’ve been getting a bit long and unwieldy of late so I thought I’d move them to their own separate post.
Sometimes a book will merit a post all of its own, or I’ll be given a book by a publisher in exchange for a full review, in which case they’ll be reviewed separately. But I do like to keep track of the books I’ve read and what I liked / disliked about them, and I read so much that I don’t have time to write full reviews of everything. So here we go: the first of the weekly book review lists.
A few months ago, I read an article – I think it was in Vogue magazine – about this person who’d written a debut novel and managed to get an unprecedented advance for it. She sounded interesting, and the novel sounded like it’d be right up my street, mainly because the article said it was about growing up in a cult, which I did.
And then a couple of weeks ago, a copy of a book dropped through my letterbox and I started reading it. I didn’t make the connection until I was a few chapters in, and then I thought, Wait a minute. This is that book.