Books of the year

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAAt the beginning of 2012, I set myself the challenge of reading 50 books and signed up to Goodreads, a website which makes it easy and satisfying to track your progress.  I generally stick to fiction; however, this year I wanted to include some non-fiction (NF) as well. Here is the list of the 52 books that I read (and a couple that I listened to because it’s such a chore having to hold a book when you’re lying on the beach, isn’t it).

■Florence and Giles by John Harding
■Adult Learners’ Guide to Spelling by Anne Betteridge (NF)
■The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
■The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson
■Apartment 16 by Adam Nevill
■The Hunt in the Forest by John Burnside
■The Girl with Glass Feet by Ali Shaw
■The Bestseller by Stephen Leather
■The Joy of Talk by Kit Fraser (NF)
■The Maeve Binchy Writers’ Club by Maeve Binchy (NF)
■The Help by Kathryn Stockett
■Deaf Sentence by David Lodge
■The Report by Jessica Francis Kane
■City of Thieves by David Benioff
■Le Bal by Irene Nemirovsky
■Bad Attitudes by Agnes Owens
■The Child Inside by Suzanne Bugler
■Organize Yourself by Ronni Eisenberg (NF)
■The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
■The Invention of Dr Cake by Andrew Motion
■A Kind Man by Susan Hill
■Before I Go to Sleep by S J Watson
■Secret by Philippe Grimbert
■The Woman in the Fifth by Douglas Kennedy
■Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death by M C Beaton
■Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
■The Fifteen Minute Rule by Caroline Buchanan (NF)
■Talking It Over by Julian Barnes
■SUMO (Shut Up, Move On) by Paul McGee (NF)
■Sew Your Own by John-Paul Flintoff (NF)
■Truth to Tell by Mavis Cheek
■The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin (NF)
■The Accidental by Ali Smith
■The Art of Happiness by Dalai Lama (NF)
■Today by David Miller
■Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman
■Breakfast at the Hotel Deja Vu by Paul Torday
■The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
■The Idle Traveller: The Art of Slow Travel by Dan Kieran (NF)
■Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James
■The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides (audio book)
■Rip it up by Richard Wiseman (NF)
■The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson (NF)
■How it all Began by Penelope Lively (audio book)
■How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie (NF)
■Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus by John Gray (NF)
■Get Everything Done and Still Have Time to Play by Mark Forster (NF)
■Perfume by Patrick Suskind
■N-W by Zadie Smith
■Bullet Points by Mark Watson
■Fifty Sheds of Grey by C T Grey
■Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain (NF)

My personal award for favourite fiction book of the year goes to The Girl with Glass Feet by Ali Shaw.  It had me held from the outset.  It is magical and fantastic yet strangely plausible, simultaneously sad and uplifting, beautifully written and completely enchanting.  What more could you ask for?  It’s not the kind of book that I would normally choose to read but it was on special offer on Kindle so I bought it, which just proves that it’s important to go for something that doesn’t appeal.

My favourite non-fiction award goes to The Idle Traveller: The Art of Slow Travel by Dan Kieran.  I’ve always been regarded as a bit strange: I take a bus instead of the tube; I drive the long and winding scenic route instead of zooming down the motorway; I’ve toyed with the idea of taking a train to southern Spain instead of a flight; I often enjoy the journey more than the arrival; I got a buzz out of the disruption caused by the volcanic ash, which left me stranded in Rome for almost a week.  It seems I’m not alone after all and this book confirms it.  I saw it reviewed in a national newspaper and was drawn to it for obvious reasons.  It’s so easy for these reviews to slip from your mind but Kindle allows them to be delivered instantly, which in this case was a blessing.

Who do your book awards go to this year?

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6 Responses to Books of the year

  1. tartanpants says:

    Well done on meeting your challenge goals! I am pondering a reading challenge, if I go for it I will be referring to your list!

    • seaswift says:

      Thank you. What sort of challenge were you thinking of? I’m trying to decide on one for next year but I want to spend more time writing and crafting so it will have to be less ambitious.

      • tartanpants says:

        Well, I have got one challenge sorted, knitting socks! But am still not decided on what else to take part in. I want to devote time to improving my blog so whatever else I choose will need to be just a small challenge – don’t want to get overwhelmed!

      • seaswift says:

        We often set ourselves challenges that are too ambitious – smaller challenges are more do-able so we are more likely to remain motivated and succeed.

  2. All those books – well done! I only tend to read non-fiction, and dip in and out of them. The two that stick in my mind that I’ve read recently are ‘Parenting Without the Power Struggles’ by Susan Stiffelman and ‘Getting Things Done’ by David Allen. Are you setting yourself the challenge for next year as well?

    • seaswift says:

      I read a lot of parenting books when my children were younger and I like any book that help with getting things done! I will have a challenge for next year – but not as ambitious because I want to spend more time writing and crafting. At the moment, I’m working my way through the top 10 psychology and philosophy books of 2012 as suggested by Brain Pickings.

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