2015 wasn't a spectacular reading year for me but I've still managed to pick ten books from the forty-five that I read. It's still a varied list with two non-fiction novels, two fantasy books, three modern classics and one thriller. I'm writing this post right now on my phone whilst at a beach resort with a crappy internet connection so please forgive the brief descriptions of each book. Here's my top ten of 2015 in no particular order.
The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante
The final novel in the Neapolitan series. It's as brilliant as the previous ones.
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
The last book I read this year and exactly what I needed after the longest book slump. Light, fantastic, intriguing and magical.
The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson
Funny, bizarre and so interesting.
Thus Were Their Faces by Silvina Ocampo
I'm not a big fan of short stories but these ones were truly haunting and unforgettable. My favorite one was The Imposter.
The Invention of Morel by Adolfo Bioy Casares
A fugitive hides out at a deserted island where nothing is as it seems. Sublime.
Mayumi and the Sea of Happiness by Jennifer Tseng
A lovely book about a very taboo love affair.
Silence by Shusaku Endo
A truly profound novel about Portugese missionary priests in 16th century Japan.
Mr Mercedes by Stephen King
This cat and mouse thriller was the best crime novel I've read all year. It's the first of a trilogy. The second one, Finders Keepers, was just as good.
The Unfortunate Importance of Beauty by Amanda Filipacchi
Loved this highly original, weird and whimsical novel that reads like a fairy tale. Two friends, one beautiful and one not, and their quest to find true love.
Love is a Mixed Time - Love and Loss One Song at a Time by Rob Sheffield
I chose this for my book club and although only one other person enjoyed it, I still loved this heartbreaking memoir about Rolling Stones' writer, Rob Sheffield, and his wife Renee.
I know I haven't been blogging much during the past few years but I always make it a point to post a year end list. If you are still reading my blog then thank you. If you are on instagram and still interested to see what I'm reading then please do check out @theliterarystew. I seem to be posting more there these days. Happy New Year everyone!
Thursday, December 31, 2015
Sunday, December 27, 2015
Books Read in 2015
1. An Untamed State by Roxane Gay ***
2. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins ****
3. Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld (reread) *****
4. Just Kids by Patti Smith ****
5. Silence by Shusaku Endo *****
6. The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson *****
7. The True Deceiver by Tove Jansson ***
8. A Small Indiscretion by Jan Ellison ***
9. And the Sea Will Tell by Vincent Bugliosi **
10. Hausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum ***
11. Matilda by Roald Dahl ****
12. This Can't be Happening at McDonald Hall by Gordon Korman (reread) *****
13. The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson *****
14. So You've Been Shamed by Jon Ronson ****
15. The Bullet by Mary Louise Kelly ***
16. Go Jump in the Pool! by Gordon Korman (reread) *****
17. The Invention of Morel by Adolfo Bioy Casares *****
18. Journey by Moonlight by Antal Szerb **
19. Cassandra at the Wedding by Dorothy Baker ***
20. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr **
21. Disclaimer by Renee Knight **
22. Mayumi and the Sea of Happiness by Jennifer Tseng *****
23. The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter ****
24. Chocky by John Wyndham ****
25. This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper ***
26. Love is a Mix Tape: Life and Loss, One Song at a Time by Rob Sheffield *****
27. The Stranger by Albert Camus ***
28. Talking to Girls about Duran Duran by Rob Sheffield *****
29. Turn Around Bright Eyes by Rob Sheffield ***
30. Little Girl Blue, The Life of Karen Carpenter ***
31. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky ****
32. The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante ****
33. Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee ***
34. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes ****
35. The Mysterious Death of Jane Austen by Lindsay Ashford **
36. The Vanishing by Tim Krabbe ***
37. The Unfortunate Importance of Beauty by Amanda Filipacchi *****
38. Emma Vol.1 by Kaoru Mori ***
39. Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King *****
40. Finders Keepers by Stephen King *****
41. The Good Soldier by Ford Maddox Ford ****
42. The Elementals by Mchael McDowell **
42. The Sound of Things Falling by Juan Gabriel Vasquez ***
43. In a Dark Dark Wood by Ruth Ware ***
44. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs *****
45. Thus Were Their Faces by Silvina Ocampo
Tuesday, July 14, 2015
I got immense reading pleasure in discovering new writers particularly a married Argentinian couple I'd never heard of before, Adolfo Bioy Casares and Silvina Ocampo. They are my current literary crushes. Both were friends and contemporaries of Jose Luis Borges and are published by NYRB. The Invention of Morel by Casares was brilliant and I'm still reading the haunting short stories Thus Were Their Faces by Ocampo. These books have nothing in common at all with Ferrante's novels other than being translated fiction. But this is what I mean when I say that Elena Ferrante led me to them somehow and they in turn will lead me to others. Ferrante, through her publisher, Europa Editions, also led me to Mayumi and the Sea of Happiness by Jennifer Tseng which I reviewed in my previous post. I had never heard of the author but I simply had to read it. Its risqué plot didn't turn me off because Elena Ferrante has taught me that yes, we might not always agree with the protagonists in the books we read but we also can't judge their choices. Everyone is fighting their own battles after all.