So everyone else is doing it, here’s mine. These aren’t all the books I read this year, but these are the ones I want to mention.
The knock-out book for me:
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. Possibly my favourite book for the last few years.
Biggest surprise of the year:
Addition, Toni Jordan. This book made me laugh and it made me cry and at one point I was reading it with my hands over my mouth. I don’t think this has ever happened. I’m not sure what I was expecting. Chick lit? This isn’t chick lit. It was great. Made me also read Nine Days, and I enjoyed that too. I’m now a fan.
Others I read easily and enjoyed very much and would recommend (about the only criteria I can use these days):
Eyrie, Tim Winton (liked more than Breath, because of the story and characters, but not as much as Cloudstreet and Dirt Music.)
The Dinner, Herman Koch
Triptych, Krissy Kneen
May We Be Forgiven, AM Homes (this might have been last year but anyway, adored this)
Olive Kitteridge, Elizabeth Strout
Salt Story, Sarah Drummond
Mateship with Birds, Carrie Tiffany
The Hours, Michael Cunningham
The Comfort of Strangers, Ian McEwan
Cairo, Chris Womersley (Bereft still my fave, tho’)
Beyond Black, Hilary Mantel
Wrecked, Charlotte Roche (loved her Wetlands. This was good. Different.)
How to Be a Woman, Caitlin Moran
High Sobriety, Jill Stark
Re-read Winton’s The Turning after seeing the film. Made more sense of it.
Re-reading Tartt’s The Secret History (for the third time) after finishing Goldfinch. I think she is amazing.
Books I am ambivalent about but want to list anyway because I am still thinking about them:
The Narrow Road to the Deep North, Richard Flanagan
Barracuda, Christos Tsiolkas
Books I am reading, including some I have been reading since much earlier this year. I intend to finish these especially The Luminaries. It feels a bit like my bête noire at the moment in that I’m avoiding it — I just read a book about rockspiders for chrissakes as avoidance — but I am determined to finish it because I love what she’s done with the form and I love the ambition and audacity of the whole thing. Good on her.
The Burial, Courtney Collins
The Luminaries, Eleanor Catton
Stasiland, Anna Funder
HHhH, Laurent Binet
The Tall Man, Chloe Hooper
Where’d You Go, Bernadette, Maria Semple
The Temple of the Golden Pavilion, Yukio Mishima
The Big Music, Kirsty Gunn
The Heart Broke In, James Meek
Sweet Tooth, Alex Miller
Books that disappointed me:
All That Is, James Salter (didn’t finish, loved A Sport and A Pastime. Didn’t like this one. Abandoned.)
Some of my To Be Read pile:
Tenth of December, George Saunders
The Swan Book, Alexis Wright
That Deadman Dance, Kim Scott
A Death in the Family, Karl Ove Knausgaard
Selected Stories, Alice Munro
Fish-Hair Woman, Merlinda Bobis
The Testament of Mary, Colm Toibin
So that’s about it.