…well actually it is now technically last year of course. But that didn’t quite have the same ring to it. If you follow me on Instagram, you will know that I often share the books that I am currently reading and for the last year or so, I have been taking a picture at the end of each month of the books that I have mostly been reading. It’s so lovely to be able to talk books over there plus it’s such a great way of finding recommendations from other people who enjoy similar books to me. Many of the books I read are now recommendations from my Instagram chums. Although I am still working my way through my own bookshelves too. One thing is for sure, my to be read pile just keeps on getting bigger and bigger which is only a good thing of course!
When my children were very small, I just didn’t have the time to read and if I did have a spare minute then I couldn’t concentrate for long enough to enjoy a book. I missed it so much and I promised myself that when I had more time on my hands, I would make a real effort to read again and so I have done just that. I nearly always have a book on the go these days and my favourite thing of all is starting a new week with a new book.
I set up a Pinterest board to keep track of the books that I read last year and worked out that I have read something like 39 books which I am pretty happy with. When I first set out to write this post, it was with the intention of picking my top ten books of 2014 but actually, I soon realised that would be impossible. I was so lucky to read so many great books in the last year that I couldn’t possibly choose between them let alone put them in any sort of order! I think one of the reasons why I rarely write proper book reviews here is because every book I read is quite often My Favourite Book Ever until I read the next one. What can I say, I LOVE BOOKS! There are some books that have really stood out though and would wholeheartedly recommend. So, here they are (in no particular order)
Wonder by RJ Palacio was recommended to me on Twitter by one of my very favourite authors Jill Mansell. It really is an outstanding book and I have since passed it on to Mr Mostly and my teenagers to read. It tells the story of a boy who was born with a terrible facial abnormality and is about to start school for the first time. It was an astonishingly moving book and I think something that we can all learn from. Definitely a lesson in kindness that will stay with me forever.
Life after Life by Kate Atkinson was recommended to me by my pal Victoria and is without doubt one of my favourite books of all time. The premise of the book is what if you had the chance to live your life again and again, until you finally got it right? It really is a very clever concept I have never read a book quite like it. It was beautifully written and I became ridiculously attached to the characters, especially Ursula Todd who we follow over the turbulent events of the last century again and again.
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt definitely lived up to the hype for me. It is a huge book, I mean physically huge. I couldn’t wait for it to come out in paperback and bought the hardback edition which weighed a tonne. Seriously. But it was well worth the arm ache. I’ve never read anything by Tartt before but I was blown away by just how descriptive her writing was. In fact, at times it was exhausting to read because there was just so much to take in but this was a book that I enjoyed taking my time over. It tells the story of Theo Decker who survives an accident that otherwise tears his life apart. It’s such a haunting story of love, loss and fate and the vivid characters will stay with me for a long time.
The Snow Child by Fowyn Ivey has been sat on my bookshelf for years and I can’t believe that I am so late to the party with this one but better late than never, eh? For me it felt very much like a fairytale for grownups. Only the best fairytale you have ever read. It is set in a very harsh background of Alaska in 1920 and I think that somehow makes the delicacy of the tale all the more extraordinary. Jack and Mabel are a childless couple drifting apart through loneliness and despair. They build a child out of snow in the season’s first snowfall but in the morning, the snow child is gone and a little girl called Faina suddenly appears from the woods. I found myself completely lost in this book, it was so beautiful.
In Your Prime by India Knight will without doubt be my bible on how to be older, wiser and happier from here on in. I adore Knight and am quite sure that she is the bossy friend that is missing from my life. The book is part manual, part memoir and covers just about everything you need to know about getting older with confidence and panache. It made me laugh and cry in equal measure but at the heart of the book is some seriously good advice and I will be back to read it time and time again. Every woman facing forty (or fifty, or even sixty) should be armed with this book.
What have your favourite books been this year? It won’t surprise you to know that I would love to hear your recommendations. Oh and what is on your to be read pile right now? I’m actually thinking of revisiting some of my old favourites this month. January is always so gloomy, isn’t it? I can’t think of a better way to brighten it up than by revisiting some old comfort reads. Happy New Year folks!