2018 - My Year in Books
Happy New Year! This year has been a quiet year of writing for me, although not entirely without success. Three pieces of flash fiction came third in Flash 500, third in the Ruth Rendell Short Story Prize (for which I went to a prize-ceremony in London to hear my story read by an actor!) and highly commended in the TSS Flash Fiction Competition.
I have spent the last five months or so doing something I hadn’t planned at all. I have written a novella-in-flash! I don’t think I even knew what that was a year ago! It has been so much fun to write and I’m moderately pleased with the draft so that has been a surprise bonus of my year. Even if nothing comes of it, it has caused me to write 18 new stories - not something I imagined was possible 12 months ago.
And so, to reading. I have read 26 books this year, and listened to a few more. Some of the books were flash fiction or non-fiction, but most were novels. Here is my 2018 novel-reading list ranked in order from my favourite:
- The End We Start From - Megan Hunter
- One - Sarah Crossan
- Gentlemen and Players - Joanne Harris
- The Muse - Jessie Burton
- The Millstone - Margaret Drabble
- Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine - Gail Honeyman
- Larry’s Party - Carol Shields
- The Last Battle - CS Lewis
- The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle - Stuart Turton
- Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit - Jeanette Winterson
- Midwinter Break - Bernard MacLaverty
- Snobs - Julian Fellowes
- Blue-Eyed Boy - Joanne Harris
- Friend Request - Laura Marshall
- Breakdown - BA Paris
- The Housekeeper - Suellen Dainty
- The Beach Wedding - Dorothy Koomson
- The Girl Next Door - Ruth Rendell
The first four on this list all scored 10⁄10 from me - really recommend them all, although they are all very different! Because I loved Gentlemen and Players and the other book in the trilogy, Different Class (read last year), I was disappointed not to enjoy Blue-Eyed Boy nearly as much. Not as disappointed as I was with The Girl Next Door, however. I’ve enjoyed some Ruth Rendell on the radio, but this was the first time I tried to read one of her books and I didn’t think much of it at all. Somebody recommend me one of hers that is good please, as I’d love to try again!
Of my non-novel list of books, my favourites were I Am, I Am, I Am by Maggie O’Farrell, and This is Going to Hurt by Adam. Kay. 10⁄10 for both of those. I also recommend, How to Make a Window Snake (a collection of novellas-in-flash), The Good Women of China by Xinran, and the flash fiction collection from Freya Morris, This is (not about) David Bowie. I also read:
- Out of the Woods - Will Cohu
- Raising Boys - Steven Biddulph
- My Very End of the Universe (novellas-in-flash collection)
- The Diary of a Bookseller - Shaun Bythell
What did you read in 2018? Anything I should read in 2019?
May 2019 bring you happiness, good books, and all the right words in all the right order.