One of my goals for 2017 was to read more books and I took it so seriously that I set myself the challenge of reading 20 this year. I ended up surprising myself by reading 27 books in total.
To celebrate this I wanted to go through some of the books I got lost in this year because I read some good’uns in the last 12 months. Plus, I love a reason to create another ‘end of year’ list.
Let’s begin! And remember, reading is what? FUN-DA-MEN-TAL.
*NO SPOILERS INCLUDED*
The book that’s worth the hype: The Girl on The Train, Paula Hawkins.
I swear at one point the whole of London was reading this book on the commute into work and I now get why everyone was obsessed with it! Thriller isn’t my usual go-to genre for books, but I breezed through this one easily. It helped that the story was set in places I knew (big up Euston!) because that really helped with visualising the story.
The book I wish I never read: High Fidelity, Nick Hornby.
God, if a book ever felt like the biggest waste of my time it’s this one. The funny thing is I bought this book back in 2016, read the first chapter and gave up because I just couldn’t get into it. Fast-forward to 2017 and I made it past the first chapter and wish I never bothered. The whole thing was slow, predictable and extremely heterosexual. The main character works in a record store that thinks The Beatles were the greatest band ever. I should have known from this alone that it was going to be a garbage read.
The book that left me #SHOOK: The Husband’s Secret, Liane Moriarty.
I was obsessed with the TV adaptation of Big Little Lies earlier this year and when I heard the author, Liane Moriarty, had other books my mum strongly recommended I check this one out. The best way to describe Moriarty’s style is: Desperate Housewives, in Australia. The story here is one of suburban scandal and drama and of course one big secret that threatens to tear everything apart. The best thing about this book was that there wasn’t a neat and tidy ending where everything is resolved and everyone goes back to normal. That secret really fucked things up!
The book that made me cry: Christodora, Tim Murphy.
At times it was hard to follow this book as it jumped between time periods, but after I got into the rhythm of Murphy’s style I was fine. The story touches on a lot of topics, including drug abuse, the AIDS crisis, family, identity and regret. It made for some really hard and disturbing reading in some chapters, but it was necessary to the overall story. I would explain the book more but then I’d have to give away a lot of the story. A word of warning though, it’s not for the light-hearted and if you are going to read this book then dedicate your time to it. It’s a lot.
The book that made me piss myself laughing: Wishful Drinking, Carrie Fisher.
After reading books about rape, abuse, murder and sex workers, I needed something light to read. I was recommended any of Carrie Fisher’s books and went with her memoir. Fisher’s death was a huge loss to Hollywood and her trademark dry sense of humour is all over this account of her early life, her days as Princess Leia and battling mental health. It was such a good read I finished it within the day.
The book that still doesn’t make any sense to me: A Fortunate Age, Joanna Rakoff.
I did the stupid thing of buying this book based on the cover because I thought it was pretty. Lesson learned there. This story went on for at least 300 pages too long and while I understood the premise of the story was that all the characters were college friends dealing with the varied struggles of adult life, nothing ever happened. Plus the ending was such a non-event it left a bad taste in my mouth.
The book that I was pleasantly surprised by: The Rosie Project, Graeme Simsion.
A couple of lovely people on Twitter suggested I read this book after I put a request out for something funny and romantic. The main character reminded me of Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory (not a compliment at all) so I was a bit nervous about where the story would go. Fortunately there was enough genuine humour (unlike The Big Bang Theory) to keep me engaged. The cover has a lobster on it and by the end of the story you’ll know why. This one really put a smile on my face.
The book I’m obsessed with: Tales of The City, Armistead Maupin.
The fact that I’m a gay person who hasn’t read Armistead Maupin’s Tales of The City series is practically sacrilegious. After hefty recommendations from some lovely friends I checked out the first book in the 10-part series and my life has changed forever! The best way to describe Tales of The City is as if you’re reading the script to an excellent sitcom. The chapters are short and the story moves fast. It’s perfect. I’ve finished book three in the series and can’t wait to get into book number four.
The book that was the best read of the year: Small Great Things, Jodi Picoult.
Thank you to my mum for suggesting this book during one of our weekly Saturday morning phone calls. The title comes from a quote by Dr Martin Luther King and the story is about a black nurse who is blamed for the death of a baby belonging to a white supremacist couple. The book darts back and forth between the black nurse and the couple’s POV as they go to court, and as you can imagine there’s a lot of uncomfortable language used.
Part of the reason I enjoyed this book was because it was eerily relevant to 2017. The book even touches on how white supremacists have been told to blend into society and assimilate so they can recruit and spread their message to a wider audience. Hello! Charlottesville!
The story left me with a lot of think about, especially as white supremacy seems to still be a thing in 2017. Ugh. The ending was a little bit too superficial considering the subject, but that’s my only gripe with what was overall a devastatingly good read.