For the first time this year, I've made a list of all the books I've picked up to read during 2014 - probably with half an eye on the post I'm now writing! I love a reading list, it's fascinating to find out what other people have read and enjoyed. Sometimes, if I'm honest, it's interesting to find out what people haven't enjoyed! But that's a bit of a minefield, so I'm going to dob out and keep to myself any books I abandoned by any writer now living, simply because I don't want to upset anybody.
Well, I started 43 books this year, actually more than I thought I would manage. I was wondering if I would manage one a week, and I haven't, especially when I factor in the fact that I actually finished 32 of them.
So - I gave up on Mrs Dalloway AGAIN. Will try it one more time in 2015 and if I still can't cope with it, I'll let my copy go. I also gave up on The French Lieutenant's Woman. What a disappointment that was! I thoroughly disliked the way it was written, in the end. I just wanted the narrator to SHUT UP and tell us the story. I can see what John Fowles was trying to do, but for me it didn't work. I still managed to read half of it though, before admitting defeat!
Here are the books I read in their entirety in 2014, in order of reading. All fiction unless stated otherwise:
The Things We Never Said by Susan Eliott Wright
Angel by Elizabeth Taylor
The Victorian Chaise Longue by Marghanita Laski
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
The Dynamite Room by Jason Hewitt
The Visitors by Rebecca Mascull
84 Charing Cross Road by Helen Hanff (memoir-ish)
The Night Rainbow by Claire King
Saplings by Noel Streatfeild
Never Had It So Good by Dominic Sandbrook (History)
A Garden of Earthly Delights by Joyce Carol Oates
The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida (memoir/self-help(?)
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows
When God Was a Rabbit by Sarah Winman
Case Histories by Kate Atkinson
Beasts by Joyce Carol Oates
Instructions for a Heatwave by Maggie O'Farrell
Regeneration by Pat Barker
Solutions for Novelists by Sol Stein (Writing How To)
Solutions for Writers by Sol Stein (Writing How To)
The Lemon Grove by Helen Walsh
The Sick Rose by Erin Kelly
Hester's Story by Adele Geras
The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy by Rachel Joyce
The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (the only re-read this year!)
The Ship by Antonia Honeywell
Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
The Reader by Bernhard Schlink
The Shining by Stephen King
The Testament of Vida Tremayne by Sarah Vincent
Throughout the year I've dipped into Philip Larkin's Collected Poems, and invariably found beauty and grace in those pages. My copy is definitely not destined for the charity shop.
And finally... I'm currently stuck into The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty. I rarely read or write short stories. I'm going to try to do both in the coming year.
Merry Christmas and all good wishes for 2015!
PS, thank you to Helen MacKinven whose blog post today inspired me to write this one. Hers is fabulous:
Monday, 1 December 2014
Is it really December again? I'm frantically trying to get everything organised - presents bought, trees chosen, cards made (yes, made - craft project with the kids). I enjoy all this fuss though, Christmas is a fun time of year despite the horrible weather and short days.
It's been a fantastic year. 2014 saw the publication of my novel Mrs Sinclair's Suitcase. I can't tell you what a thrill it's been, spotting my book in the shops, reading reviews (even the bad ones) and knowing that people are reading my novel. It's something I don't think I'll ever get used to.
All the Mrs Sinclairs on my bookshelves!
The beautiful Hungarian and Italian editions
I'm fortunate that Mrs S has also been published in several foreign languages. To date, Swedish, Norwegian, Hungarian, Hebrew, Italian and Spanish, and more to come in 2015. It's also available as an audio book. All of which brings me to my December Give Away!
The romantic Dutch edition
The Spanish version, using the UK hardback cover design
I am offering a copy of Mrs S in Spanish, Italian, Hungarian, Dutch or on MP3 CD (English). If you would like to win one of these editions, please reply to this post by midnight on Monday 8th December and I will pick a name at random on the Tuesday morning. I will post anywhere in the world, so if you would like to give your prize to somebody else, I will gift wrap it too (actually, I'll probably get my creative daughter to do the gift wrapping part!)
The English MP3 CD version (NB, does not play on a regular CD player. You need the MP3 thingummy-bob-bit! It does play on a PC though.)
I hope everybody has a wonderful December.