2015 wasn’t the best reading year for me. I struggled with a large and lengthy reading slump around the middle of the year, and while I think it has passed, I have to say it doesn’t necessarily feel like my reading has picked up and resumed its earlier pace. I gave myself quite a hard time about it—I hated not blogging, not having any books I wanted to write about, and being disinterested by reading as a whole —and it took me a little while to remind myself that I read and blog for fun and there’s no point in beating myself up about it, and to remember to be kind to myself. I suppose when reading is such a large part of your identity, the realisation that you’re not really enjoying it changes things in a way. But anyway, on to my favourite books of the year. One thing the reading slump has meant is that it’s been relatively easy to pick! Clicking on each book’s title will take you through to my original review, if you fancy a read!
This was the first book I finished in 2015 and I still think about it. Macdonald’s writing is simply beautiful and wonderful; the way she articulates her grief and loss is remarkable. I love the vividness of her writing, the way it instantly makes the scene appear around you. If I had to pick just one favourite from last year, it would be this book. I’d reread it in an instant.
The second Donna Tartt novel I’ve read, and it’s one I love. One of the things I remember most about this book is the way in which Tartt drew me into the group and mesmerised me by feeding me glimpses of these intriguing people. I liked how the book made me think and placed me in a curious position: one where my preferred characters shifted and whose ‘side’ I was on changed too until I realised I wasn’t on any of them. Tartt’s writing is wonderful, too.
It was quite a tough call between Wood’s short story collection Diving Belles and her debut novel Weathering because both are excellent. I opted for Diving Belles simply because I love how the collection is all linked by the Cornish coast, and how Wood has weaved mythology, magic, folklore and the sea into this wonderful set of stories. The stories remind me of old tales perhaps told around a campfire, myths that are bedded deeply into a place. There were many stories I loved and many have lingered in my mind.
As with Bakker’s other novels I loved the sparseness of the prose in June, the spaces between what is said and left unsaid, and the palpable tension this creates. It’s a resonant novel and one I still find myself thinking about it. I loved the cast of characters and the non-linear storyline which moves between past and present and different characters’ days.
This is a book which made me look at my life and why I find it difficult to ask people for people and why this can cause me quite a lot of anxiety. It certainly made me feel that I’m not alone in this. Most importantly, it’s a book which has made me take action – I’ve been making a conscious effort not to worry about asking for help and instead place myself in that somewhat vulnerable position where I can ask for help and it’s okay if people say no. It also spurred me on to submit some of my fiction writing to magazines.
Can I put a reread on this list? I’ve decided I can. Peter and Alice is one of my favourite plays and rereading it last year reminded me why. It’s a compelling play which looks at the two people who inspired famous characters from fiction: Alice from Alice in Wonderland and Peter from Peter Pan. It’s a powerful and thought-provoking piece of writing, and a moving and imaginative play.
Have you read any of these books? If you’ve written a post on your top books of 2015, please link it in the comments!