Of the 67 books I read this year it’s time to select the Top 10. (That total was a couple up from last year but quite a few less than the golden reading year of 2013). Getting in the Top 10 is important as only those hallowed tomes are allowed to remain on the bookshelves. In an annual book cull which seems to mark for me the end of the old year those that did not make the cut are already bagged up ready to donate to the library and charity shops and the unsuccessful e-books have been permanently deleted off the Kindle. It’s a tough world over at reviewsrevues – but it’s really only to stop me appearing on one of those hoarder documentaries or being discovered half-buried under collapsed piles of books. (Anyway, on the very same day as I cleared space on the Kindle I got excited about those Delphi Complete Classics editions on Amazon which has the complete works of writers for under £1 – so don’t think I’m depriving myself!) Without further ado here starts of the rundown of the ten best books I have read this year. (I haven’t restricted my list to those published this year but anything I read this year.) However, my reading habits must have changed as there are an unprecedented 6 out of the 10 that made their appearance in 2015. I have separated the eight books I re-read into their own list- otherwise the same books would win time after time. My favourite re-read will be announced in two posts time. 7 out of the ten books are by women. It’s been a great year for women writers at reviewsrevues. All of the 10 have been reviewed on this site- click on the titles to link to the full review.
10. Becoming Nancy- Terry Ronald (Corgi 2011) (Read in July- Reviewed in September)
Set in the late 70’s in East Dulwich this is a coming out story which is in turns sweet, romantic, coarse, gritty, tragic and funny. What more could you ask for? Debut novel from ex-pop star. Sent me glassy-eyed with nostalgia.
9. Spill Simmer Falter Wither – Sara Baume (Windmill 2015) (Read and reviewed in November)
The debut novel of 2015? It’s currently on shortlists for First Novel at The Costas and has just scooped Newcomer of the Year at the Irish Book Awards. Beautifully and powerfully written this is an extended love letter of one man to his dog. Watch this book pick up many more fans over the coming months.
8. I’ll Never Write My Memoirs – Grace Jones (Simon & Schuster 2015) (Read and reviewed in October)
Thank goodness you did, Grace…. This was the celebrity biography I had waited years to be written and I wasn’t disappointed. As told to music journalist Paul Morley the weird wonderful world of Grace Jones comes shining through.
7. Dear Blue Peter – Edited by Biddy Baxter (Short Books 2008) (Read in June- Reviewed in December)
Sheer unashamed entertainment and a genius way to celebrate Blue Peter’s 50th anniversary (back in 2008). Let the viewers do the work with a collection of their letters over the years, all itching for their Blue Peter badges. Reading this you can appreciate why this programme has been important to so many and why it has lasted so long. Very funny and well balanced between praise and criticism this is a real slice of Britishness.
6. Murders At White House Farm – Carol Ann Lee (Pan Macmillan 2015) (Read and reviewed in June)
The non-fiction book of the year as far as I am concerned this chilling and through account of events in 1985 at Tolleshunt D’Arcy, Essex which resulted in the murder of five members of the Bamber family and the trial and conviction of Jeremy Bamber. Painstakingly researched. I was delighted to interview author Carol Ann Lee. I thought it might set me off on a true crime reading spree but that hasn’t happened yet but I’m still keeping the titles Carol Ann recommended on my To Be Read list.
Next post – The Top 5 – All novels, three published in 2015.