Reading List 2017

Does exactly what it says on the tin, right? I managed three whole blog posts in 2016; I might try for four in 2017. Aim high, eh. And I couldn't help but feel a little irate that I only read 72 books last year - I used to easily top a hundred - but then, while the previous three years had the PhD as a limiting factor, 2016 had finishing the PhD, renovating a house, submitting the PhD, having another baby (a boy one, this time), the viva (the horror), our wedding and the PhD corrections (thankfully minor). So I guess I shouldn't feel too bad. Anyway, let's see how 2017 goes. I've got a huge pile of books that have been accumulating for years and if I get through even a quarter of them, plus review books and new buys, I'll be happy.

76. The Good Immigrant, ed. Nikesh Shukla. Essays on being BAME in Britain today. Just as brilliant/powerful/heartbreaking/invigorating as everyone's been saying.
75. Nasty Women, various. Collection of essays on living as a woman today with a particular focus on the Trump era: this was a massive crowdfunding success.
74. Women & Power: A Manifesto, Mary Beard. Adapted from her LRB lectures. Excellent.
73. Sing, Unburied, Sing, Jesmyn Ward. Beautiful and brutal. Review soon...
72. City of Mirrors, Justin Cronin. Satisfying conclusion! The trilogy isn't as good as the first book but it's still a very engrossing read.
71. The Twelve, Justin Cronin. Not as good as the first one, but compelling all the same.

70. The Passage, Justin Cronin. Read this a few years ago and now I've re-read it in advance of checking out the sequels. Really good, literate, post-acopolaptyc gore.
69. The Buried Giant, Kazuo Ishiguro. Not bad. I enjoyed it but probably won't re-read.
68. A Natural, Ross Raisin. Really compelling and astute novel about football and masculinity. A fantastic read.
67. Transit, Rachel Cusk. Excellent and really psychologically acute.

66. Sputnik Caledonia, Andrew Crumey. Totally wierd and compelling sci-fi/political/bildungsroman/astrophysics mash-up of a novel. Really enjoyed it though not sure about some of the gender politics.
65. Blood and Guts in High School, Kathy Acker. Pretty mental stuff. Admired more than enjoyed.
64. Smile, Roddy Doyle. Loved this up until the last few pages. Doyle's so good on men and Dublin and with dialogue.
63. Hotel, Joanna Walsh. Non-fiction/auto-fiction; thoughts on hotels, home, marriage, Freud, language. Really interesting.
62. They Shoot Horses, Don't They?, Horace McCoy. Intense and depressing: good stuff!
61. Conversations With Friends, Sally Rooney. Debut novel; interesting.
60. Dinner at the Centre of the Earth, Nathan Englander. Novel. Review coming soon.
59. Bad Feminist, Roxane Gay. More essays, mostly on feminism and race. Excellent.

58. Shrill, Lindy West. Feminist essays: quick, funny, and very good.
57. Protest: Stories of Resistance, ed. Ra Page. Story anthology - well worth a look. Review here.
56. Men Explain Things to Me, Rebecca Solnit. Essays on feminism (a brilliant read).
55. The Faraway Nearby, Rebecca Solnit. Essays about illness and landscape and change.
54. Chernobyl Prayer, Svetlana Alexievich. Non-fiction about the reactor disaster in 1986. Horrific. Should be required reading everywhere (especially in government offices...)

53. Karate Chop/Minna Needs Rehearsal Space, Dorthe Nors. A collection and a novella: I especially enjoyed the novella (Minna).
52. So Happy It Hurts, Anneliese Mackintosh. Epistolatory novel.
51. The Idiot, Elif Batuman. Debut novel. Review here.
50. The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, Arundhati Roy. Review coming.
49. The Tsar of Love and Techno, Anthony Marra. Intense, funny, sad, and set partly in Chechnya, which is a new one for me. Review here.
48. Home Fire, Kamila Shamsie. Excellent novel. Review here.

47. Flaneuse, Lauren Elkin. Non-fiction about women and cities. Mixed feelings about this one. Review here.
46. Green Glowing Skull, Gavin Corbett. Totally mad novel. Flann O'Brien, Chris Adrian, Kelly Link and Pynchon meet The Three Tenors. No idea what was happening by the end but loved the journey!
45. Madame Zero, Sarah Hall. Fantastic, powerful story collection. Review here.
44. A Horse Walks Into A Bar, David Grossman. Very, very intense. Review here.
43. My Shitty Twenties, Emily Morris. Brilliant, funny memoir about single parenthood. (Disclosure: Emily's my friend, but the book really is a great read.)
42. Room Little Darker, June Caldwell. Story collection. Review here.
41. The Tryst, Monique Roffey. Erotic novella. Interesting (though not my usual thing!). Review here.

40. The Power, Naomi Alderman. A cracking, thought-provoking read.
39. No Harm Done, Jean McGarry. Intense story collection.
38. The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, Arundhati Roy. Mad complicated but worth the effort. Review here.
37. Eileen, Ottessa Moshfegh. Fantastic. Shirley Jackson-esque.
36. The Red Parts: Autobiography of a Trial, Maggie Nelson. Memoir. Great stuff.

35. Torpor, Christ Kraus. Loose prequel to I Love Dick. Loved it. Review here.
34. A Little Life, Hanya Yanagihara. Late to the party with this one. Totally blew me away.
33. The Essex Serpent, Sarah Perry. Captivating.
32. To Be A Machine, Mark O'Connell. Fascinating non-fiction look at transhumanism. Review here.
31. The Dogs of Inishere, Alannah Hopkin. Story collection; review here.

30. The Portable Veblen, Elizabeth McKenzie. Nails the whole family/in-law dynamic. A lot better than I expected after the first couple of chapters.
29. The Iron Age, Arja Kajermo. Deceptively brutal story of a Finnish childhood. Review here.
28. The Living End, Stanley Elkin. The Inferno, sort of updated. Mostly very funny; one unfunny rape joke. Hmm.
27. The Night Visitors, Jenn Ashworth & Richard V. Hirst. Properly creepy ghost story.
26. The Blood Miracles, Lisa McInerney. A reread for research. What book!
25. Making Space, Sarah Tierney. Debut novel. A girl adrift falls for a hoarder. Review here.
24. The Glorious Heresies, Lisa McInerney. Interviewing Lisa soon, so this was a research reread. Still brilliant!
23. The Lauras, Sara Taylor. Road trip novel. Good stuff on gender but didn't grab me much otherwise. Preferred The Shore.
22. The Wake, Paul Kingsnorth. Totally fantastic. Brutal and inventive and compelling, and man, an object lesson in characterisation and the intricacies of first person narration and voice.

21. Cold Water, Gwendoline Riley. Second time in a row - wanted to get the nuances before I taught it.
20. Lincoln in the Bardo, George Saunders. Pretty odd, quirky, sad - I prefer his short fiction but I did enjoy this.
19. Cold Water, Gwendoline Riley. Short but intense; very Mancunian.
18. NW, Zadie Smith. A reread for teaching purposes; just as good as I remembered. Still her best, though I haven't yet read Swing Time.
17. The Embassy of Cambodia, Zadie Smith. A good story but packaging as a hardback book is a bit cheeky imo.
16. Hangsaman, Shirley Jackson. Horrendously realistic and tense (as you'd expect).
15. The Witchfinder's Sister, Beth Underdown. Fantastic first novel - literary historical, massively tense and beautifully written. Prize nominations ahoy, I reckon.
14. Veronica, Mary Gaitskill. Interesting, but not my favourite of hers.
13. Rockadoon Shore, Rory Gleeson. Captivating debut novel about a bunch of teenagers on holidays. Funny but very sad, too.

12. Grief is the Thing with Feathers, Max Porter. Just as sad as I expected it to be, but hopeful too.
11. The Notebook, Agota Kristof. Chilling story of wartime.
10. The Blood Miracles, Lisa McInerney. Fantastic second novel; review here.
9. Leaving is my Colour, Amy Burns. Really funny debut novel; especially great on family tensions.
8. Hame, Annalena McAfee. Very, very long novel; the history and writings of a fiction Scottish poet on his island island. Review here.
7. A Line Made By Walking, Sara Baume. Her second novel; clever and sad. Review here.
6. Orange Horses, Maeve Kelly. Super collection. Review here.
5. The Nix, Nathan Hill. Really entertaining, a great read, but not the Most Amazing Book Ever as per some US reviews... My review here.

4. Homegoing, Yaa Gyasi. Fascinating novel if you're interested in black history and the slave trade (read it!) or if you like family sagas. Review here.
3. Chelsea Girls, Eileen Myles. Fabulous novel-slash-memoir. Loved it.
2. You Too Can Have A Body Like Mine, Alexandra Kleeman. Very weird but captivating novel. Review here.
1. The Outrun, Amy Liptrot. Memoir about alcoholism and recovery, but really great when it comes to talking about Orkney and island life/history.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That sounds like a busy year -- congrats on Baby! And well done for reading 72 books. I read about 3 adult books; the rest were all kids' or YA. My TBR pile spits at me when I walk past.