Annual books and charts time!

As I’ve done over the past few years, (2017, 2016, 2015) I’m rounding up my reading for the year with some lists and pointless graphs. I’ve managed exactly 52 books so far (may squeeze in another before year’s end), the full list is at the end, and not counting work related books. This year I read a lot of crime, which worries me a bit. I used to challenge myself with books, but I have a concern that I’m doing this less now, and crime novels are kind of comforting and escapist, with their neat resolutions. I don’t want to disparage them as a genre, after all, I read them. But my concern is that either because I’m getting old, or because of the shit storm the world is right now, I’m not quite as adventurous in my taste as I was. As if to demonstrate this, here is the first graph, with breakdown by genre:

I read many more women writers than men this year, partly because I find women to be better crime writers but also because when I wasn’t reading crime, the books that I felt had the most to say were usually by women.

In terms of format, I was all in for audio books this year. I had a spate of reading physical books in the middle of the year. Interestingly, in comparison with a few years ago, I read no kindle books this year.

I re-read a few classics this year, so I’ll exclude them from my top ten as it’s probably not fair. So although most of these weren’t published this year, here are my favourite reads from 2018:

  • Wire in the Blood – Val McDermid
  • Wolf Hall – Hilary Mantel
  • Notes on a Scandal – Zoe Heller
  • Just Kids – Patti Smith
  • Mythos – Stephen Fry
  • The Haunting of Hill House – Shirley Jackson
  • Americanah – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • Wise Children – Angela Carter
  • Snap – Belinda Bauer
  • Circe – Madeline Millar

Of these, if I was to pick one, I’d go for Circe. Madeline Millar’s fictional take on the life of the witch in the Odyssey had a lot to say about the portrayal of women in myth, how they deal with powerful men children, as well as being beautifully written and a lot of fun too. Mind you, on another day, it’d probably be Wise Children.

If you’re interested here is the full list:
1. White Silence – Jodi Taylor
2. David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
3. Cosmos – Carl Sagan
4. Wire in the Blood – Val McDermid
5. The Homegoing – Yaa Gyasi
6. Prisoners of Geography – Tim Marshall
7. Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
8. Fatherland – Robert Harris
9. Pompeii – Mary Beard
10. The Last Testament – Val McDermid
11. October – China Mieville
12. Wolf Hall – Hilary Mantel
13. Jamaica Inn – Daphne Du Maurier
14. The Muse – Jessie Burton
15. Out of Bounds – Val McDermid
16. A Brief History of seven killings – Marlon James
17. Northanger Abbey – Jane Austen
18. Belonging – Simon Schama
19. London – Peter Ackroyd
20. Enemies of the System – Brian Aldiss
21. Notes on a Scandal – Zoe Heller
22. The Snowman – Jo Nesbo
23. Even Dogs in the Wild – Ian Rankin
24. Mysogynation – Laura Bates
25. Doughnut economics – Kate Raworth
26. The Welsh Girl – Peter Ho Davies
27. 1984 – George Orwell
28. just kids – Patti Smith
29. Bring up the bodies – Hilary Mantel
30. Deep country – Neil Ansell
31. Otter country – Miriam Darlington
32. Raven Black – Ann Cleaves
33. Zombies, a cultural history – Roger Luckhurst
34. Murder Underground – Mavis Doriel Hay
35. Mythos – Stephen Fry
36. Death comes to Pemberley – PD James
37. The Germans and Europe – Peter Millar
38. Splinter the Silence – Val McDermid
39. Silent Voices – Anne Cleeves
40. Bulletcatchers daughter – Rod Duncan
41. The Haunting of Hill House – Shirley Jackson
42. Americanah – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
43. The clocks – Agatha Christie
44. Wise children – Angela Carter
45. Snap – Belinda Bauer
46. The house at sea’s end – Elly Griffiths
47. Circe – Madeline Millar
48. Crow trap – Ann Cleaves
49. Babylon berlin – Volker Kutscher
50. Faceless killers – Henning Mankel
51. The relentless tide – Denzil Meyrick
52. The Gustav Sonata – Rose Tremain

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