As I write this, I have read a whole 78 books this year and am currently on book 79, which is one more than last year already. With 3 weeks left to the year, 2 of which I am actually off work, then I fully expect the book tally to increase but am not going to pressure myself… No, that comes next year with my 50 Orenda books by my 50th birthday challenge that some of you may or may not have already read about. So, what books have stood out for me this year…? Well, if I am honest, there are quite a few but here are the top 10:
1. Death in the East by Abir Mukherjee – This one was an easy pick. I may be a little bit of a fan of the Sam Wyndham series and had been waiting all year for this to come out. There may have even been a little happy dance when I got my hands on a copy. I love history and this slice of historical fiction is just brilliant, taking you back to the time of British rule in India.
2. Block 46 by Johana Gustawsson – I had been dying to read this since it was published, in fact it was my determination to read it that helped spark the idea for the Year of Orenda books that will appear on this blog. With the timelines going between the present day and life in a concentration camp it can be brutal at times, but it also has a personal connection to the author and it is this that makes it just that little bit special.
3. The Sound of her Voice by Nathan Blackwell – This is the debut novel for the New Zealand author and boy is it exciting. Having heard him talk at Newcastle Noir, I just knew I had to read this book. The subject matter may not be for everyone but it is still very compelling. With the story spanning 20 years and shows real struggles in solving cases and the impact it can have on those investigating them, it is definitely one that should be on your reading list.
4. Worst Case Scenario by Helen Fitzgerald – After several messages from my sister telling me I needed to read it, I literally stopped what I was doing to read this book and finished it in a day. Despite the fact there were murders taking place, this book had me howling at times as I identified with the main character…. Yes, I am a serial flex offender.
5. A House of Ghosts by W.C Ryan – I was given a copy of this book last year by my sister as a Jolabokaflod (Icelandic Christmas Eve) present so had been on my TBR pile since then. This is a brilliantly written book that actually harks back to the era of Agatha Christie and definitely worth picking up.
6. The Way of All Flesh by Ambrose Parry – This was the debut novel by husband and wife writing team Chris Brookmyre and Marisa Haetzman. Set in Edinburgh in 1847 you follow Will Raven and Sarah Fisher as they try to uncover who is responsible for the deaths of several women against the backdrop of medicine of that time. All I can say is am soooo glad they have made so many advances when it comes to dealing with childbirth.
7. The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe – I will admit that I have a fascination with Auschwitz as I have never truly understood how human beings can do such things to fellow human beings, all out of what was essentially fear. This book is based on the life of Dita Kraus and her role in the childrens block in the camp as the keeper of the underground library. It is certainly part of the camp’s history I had never heard of before but is still harrowing to read
8. The Childrens Block by Otto B Kraus – Written by the husband of Dita Kraus (whose story is told in The Librarian of Auschwitz) it gives an account of the life in the childrens block. I will admit that the forward by Dita actually had me blubbing as she told of how she planned to go and visit his grave to tell him about how his story was going to be translated to English in the hope that he would hear her.
9. Dead Inside by Noelle Holton – This is Noelle’s debut novel and she is certainly an author to watch. This first book pulls no punches in its subject matter or the realities of life as a probation officer. I flew through this book in a day and am really looking forward to the next book in the series.
10. Thunder Bay by Douglas Skelton – Slow reader that I am, once again I was a little late to the party on reading this but it was worth the wait. Having listened to this author talk at a few book festivals, I did have to smile as I tried to match his personality against his writing. This book is dark and the ending was not what I expected but boy did I enjoy reading it.
So that’s my top 10 but there are some authors that I would also recommend as they produce books that are always at the top of my preorder list as soon as I know they are available and no I don’t even read the blurb – Angela Marsons, LJ Ross, James Oswald, Rachel Amphlett, Patricia Furstenberg and absolutely anything written by authors published by Orenda Books.
What’s in my plan for 2020??? Well I have the awesome challenge of reading 50 Orenda Titles by my 50th birthday in December and I also plan on catching up with the series written by the following authors – LJ Ross, Angela Marsons, James Oswald, Stuart MacBride to name but a few. Below are some other books that will be heading to the top of my TBR pile time permitting (well sleep is overrated anyway isn’t it?)
- Her Last Breath by Alison Belsham
- The Art of Dying by Ambrose Parry
- The Six by Luca Veste
- Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce
- The Memory Wood by Sam Lloyd
- Nine Elms by Robert Bryndza
- The Lying Room by Nicci French
- Blood and Sugar by Laura Shepherd Robinson
- The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
- Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh
So with my plans to up my reading game made public there is no going back now. I love the book world I really do and I am grateful to my sister for dragging me back into it but boy, with all the fabulous titles out there, I seriously need a lottery win so I can give up working and become a full time reader.
Happy reading everyone.