What I do seem to be devouring with no trouble whatsoever is Miss Read books. I've just started my third one this month, Storm in the Village, which is a Fairacre book, but the other two were Thrush Green novels - my first in that series. The odd thing is that much as I love her Fairacre books, I think I like the Thrush Green ones even more.
I think it may be to do with the characters in these very gentle 'English' books: there are more of them, they recur in a more organised fashion and they seem more rounded to me. Or is it the Cotswolds setting which is more familiar to me than Sussex? Whatever, I'm loving them and on the lookout for more from the library.
I never did do an end of year post about the books I read last year. Various reasons, one of which was that I was very busy around that time but I was giving it some thought the other day and realised that I actually enjoyed the few non-fiction books I read more than the fiction. This was my favourite book of the year, no contest:
The combination of Stephen's memories and thoughts on all kinds of subjects was the perfect mix for me. The book stayed with me for weeks after I'd finished it and nothing else I read last year did that by a long chalk. I have his second autobiographical book, The Fry Chronicles, on my tbr pile and will probably ear-mark that for summer reading.
Other non-fictions I enjoyed:
The Chain of Curiosity - Sandi Toksvig (very funny)
I Am What I Am - John and Carole Barrowman (funny)
On Royalty - Jeremy Paxman (interesting)
Icons of England - ed. by Bill Bryson (nostalgic)
Favourite fiction books:
The Earth Hums in B Flat - Mari Strachan
The Meaning of Night - Michael Cox
Lord Valentine's Castle - Robert Silverberg
The Crossing Places - Elly Griffiths
Strictly speaking I did actually enjoy most of what I read last year, but fiction-wise very little stood out hugely. The fact that the best books for me were non-fiction and that I've thoroughly enjoyed the one non-fiction I've read this year, Eating for England by Nigel Slater, is making me rethink my whole attitude to what I read somehow. I'm wondering if I was just lucky and the ones I picked up just happened to be suited to my tastes, or whether I would enjoy a lot more non-fiction if only I would give it a chance. Food for thought.