I've tried hard, I really have... but I couldn't get my favourite books of last year (see previous post) down to ten. So here we have my top fifteen, not in any particular order.
1. The Book Thief - Marcus Zusak. Young adult, set in Germany during WWll, and is about how a young girl survives during the war. Narrated by Death.
2. The Earthsea Quartet - Ursula K. Le Guin. Young adult fantasy. The travels, trials, and tribulations of the wizard, Ged.
3. Saplings - Noel Streatfeild. Persephone novel. Charts the disintegration of a family during WWll. Focusses on the children.
4. Dissolution - C.J. Sansom. Historical crime. The first of the Matthew Shardlake series set during the reign of Henry Vlll. Lots of monks. I wasn't quite sure what they were all up to...
5. Family Roundabout - Richmal Crompton. Another Persephone novel. Concerns the dynamics and the interactions of two families, the Fowlers and the Willoughbys, during the 1920s.
6. Redburn - Herman Melville. Classic lit. Serving aboard ship in the 1800s. Was it fun? Not really...
7. Mistress of the Art of Death - Ariana Franklin. Historical crime. 12th. century Oxford. Adelia, a female doctor from Italy, has been sent to solve the murders of several children.
8. The Historian - Elizabeth Kostova. Horror. Vampires, but also a nice jaunt around Eastern Europe.
9. The First Casualty - Ben Elton. Historical Crime. WWl whodunnit but also much about conditions at the front. Not Elton's usual.
10. The House of Mirth - Edith Wharton. Classic Lit. New York around 1900. Charts the fall of Lily Bart, born to a life of ease and luxury but suddenly without the means to support such a lifestyle.
11. Crocodile on the Sandbank - Elizabeth Peters. Historical crime. First in the Amelia Peabody series of books set in Eygpt.
12. The Beekeeper's Apprentice - Laurie R. King. Historical crime. First in the Mary Russell series, charting the beginnings of Mary's relationship with Mr. Sherlock Holmes.
13. Still Life - Louise Penny. Crime. The first of the Armand Gamache series set in the village of Three Pines, Quebec. Wonderfully atmospheric.
14. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Historical crime. What can I say?
15. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J.K. Rowling. Young adult fantasy. Again... what is there to say? Other than I wish it wasn't the last book...
A few facts and figures:
Fiction - 59, non-fiction - 11. That's not so great. I thought I read more non-fiction than that.
Female authors - 33, male - 37. Funny how you deceive yourself. I would have sworn I read and liked female authors much more than male.
Re-reads - 4. Yeah, well... I knew I didn't reread much.
I clearly have a taste for Young Adult fantasy - 17, plus a couple more I wasn't sure of.
I've also clearly discovered a real liking for historical crime books!
All in all I count the year a success. I've read more than ever, blogged more than ever, and made some delightful new reading friends. I can't wait to see what 2008 brings.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!