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(picture theme – the weather. Inspired by https://bookreveries.com/2016/05/15/words-the-amount-and-the-impact/)

Forty-four books were read in total.

Traipsed to the library for a couple:
Boswell’s Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides with Samuel Johnson
A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland, Samuel Johnson

Two were recommended:
The Black House, Peter May (Boo)
The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver (Yay)

Some non-fiction snuck in there:
Into the Crocodile Nest, Benedict Allen
Deserted Villages, T Rowley and J Wood

There’s always room for favourites: Homage to Catalonia, George Orwell
The Lady in the Lake, Raymond Chandler
Little Black Book of Stories, A S Byatt The Honourable Schoolboy, John Le Carre

But, it was a close run in for first place. Running a very close second was Midnight’s Children, Salman Rushdie, but ducking its head to cross the finish line, after sitting on my bookshelf for years, a non fiction of all things, the 2015/16 book of the year is:

The Children of Sanchez, Oscar Lewis

16/17 has started with Wolf Hall, Hilary Mantel and I can’t get this not to be in italics!

The full list:
June
Boswell’s Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides with Samuel Johnson
Lazy Tour of Two Idle Apprentices, Wilkie Collins and Charles Dickens
A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland, Samuel Johnson
July
Sidetracked, Henning Mankell
Girlfriend in a Coma, Douglas Coupland
Night Listener, Armistead Maupin
Master Georgie, Bertl Bainbridge
Started Early, Took my Dog, Kate Atkinson
August
Into the Crocodile Nest, Benedict Allen
Kafka on the Shore, Haruki Murakami
September
The Black House, Peter May
Hawksmoor, Peter Ackroyd
The Reader, Bernard Schlink
The History Man, Malcolm Bradbury
Homesickness, Murray Bail
October
Little Black Book of Stories, A.S. Byatt
November
Sybil, Benjamin Disraeli
The Subtle Knife, Phillip Pullman
Mr Norris Changes Trains, Christopher Isherwood
Marianne, George Sand
Catriona, R.L.Stevenson
December
The Honourable Schoolboy, John Le Carre
Beautiful Ruins, Jess Walter
Malgudi Days, R.K. Narayan
Journey’s End, R.C. Sherriff
January
Delta of Venus, Anais Nin
Homage to Catalonia, Georhe Orwell
Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Truman Capote
February
The Children of Sanchez, Oscar Lewis
The Pope’s Wedding, Edward Bond
The Bell, Iris Murdoch
The Doll and Other Short Stories, Daphne du Maurier
March
Tipping the Velvet, Sarah Waters
The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver
Mrs Miniver, Jan Struther
Demian, Hermann Hesse
April
Deserted Villages, T. Rowley, J. Wood
Midnight’s Children, Salman Rushdie
The Lady in the Lake, Raymond Chandler
May
Iris, John Bayley
Timothy ans the Two Witches, Margaret Storey
The Storytellers Two, compiled by Roger Mansfield
Selected Prose and Poetry, Edward Thomas
The Little Disturbances of Man, Grace Paley

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Slim pickings this year with only 35 books read. It began with The Book of Flights by JMG Clezio which I can no longer remember, and finished with Red Dust Road by Jackie Kay.

There was:
something local – If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things – Jon McGregor – July
something stomach churning Death in Midsummer and Other Stories – Yukio Mishima – January
something historical Warlords and Holymen: Scotland AD80-1000 – AP Smyth – May
something archaic Love Lies Bleeding – Edmund Crispin – April
something shared Northern Lights – Phillip Pullman – May
something funny Summer Lightning – PG Wodehouse – July

Recommendations came from:
Wordpress – Wittgenstein’s Nephew -Thomas Bernhardt – August https://tomsimard.wordpress.com/
Twitter – The Mezzanine – Nicholson Baker – March
Friends –The Guest Cat – Takashi Hiraide – March

High point:
Collected Stories of John Cheever – January

Low point:
Atonement – Ian McEwan – June

Book of the year 2014/15:

The Children’s Book – AS Byatt – September

2015/16 has kicked off with
Boswell’s Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides 1773 edited by Frederick A Pottle and Charles H Bennett and The Subtle Knife by Phillip Pullman

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If you were here last year, you’ll know it all kicked off with Threepenny Novel by Bertolt Brecht. It finished with The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen. Forty-nine books in all (down on last year), here are the highlights:

The Book of Dave by Will Self in July
The Oxford Book of Japanese Short Stories in August (The Accordion and the Fish Town Hayashi Fumiko and Night Fires Shiga Naoya)
Death of a Red Heroine by Qiu Xialong in September
What Was Lost by Catherine O’Flynn December
Pepita by Vita Sackville-West January
Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates January

A lowlight;The Accidental by Ali Smith in March

but, Book of the Year 2013/14 is…..

Agent ZigZag by Ben MacIntyre

What a story.

2014/15 has begun with The Book of Flights by J.M.G. Le Clezio

Not entirely sure what I ‘should’ be doing anymore, but here’s some books.
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The High Window and Playback by Raymond Chandler and Best
‘Thinking Machine’ Detective Stories by Jacques Futrelle.

Three bargains from the 50p shelves at Scarthin Books. I’ve read ‘the problem of Cell 13’ story by Futrelle and am savouring the knowledge that I have two unread Chandlers on my shelves waiting to be read.

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I finished Hotel Luc by Anita Brookner this weekend, a book I’d forgotten I had bought until I had to empty and then refill all the bookshelves after decorating, and have just started The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht on recommendation (often a gamble).

I’ve also tried to get back to going to the library regularly, primarily to keep pace with children’s avid reading, so Lemony Snickett’s have been through the house, several Horrible Histories and a great book on Heath Robinson, perfect for the child who fills your recycling bin with masses of paper of inventions. Have also had out books on Lucian Freud, Edward Hopper and Turner.

Early on in my blogging career, I was reading Oliver Twist and there was a couple of sentences that really made me chuckle early on. I then couldn’t find it, but I’ve gone back tonight and found it:

“… the young woman burst into another fit of crying, and got so dreadfully hysterical, that a couple of women who came up at the moment asked a butcher’s boy with a shiny head of suet, who was also looking on, whether he didn’t think he had better run for the doctor. To which, the butcher’s boy: who appeared of a lounging, not to say insolent disposition: replied, that he thought not.”

Respect to the Butcher’s boy!

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