Monday, 14 June 2010

Only a week until Midsummer's Day ... how did that happen so fast? ... and I've been looking at the list of books that I've read so far this year. I wouldn't say that this is proving a vintage year, I've read substantially less than I did last year; why, I'm not sure. Maybe it's simply that the year started with a whacking great volume of Virginia Woolf's diaries.
Anyway, for what it's worth, here's my shortlist for the Best Read of 2010 (So Far). In no particular order ...
Still Missing by Beth Gutcheon ... gripping story of a child's disappearance by a new-to-me author; don't even think of starting this one until you have a long stretch of uninterrupted reading time to find out what happened.
Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner ... another author I'd never read before. When I finished it, I felt a real sense of bereavement as if I'd really known these two couples for a lifetime.
Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather ... what can I say? Willa Cather is as close as you can get to a perfect writer, her landscapes take your breath away. Another book that makes you ache for the passing of time. And, like Crossing to Safety, I think it's one that I wouldn't have fully appreciated when I was younger.
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel ... far and away the best historical novel I have ever read. Hilary Mantel, I suspect, is half in love with Thomas Cromwell, and so am I! How on earth will she bring herself to slice off his head in the next volume?

Actually, I've changed my mind. Maybe it is a vintage year because those four novels were absolute gems.

And, because this is a mean blog and I don't mind giving bad reviews ... the Wish I Hadn't Bothered Award for the book that wasn't worth those hours that I'll never have back again goes to Ian McEwan for The Innocent. Somebody else's choice for my book group otherwise I'd never have picked it up in the first place and never have plodded through it.
(On the other hand, Wolf Hall was also a book group selection and, as it's very long, and I don't normally care for historical novels, especially the Tudors, and as it's never crossed my mind that I'd be swept off my feet by Thomas Cromwell and I don't give tuppence for literary prizes and best-sellers ... Well, isn't that what book groups are for, being pushed to read something out of your comfort zone and then loving it?)

Any suggestions for what I should read next? Apart from that teetering pile that surrounds me and two books already en route from Amazon and a total of 13 out from the library ...

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