As you’ll see I’ve added a new poll for fave books. I’m pretty sure that the last option will win, given that there are so many books published every year, getting consensus is harder and harder. It’s tricky enough finding people who’ve read the books you’ve read, let alone finding someone who feels the same way about them you do.
So, the poll to the right is made up of books I loved written by people I don’t know.1 This was so I could reduce my candidates and also because sometimes I feel like all I do is recommend the works of my friends. Now, it’s true, I happen to have some extraordinarily talented writer friends but it does get a bit tired.
I also have picked books that are a little bit under the radar. The Night Watch books are international bestsellers, but everyone I mention them to has not heard of them, or has only heard of the movies based on them. I still haven’t found anyone who’s read all three. Not good enough! And Walter Mosley is not exactly an unknown, but, well, what can I say? I adore his books.
As usual in my descriptions I’ve tried to be as unspoilery as possible.
- I’ve talked about Skin Hunger here. My opinion has not changed: it’s one of the best novels I’ve read in years.
- Touching Snow is an astonishing novel. It’s a problem novel about an abused kid in NYC and yet it’s funny and wry and keeps going completely unexpected places. I hate realism and I hate problem novels but I adored this book. I cannot wait for Felin’s next book. I believe I am not alone in this assessment.
- Shannon Hale’s fairy tale re-imaginings are stunningly beautiful. They’re joyous and gorgeously written and end just how you want them to without you even realising that’s what you want. At the same time they manage to be about class and power and the battle of the sexes, which I think some readers of hers manage to miss. I’m trying to figure out if that’s a good or a bad thing. Book of a Thousand Days may be my favourite of hers.
- The final volume of the Night Watch series, Twilight Watch, was every bit as good as the first two (Night Watch and Day Watch). I love dense political fantasy. This may be my favourite trilogy of the past decade or so. It has magic, bureaucracies, not to mention tragic love and death. I can’t wait to re-read all three back to back. (Adult novel.)
- I love Walter Mosley. As far as I’m concerned he can do no wrong. Blonde Ambition is the most recent Easy Rawlins’ mystery and might well be his last, which would be a shame, and yet so many of his other books are genius that I really don’t care just as long as he keeps writing. I’m not much of a reader of crime novels. I have a few favourites like Patricia Highsmith and Raymond Chandler and Walter Mosley is up there with them. If you’re going to read the Rawlins books go back to the first one, Devil in a Blue Dress and read them in sequence. Each book gets better and better. If you’re not up for a series then read The Man in the Basement. It’s genius. (Adult novel.)
- The Secret History of Moscow reminded me a teeny bit of the Night Watch books, not surprising given that they’re both set (largely) in Moscow. Secret History has more of a fairy tale feel to it but the same darkly comic view of the world suffuses everything. This is another book I couldn’t put down. (Adult novel.)
So what were your favourites published this year? And why? I’m especially interested in hearing about books I may have overlooked.
Don’t worry, Mely, I will also post about my fave manga/manhwa/graphic novels of the year.
- I met Kathleen Duey and M. Sindy Felin Book Awards after I’d read their books and I’m not sure a brief meeting at a formal event counts as “knowing” them. [↩]