2016 Reading Roundup

I know, I know…it’s March.  I’m very late with this post.  In my defence…well, nothing really.  I was in a bit of a blogging funk at the start of the year, so never got round to sharing the books I read last year.  But here they all are:


  1. The Winter Palace by Eva Stachniak
  2. Jamaica Inn by Daphne Du Maurier
  3. Gypsy Boy by Mikey Walsh
  4. Heft by Liz Moore
  5. How Eskimos keep their babies warm by Mei-Ling Hopgood
  6. The Crimson petal and the white by Michel Faber
  7. Complete Write a Novel Course by Will Buckingham
  8. Public Library by Ali Smith
  9. The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
  10. The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman
  11. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
  12. The Taxidermist’s Daughter by Kate Mosse
  13. The Masked City by Genevieve Cogman
  14. Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
  15. Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor
  16. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty
  17. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Steifvater
  18. Every Day by David Levithan
  19. Ash by Malinda Lo
  20. The Good Children by Roopa Farooki
  21. If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo
  22. Frenchman’s Creek by Daphne du Maurier
  23. Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor
  24. Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin
  25. The Raven Boys by Maggie Steifvater
  26. The Dream Thieves by Maggie Steifvater
  27. Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Steifvater
  28. The Raven King by Maggie Steifvater
  29. Hood by Stephen R Lawhead
  30. Cunning Folk- Popular Magic in English History by Owen Davies
  31. The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters
  32. Half Bad by Sally Green
  33. Half Wild by Sally Green
  34. Religion and the Decline of Magic by Keith Thomas
  35. Hemingway in Love by A.E. Hotchner
  36. Now is the time by Melvyn Bragg
  37. Murder at the Old Vicarage by Jill McGown
  38. Half Lost by Sally Green
  39. Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare


That’s actually considerably less than the 47 books I read in 2015, but this year I read a lot more *new* books, that I hadn’t previously read- only two of those listed above were re-reads.  For those who like their stats, out of the 39-

4 I didn’t actually finish (but a couple of those I will likely get back to at some point)

7 were non-fiction (that’s a lot more non-fic than I normally read, the sudden increase was thanks to NOVEL RESEARCH)

25 were library books (working in libraries has some major perks 😉 )

1 I read on Kindle (a massive decrease from 2015, but then again, I did start working in a library in 2016, so I guess that was to be expected?)

Some new favourites include Frenchman’s Creek- oh my god, I still cannot believe I hadn’t read this one of Daphne Du Maurier’s books before now.  Rebecca has (obviously) long since been a favourite of mine, but wow, Frenchman’s Creek has very nearly, almost- possibly overtaken it.  I literally swooned, and then once revived proceeded to fill my ‘bookish quotes’ notebook with basically every single passage.  I LOVED it.  In fact, just thinking about it now is making me want to read it again.


I also fell in love with Hardy’s Far From the Madding Crowd, and The Scorpio Races by Maggie Steifvater.  In terms of non-fiction, both Gypsy Boy (a fantastic, unflinching memoir by Mikey Walsh) and Smoke Gets In Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty were incredible.

Honestly, out of the 39 books there really weren’t many (aside from the ones I didn’t manage to finish), that I *didn’t* enjoy this year.  For me, The Half Bad trilogy fell short of my expectations, but only because the ending was SO CRUEL, and I was pissed off about it for days, literally.  The Paying Guests was a bit depressing, but generally everything else I read I liked, and there are quite a few that I’m tempted to revisit again this year.

At the end of 2015, after completing my ‘great re-read of 2015‘ I hinted at a new challenge for 2016, but then that never actually got off the ground.  The challenge was going to be classics.  There are so many books that would be considered classics that I haven’t read, so I was planning to ask people I know IRL, and of course, you lovely lot- if you had any suggestions on where I should start.  But then life happened, and I never got round to it.

I honestly feel like it’s a bit late to be setting myself a reading challenge for 2017, given as we’re almost a quarter of the way through it already, but if there is a classic book that you think I should add to my list then please do leave a comment and I’ll let you know if I’ve already read it or not (chances are higher that I won’t have, I may be a prolific reader, but I lost a lot of years to Point Horror and Sweet Valley High, and honestly I have no regrets about that.)

As for 2017- well so far I’ve read eleven brilliant books, and I have a massive stack of unread books on my shelves to work through, not to mention about twenty unread books downloaded to my kindle, and of course all the books I have access to across the library service…so yeah, I have a feeling it’s going to be a good reading year!


The Library Adventure

You’d be forgiven for thinking that I’ve forgotten all about my Book Jar pledge. After all it’s been about 6 weeks and I’ve yet to pluck a scrap of paper out of it.
I haven’t though, honestly. It’s just that I went to the library…*oops*
In my defence I was just taking the kids so they could swap their books but it spiralled somewhat. After all, when you have 70 unread books in your house, the obvious thing to do is surely to acquire MORE…right?!?!
I was almost thwarted in my attempts: I had an unpaid fine on my account for returning my last lot of books late (tsk) and these days it isn’t as simple as handing over some loose change to the librarian behind the desk.
Ours is a ‘community’ library now. Which means there is no librarian…or desk…and you can’t pay your fines there…or get any assistance at all whatsoever. There is a guy (sometimes two) hovering around where the desk used to be but as he said himself “I’m just here to make sure no one steals any of the books or computers”.
So security guards have replaced librarians, an ATM style machine has replaced the borrowing/returns desk, and it is now only open for 2.5 days a week. The “baby bounce ‘n’ rhyme” group which I took Toby to every single week of my maternity leave is long gone, as are the stickers and certificates the boys used to get from The Book Club after borrowing a certain number of books/grinning cheekily at a librarian.
Apparently the fact that the building still stands and houses books signifies a small victory for our community, and yes I feel fortunate that we only have to walk 1 mile up the road to borrow books but that doesn’t mean I don’t feel sad at the compromise.
What it meant for us this time, was that I was unable to borrow anything as my account was suspended until I paid the fine (that I wasn’t allowed to pay to the guy who was there to stop me from stealing stuff/setting fire to the place!) If it were just me I’d have shrugged (perhaps haughtily) and not been TOO bothered, but the thing was that Toby had chosen a Spiderman comic book as one of his ‘books’ and they can’t be borrowed on a child’s account. Usually I borrow them for him on mine but…duh…I couldn’t could I? So he was devastated (and I mean distraught, in the way only a 4 year old can be when life is so cruel as to deny them the basic pleasure of taking home a book they have set their heart on borrowing).
Our options were: 1. Forget about it OR 2. Make a mad dash home, jump in the car and drive up to the nearest library that still actually functions as a LIBRARY with really real librarians who can accept cash for fines.
The former seemed the easiest but Toby’s heartbreak was palpable..so off we went on a mad cap “Library Adventure” (Toby’s words).
Of course it was almost library closing time and it just had to start raining, and the traffic was heavy and Toby started yelling at the other cars to “move” and it was so farcical that it actually became hilarious. We made it back to our local library just in time to grab our abandoned books from where we’d left them and borrow them on my newly credited and unlocked account.
So, as I’m sure you’ll understand, having gone through all that I feel I should probably read this lot before commencing Operation Book Jar. Along with the Spiderman comic, which was the real reason for the adventure, although I’m not very good at reading comics (Shhh! I just find it so tricky to know who is saying what and when!) so I usually leave that to Chris 😉
I’ve already read one of that pile, so I promise it won’t be too long before I am consulting The Jar!