In no particular order, here are some of my favourite books from those I’ve read in 2015:
Favourite fiction published in 2015
I loved Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith which is the third book in the Cormoran Strike series and I was lucky enough to attend a special launch event in October in which my team came first in a live escape game. Winning a signed copy was a particular highlight.
The relaunch of the Sunday Times / PFD Young Writer of the Year Award introduced me to some fantastic new authors including The Year of the Runaways by Sunjeev Sahota which is my personal favourite from a very strong shortlist.
I really enjoyed seeing Hanya Yanagihara talk about her second novel A Little Life at Foyles last summer. Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, it’s been one of the most talked-about and controversial books of the year and, in my view, one of the most astonishingly original. Continue reading
I don’t have time to write full-length reviews of everything I read but here are some thoughts on other books I’ve read and (mostly) enjoyed over the last few months of 2015.
Whatever You Love by Louise Doughty
While I enjoyed reading Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty last year, I’m less sure of how I feel about ‘Whatever You Love’. Shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award in 2010, it tells the story of Laura whose nine-year-old daughter Willow is killed in a hit-and-run accident on her way to an after-school club. The majority of the novel is a relatively straightforward account of the acrimonious breakdown of Laura’s marriage to her husband David and the aftermath of Willow’s death but it has the kind of shocking and rather implausible ending which changed my whole perception of the book. The last book I read which made me feel like this was Disclaimer by Renee Knight but probably more so with this one. While ‘Apple Tree Yard’ has a similarly unsettling conclusion, I felt it was executed much more successfully compared to ‘Whatever You Love’. Doughty’s latest novel ‘Black Water’ is out next year.
I normally write a post about books I have read but haven’t reviewed at the end of the year but I may start doing review round-ups a bit more frequently so I don’t fall too far behind. Here are my thoughts about five books I’ve read in the past three months or so:
Dubbed as a “Facebook thriller”, Kiss Me First by Lottie Moggach tells the story of socially awkward Leila, who is approached by Adrian Dervish to impersonate Tess Williams online to create the illusion that Tess is still alive after she has committed suicide. It’s not uncommon for me to have mixed feelings about a book but I usually have some idea of whether I either liked it or disliked it overall. However, the reason I didn’t review ‘Kiss Me First’ around the time I read it back in March was because I genuinely had no idea how I felt about it. The concept was cleverly manipulated but I still felt the implausible elements of the story generally outweighed the plausible ones, particularly the pretence of keeping Tess “alive” online. Either way, it would certainly be an interesting novel to discuss in a book group. Continue reading