So here we are, almost April already! It's terrifying how quickly time seems to be flying by this year! My Nan always used to tell me that it only gets quicker the older you get….I'm not going to be able to keep up if it gets much quicker!
Seeing as we are now about a quarter of the way through 2016 I thought that I would take a moment to look back at my favourite books that I have read this quarter. So far this year I have read and reviewed 14 books. 13 fiction novels and one lonely non fiction effort. There have been more 5 out of 5 rated books than I imagined I would have read by this point. Not that I am complaining! I would much rather find myself reading books that make it look like I only ever give full marks than to struggle through reading a lot of books that I am not enjoying.
If I don't feel like I can at least offer a 3 out of 5 rating then I don't review the book hence no low rated books. Trust me there have been books which have not made it to the blog this year. In fact this year I have had books I have enjoyed so little that even getting to the end of the first chapter has seemed like a monumental effort. I am currently persevering with one which has taken me over a week just to read the first 4 or 5 chapters. Other reviews seem so positive that I feel I owe it to the book to stick with it. Whether or not it makes it to the blog is yet to be determined but it's not looking likely at this point. Luckily I am reading it alongside Stephen King's 'On Writing' which I am really enjoying. If it was the only book I was reading then I am sure I would have given up by this point. I won't name any of the books that I have really disliked this year though. I can't say anything nice so it's best to not review them at all. Just because I disliked them so much doesn't mean that somebody else won't pick them up and really enjoy them. One man's trash is another man's treasure after all!
Anyway, back on track. Picking my number one favourite so far this year is easy. Patrick Gale's 'A Place Called Winter' is simply wonderful and an example of everything that I look for in a good book. The characters and the settings are so vividly imagined and the story is totally enthralling despite it's heartbreaking nature. Less than a week after reading it I ended up listening to the audio book with my other half and enjoyed it all over again. It has instantly become one of my favourites!
You can find my full review here.
For anybody wondering, the audio book is read by the author Patrick Gale and is every bit as enjoyable as the book. Patrick Gale's delivery is enjoyable to listen to and easy to understand.
The rest of the pack is harder to sort through but I think I have managed to sort out a top 5. I have struggled to order these and I am sure depending which day you asked me on, the remaining four would be changed in their order. They would all definitely make it into the top 5 though.
In second place (Today anyway!) we have Colm Toibin's 'Nora Webster'. Whilst 'Brooklyn' is the book which now has a film adaptation and is more conventionally exciting to read I preferred Nora Webster. It's a slow exploration of depression, grief and recovering from great personal tragedy. Sounds like a real feel good romp I hear you say. Well yes and no. This one was heavy going and I'm sure it isn't for everybody but I was left with a wondrous feeling of hope at the end.
Renee Knight's 'Disclaimer' has staked claim to the number 3 spot and as such is the highest rated thriller on the list. This is the debut thriller which is better than a lot of authors later efforts! I can only begin to imagine how brilliant future books by Renee Knight will be, I cannot wait to read them. This is an intelligent thriller with some great twists and turns.
Fourth spot could so easily have been third spot, I chopped and changed quite a bit before settling on this order. 'Little Black Lies' by Sharon Bolton is another great thriller which I have given a 5 out of 5 rating. A tale of revenge set in the Falklands that I highly recommend reading if you are a fan of thrillers which keep you guessing right until the last moment.
Finally in fifth place we have Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki & His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami. Originally a Japanese novel I read the English translation and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was my first experience of reading a Murakami novel and I am looking forward to reading more of his books soon.
As honourable mentions I would like to quickly draw attention to Who's Afraid of the Easter Rising? (The one non fiction book I have reviewed this quarter) and to The Axeman's Jazz. Both of these were excellent books which only narrowly missed out on making the top 5. Click on the titles to be taken to my reviews of both books.
So there it is, my top 5 books that I have enjoyed reading so far in 2016. Hopefully you may have found a new book to add to your TBR pile and hopefully I will be lucky enough to read some more brilliant books as the year goes on.
How about you? What have been your favourite books that you have read so far this year?