28 December 2011

A Year of Reading

29 December 2011
51 years old
Here is a list of the books I read this year, with brief comments. How many did you read (not that it’s a competition!) and what were your favourites? I’ve marked the ones I would highly recommend with an asterix. Please comment!
1. Men from the boys - Tony Parsons
A story of our time with blended families and inter-generational problems.
2. Portnoy’s Complaint – Philip Roth
Disgusting and hilarious in equal measure.
3. Letter to my daughter- Maya Angelou
Just OK. Some good bits but ultimately forgettable.
4. The mango season – Amulya Malladi
The story wasn’t quite strong enough for me.
5. Slumdog millionaire* – Vikas Swarup
Totally engrossing book. Loved it! 
PS Borrowed the DVD of the film after reading the book and was disappointed.
6. I remember nothing – Nora Ephron
I really like her chatty style and her humour. Really enjoyed it.
7. Mary Ann in autumn – Armistead Maupin
This Tales of the City author can certainly spin a tale. A fun read.
8. The magic toyshop – Angela Carter
Not my cup of tea.
9. The summer without men – Siri Hustvedt
Good book. Some interesting stuff about gender roles.
10. The vanishing act of Esme Lennox* – Maggie O’Farrell
The interlocking stories of Esme and Iris were expertly weaved together. A very engaging story.
11. The hand that first held mine – Maggie O’Farrell
Not quite as good as The vanishing act of Esme Lennox.
12. The Slap – Christos Tsiolkas
Some of it was spot on and beautifully crafted. 
PS The TV series of this book was excellent.
13. Kitchen Confidential – Anthony Bourdain
Not as good as I thought it might be.
14. Persuasion – Jane Austen
I love all her books. She is the writer I aspire to be.
15. Joe Cinque’s consolation – Helen Garner
Brilliant, gripping and very moving.
16. Book of lost threads – Tess Evans
Not a bad yarn (ha ha). Just OK.
17. One day* – David Nicholls
Loved it! Hard to put down and very funny. Sad at the end, heart breaking. Brilliant.
18. The charming quirks of others – Alexander McCall Smith
Perfect holiday reading.
19. The forgotten affairs of youth – Alexander McCall Smith
20. The sportswriter – Richard Ford
Brilliantly written and deeply felt.
21. The marriage plot* – Jeffrey Eugenides
I had high expectations (as I loved Middlesex) and I wasn’t disappointed.
22.The shallow end – Ashley Sievwright
Enjoyed this book – given to me by my publisher (I love saying that) Gordon.
23. The myth of you and me Leah Stewart
I really enjoyed this book about frienship, betrayal, insecurity and love.
24. Once upon a time there was you – Elizabeth Berg
Always readable. I love all her books.
25. The Finkler question – Howard Jacobson
I’m half way through and so far enjoying it. I love his humour.


  1. One of my favourite books of last year was The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox! Read Joe Cinque’s consolation on the plane to England after my boyfriend had taken four valiums and spend the entire time checking he was still breathing. Bad choice for plane reading! Got some good choices there that I have to get into (after I stop my WW2 love story addiction) Join goodreads so we can swap notes x

  2. Hooray! My first comment for this post, that I really wanted comments on. Funny about your boyfriend and the valiums, while reading that book!!

    I was on goodreads but then dropped out, too many emails. But I might think about rejoining.

    Thanks Penni. x