This year I have again only read books by women as I have said in previous blog posts. I also read my first ever Angela Carter novel… I don’t know what took me so long, but in a way I’m glad I’ve come to her fairly late as I’ve only read 3 of her novels so far and still have lots more to go. I’m resisting the urge to read them all at once in a greedy glut, and spacing them with others in between.
2016 was a good reading year for me, I’ve gone for quality rather than quantity, which I think is a good thing in all aspects of life! I started off the year with The Magic Toyshop and was just blown away by it, just everything, especially the tragedy of Melanie and the other children being ripped from their comfortable lives with their loving parents into the cold chaos of their Uncle’s house. I was really struck by the adjustment that Melanie had to undertake especially at the age she was when if she had been able to stay in her old life she would have been able to just focus on herself and the transition from girl to women, but as she was transplanted into an environment where there was time for that luxury it had to happen along with everything else that she had to deal with. I then went on to read The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters which I enjoyed, but not as much as The Paying Guests which I absolutely loved when I read it last year. I won’t give a critique of every book I read here now, but I will rate them in order of how much I enjoyed them below!
- Wise Children / Angela Carter (LOVED everything about it my favourite Angela Carter novel so far)
- The Bricks That Built the Houses / Kate Tempest (I think these 2 should actually be joint 1st as I loved this so much too. But for very different reasons, I could relate so closely to this novel, the language, the people, the setting. I grew up in the same area as it is set, and Kate Tempest has captured it so so succinctly. It is an excellent book)
- Americanah / Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Another excellent book, this is the 2nd novel I’ve read by Adichie Half of a Yellow Sun being the first. I learnt so much, and was completely absorbed by the story and the different locations in which it took place)
- Nights at the Circus / Angela Carter (It took me a long time to get through this, not because I didn’t enjoy it, but because it’s so epic. Carter’s writing is so descriptive and dense (in a good way) that it takes time to read her novels (especially this one) I loved Fevvers and her wings and the magic that surrounded the story. Magic realism is a genre I’m new to, but I’m loving it!)
- The Little Stranger / Sarah Waters (as above, I enjoyed it, I liked the time period it was set in, the birth of the NHS and seeing how it affected the existing doctors was interesting. However, I read The Paying Guests the year before and loved it so much I don’t think this could have ever stood up to that for me)
- Hot Milk / Deborah Levy (this was on the short list for the Booker Prize this year, I read it during the summer which was good as it’s set in the summer! It was an interesting and diverting read)
- Loitering with Intent / Muriel Spark ( I had high expectations of this book as I loved The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and I also love mid 20th century books written by and about women, especially Barbara Pym. This was good, but didn’t quite live up to my expectations especially at the beginning, but I did enjoy it more towards the end)