Writing this blog I realise that 2017 has been a really good reading year, because I’m struggling to narrow it down to my usual two or three favourites; so many books were special to me this year.
Particularly: CALL ME BY YOUR NAME by Andre Aciman, a fantastic story of adolescent love and adult loss; CAPTAIN SCOTT’S LAST EXPEDITION by Robert Falcon Scott, a transfixingly wonderful account of his journey to the Pole, which ended in full ugly-crying on the Gatwick Express (for me, not for him; he was dead, I was just coming back from Cyprus); and THE CAZALET CHRONICLES, by Elizabeth Jane Howard, a fabulous 3000 pages on civilian life in WWII. Then there’s INSTEAD OF A LETTER by Diana Athill, a story about a really, but really, bad break-up; JG Ballard's EMPIRE OF THE SUN, which is really remarkable account of a Singaporean prison camp, and, though it hardly needs me to give it the nod, LORD OF THE FLIES by William Golding, which is even better than I remember it in high school. And then I can’t help but mention LIFE AND FATE by Vasily Grossman, a story about who of his friends and family he sold out to survive the Stalinist purges.
Lowlights were WE THAT ARE YOUNG by Preti Taneja, BEL CANTO by Ann Pratchett, and FEROCITY by Nicola Lagioia.
In other good news, I’m proud to report that I’ve managed to be about 50:50 men and women, without particularly needing to aim for female authors. Here’s my 2017: