I need a few Christmas gift ideas (sorry for mentioning the C-word so early, but when you live abroad you have to consider postage and so on). I’m hoping you can help.
So, here is my proposal. In the spirit of Swapshop, I’m going to tell you what books I’ve read and enjoyed this year and my top 5 recommendations for Christmas gifts (or your wish lists). Of course these are only my own personal tastes, I tend to read mostly in contemporary/literary fiction, with a few detours. And many of my family and friends prefer other genres – thrillers, for example. But here is where you can help! In the comments, could you please tell me your top 5 books you’ve read this year that you would recommend, and mention the genre, so we have an idea who they’d be suitable for?
This year I’ve started 27 books so far. I’ve left two unfinished (and since they’re e-books I can’t find them a better home, unfortunately), and I’m still reading a couple of short story anthologies, two paperbacks and one e-book. So I’ve finished 21. Here I’m just mentioning the 18 that I really enjoyed:
Paper books (Author A-Z):
♥ At Home (non-fiction) – Bill Bryson
♥ Whatever you Love – Louise Doughty
♥ The Birth of Venus – Sarah Dunant
♥ The Cowards Tale – Vanessa Gebbie
♥ Chocolat – Joanne Harris
♥ How to be a Woman – Caitlin Moran
♥ Dambusters – Robert Radcliffe
♥ What I Did – Christopher Wakling
♥ Why Willows Weep – The Wildlife Trust Joanne Harris, Maggie O’Farrell, Philip Hensher, Kate Mosse, Ali Smith & others
On my Kindle (Author A-Z)
♥ From Words to Brain (non-fiction) – Livia Blackburne
♥ Pistache – Sebastian Faulks
♥ Pigeon English – Stephen Kelman
♥ The hand that first held mine – Maggie O Farrell
♥ The Devil’s Music – Jane Rusbridge
♥ Like Bees to Honey – Caroline Smailes
♥ Change of Life – Anne Stormont
♥ Trespass – Rose Tremain
♥ The Route Book at Bedtime (short stories) – Jo Cannon, Cally Taylor & others…
Books I’m still reading
The Blind Assassin – Margaret Atwood
We need to talk about Kevin – Lionel Shriver (Kindle)
Geek Love – Katherine Dunn
Playing Sardines (short stories) – Michèle Roberts
For Esme – with love and squalor (short stories) – JD Salinger
Other Stories and other stories (short stories) – Ali Smith
Still waiting on my ‘to read’ pile:
Nothing to Envy – Barbara Demick
The Daily Coyote – Shreve Stockton
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Stieg Larsson
The Girl who Played with Fire – Stieg Larsson
The Pile of Stuff at the bottom of the stairs – Christina Hopkinson
So, how to pick a top 5 from that lot? In the end I’m just going to go with gut feeling…
My Top 5 reads of 2011 (A-Z by author)
Whatever You Love – a hard book to read, but the tiny perfect observations in this book really made it stand out for me.
The Coward’s Tale – because it’s kind and lyrical and reads like an audio book on paper.
Pigeon English – because I don’t remember ever having been so knocked out by the ending of a book.
How to be a Woman – because it made me laugh out loud, a lot. Caitlin Moran is invited to my fantasy dinner party.
The Hand That First Held Mine – because I loved the voice.
Top 5 (so far) on my wish list for 2012:
One Thousand and One Nights – Hanan Al-Shaykh
A Visit From the Goon Squad – Jennifer Egan
Blueeyedboy – Joanne Harris
The Tiger’s Wife – Téa Obreht
How to Teach Quantum Physics to Your Dog – Chad Orzel
So that’s me. What about you?