Sunday, December 13, 2015

My Favourite Books of 2015

I've been keeping a reading journal since 1997 rating and sometimes commenting on the books that I read over the previous year. This year I read 40 books; my average is about 50 - 60 per year so this was a substantially below average season. The reason for that might be because A) I'm getting older and losing focus or B) the books are getting shittier. Anyway these are the favourite books that I read this year, not all of them, of course, were published in 2015. There's a surprisingly high proportion of science fiction here and not a single history book which is odd because I read a lot more histories than I do sci-fi. My favourite history book this year was Max Hastings' book The Secret War, which was ok, but not quite good enough to break my top 20. My favourite novel of the year was The Cartel, my favourite travel book was Paul Theroux's Deep South, my favourite audiobook (if you don't count Patrick Tull's reading of Patrick O'Brian's Wine Dark Sea) was The Fold by Peter Clines. The most lyrically beautiful book I read this year was The Peregrine by JA Baker (talking about the call of the nightjar he says "if a song could smell this song would smell of crushed grapes and almonds and dark wood.") I read this year's Booker Prize winner and thought it was ok but not quite good enough to make my list. I read this year's Nobel Lit Prize winner and didn't think she was very good at all. The Prix Goncourt winner was good. The National Book Award winner was ok. I've written about the Edgar winner before. One book on this list you might not have heard of is The Rider by Tim Krabbé which is a novel that entirely takes place during the two hours of a bicycle race, that the surprisingly multi-talented Mr K rode in the early seventies. 

1. The Cartel - Don Winslow
2. Even Dogs In The Wild - Ian Rankin
3. The Peregrine - JA Baker
4. The Girl With All The Gifts - M R Carey
5. Deep South - Paul Theroux
6. The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August - Claire North (Catherine Webb)
7. A Little More Free - John McFetridge
8. The Rider - Tim Krabbé
9. The Devil's Making - Sean Haldane
10. And Yet - Christopher Hitchens
11. The Star Side of Bird Hill - Naomi Jackson
12. Never Mind - Edward St Aubyn
13. Songs That Saved Your Life - Simon Goddard
14. Moon In A Dead Eye - Pascal Garnier
15. Station Eleven - Emily St John Mandel
16. Voltaire - Ian Davidson
17. A Guide For The Perplexed - Werner Herzog
18. The Fold - Peter Clines
19. M Train - Patti Smith
20. Latest Readings - Clive James (even though he gets the Aubrey-Maturin books wrong, but wrong, I think, for comic effect.)