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Top 5 books of 2016

Are we still listing our books of the year? Do we keep track? Well, I am and do, and my findings for 2016 are, drawn from a shortlist of about ten:

Harold Pinter - Betrayal
Anthony Trollope - The Last Chronicle of Barset
David Garnett - Lady into Fox
Angela Carter - Wise Children
Alison Bechdel - The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For

Do post your own!

I was just thinking of this yesterday, Gareth.  And going through my list - lots of my highly rated books were re-reads, though.  I will get back later and answer this properly.  There was only one book I rated 20/20 and that was Great Expectations, so I can confidently call that my very best book for 2016.

From a shortlist of nine and excluding Women of the Catlins as being too specific to this area though rated 19 and re-reads:  

Great Expectations ~ Charles Dickens
The French Lieutenant's Woman (was a re-read, but only from my university days, nearly 50 years ago now) ~ John Fowles
How the Girl Guides Won the War ~ Janie Hampdon
Ribbons of Grace ~ Maxine Alterio
The All Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion ~ Fannie Flagg

(Very hard to separate the last two from The Captive Wife by Fiona Kidman and Sarah's Key by Tataina de Rousay
Joe McWilliams

Forty-four to choose from. Nine of those non-fiction. Of the novels, a fair number were nothing to write home about. Leaving me with a fairly easy choice for top five.

1. The Raj Quartet, by Paul Scott
2. The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt
3. Death in Venice and six other stories, by Thomas Mann
4. The  Painter of Battles, by Arturo Perez-Reverte
5. The Count of Monte Cristo, by A. Dumas

Honourable mention to Joseph Boyden's The Orenda

I didn't restrict myself to fiction, Joe.  If that is the criterion, take out the Janie Hampton Girl Guide book and put in Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rousay
Joe McWilliams

I didn't either, Caro, but I see how I might have given that impression. One of my non-fiction titles made my short list - Witness by Whittaker Chambers.

This year I've read 37 books. From some authors I've read several novels, but I'll only list one per author in the five selected.

My five books for 2016 are:
- Neil Gaiman - Anansi Boys
- Angela Carter - The Magic Toy Shop
- Mary Stewart - The Ivy Tree  (best of the 10 Mary Stewart novels read)
- Camilla Lackberg - The Preacher (best of the 8 Camilla Lackberg novels read - not for the faint-hearted)
- Charles Dickens - The Christmas Books

Dud of the year:
- Red Riding Hood (the book of the film).
I read this in one day while in hospital and might not have finished it if I'd had another book with me. The only good thing about this book was the fact that I had gotten it as a free book at the Book Festival. It would have been such a waste of money if I had actually bought it.

Great to see you here again, Marita.  I loved Anansi Boys though I still haven't read any other Gaimans (except his collaboration with Terry Pratchett in Good Omens which I also found very appealing.

Good Omens is the book I pick when I've got a serious reading-block. We both love it so it made sense to swap our tatty looking paperback for a more solid hardback.

I've read some books by Neil Gaiman and enjoyed them all.
Coraline is a story for children but quite scary.
Stardust - the book the film is based on - is not as light-hearted as the film. No happy endings all round.
Smoke and Mirrors is a collection of short stories and has the creepiest Snow-white retelling.
Neverwhere is a fantasy novel set in a parallel version of London - an underground version unknown to people above where the Angel Islington is a person and not a place. It's one I plan to re-read.

Gaiman is great if you like fantasy with a dark edge to it.

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