Wondering what to get your book-loving friends and family for Christmas? Here’s my books of the year for 2016 (see links below to my blogs on each for more detail).
Most likely to change the world – The Sleep Revolution by Arianna Huffington. If you want better decisions taken by global leaders, nicer workplaces and happier families then this is the book that could do it, if enough people read it and act on it.
Learned most from – Betrayal: the crisis in the Catholic Church by the Spotlight team at the Boston Globe. Spotlight was a brilliant film and the book takes you deeper to see the extent of this appalling abuse and how it was uncovered.
Most captivating – Love Falls by Esther Freud was very well written and took me straight to a sun soaked Italian summer where I felt I was lazing by the pool with these characters at the start of their adult lives.
Most changed my everyday life – I guess this doesn’t reflect very well on me, but The Magic Art of Tidying by Marie Kondo has changed my everyday life for the better. I’ve got rid of a lot of stuff and now packing for holidays and getting dressed in the morning is just so much easier.
Most enjoyment from – The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende. I loved this book. It is charming, interesting, set in San Francisco, which is one of my favourite places, and has great characters and a lovely story.
Most able to make a complex subject easy to understand – Criminal by Tom Gash. This is a brilliant book about crime that everyone should read. It busts so many myths trotted out regularly by the media and politicians. Read this and you’ll know what’s really going on.
Most un-put-downable – Head of State by Andrew Marr. A really fun thriller, which probably reads quite differently now we know the EU referendum result. Was completely un-put-downable. The real world now seems almost as crazy.
Least enjoyment from – My Beautiful Friend by Elena Ferrante. Apologies to my sister who gave this to me, but I found this classic hard work and ploughed on to the end out of duty alone. It is the foundation of a series of books about friendship so may be worth it if you continue with the series, but it just wasn’t for me.
Most surprised by, in a good way – Heatherley by Flora Thompson is set just up the road from where I live and I read it as I thought it would be mildly interesting. Instead I found this tale of a village on the edge of change at the turn of the twentieth century absolutely charming.
Most surprised by, in a bad way – The Fox in the Attic by Richard Hughes. On paper this interwar novel set in the U.K. and Germany was a great choice for me and I was really looking forward to reading it, but I never really got into it and unusually for me was left not wanting to read it’s sequel.
Would most recommend for holidays – Gaudy Night by Dorothy L Sayers. A perfect paperback for lying by the pool and wanting to get stuck into a juicy mystery with a great female protagonist.
Talked most obsessively about – I have only just read Anti intellectualism in American Life by Richard Hoftstadter but I’m going to be talking obsessively about this book for a while. It helps explain Brexit and Trump so is a good way to end 2016.