Warning: this post is partly intended as a guide and reminder to myself, and is pretty long. Scroll down to the bottom if you just want to see what new books I want to pick up in 2016!
The TBR Pile
The majority of the books I’ve planned to read in 2016 are already on my TBR pile [some pictured have, unusually, already been read!!]:
The Blade Itself: Joe Abercrombie. I thought this was worth a try, but am already regretting picking it up from the charity shop after hearing some decidedly mixed reviews. Happy to abandon if it doesn’t grab me in the first fifty pages or so.
The Dig: Cynan Jones. I’ve heard that this is bleak, but brilliant, and at least its bleakness will be mitigated by its briefness. Gift from a friend!
The Temporary Gentleman: Sebastian Barry. I very much liked The Secret Scripture when I read it many years ago, but haven’t read any of Barry’s other loosely-linked Irish novels. Another charity-shop find.
Any Human Heart: William Boyd. I haven’t read any of Boyd’s novels, and I hear this is a good place to start. Also a gift from a friend.
Burley Cross Postbox Theft: Nicola Barker. This has been on my TBR pile longer than any other current inhabitant, but I’m still determined to read it someday! Free proof copy.
Losing Nelson: Barry Unsworth. Belongs to my husband, he tried to get rid of it but I rescued it.
The Magic Mountain: Thomas Mann. I’m becoming increasingly unconvinced I will ever actually read this but we shall see. Gift from a friend.
The Master: Colm Toibin. While I enjoyed Brooklyn, I didn’t adore it and I’ve never really got into anything else by Toibin. Hopefully this will change my mind. Charity shop.
10:04: Ben Lerner. I declared last year that this was one of the books I was looking forward to in 2016, and I did at least get round to buying it. I loved Leaving the Atocha Station so I have high hopes for this. Actually purchased from a bookshop.
The Ship: Antonia Honeywell. Antonia gave such a fantastic talk at my Curtis Brown Creatve course about her first novel that I was immediately keen to read it. Borrowed from the library.
My Brilliant Friend: Elena Ferrante. I’ve been trying to find a novel in translation I’ll actually like, and everyone’s been raving about this! Borrowed from a friend.
Slade House: David Mitchell. I loved The Bone Clocks and this short ghost story looks equally engrossing. A Christmas gift from my husband.
The Eustace Diamonds and The Prime Minister: Anthony Trollope. I’ve read Can You Forgive Her?, Phineas Finn and Phineas Redux, so I’m starting to fill in the gaps in the Palliser series. Borrowed from my dad and bought from charity shop respectivelyy.
On The Kindle
I usually forget these books exist so this is a reminder.
Ancillary Justice: Ann Leckie. Reviewed positively by many of my favourite bloggers so had to try it when it was available for 99p. I’m expecting some bizarre genderless SF.
Now All Roads Lead to France: Matthew Hollis. Biography of the poet Edward Thomas, very well-reviewed on publication.
The Martian Chronicles: Ray Bradbury. I’ve been trying to read more SF, and this is an obvious classic.
J: Howard Jacobson. I want to try something by Jacobson, but this has been on my Kindle for at least a year.
Mr B’s Reading Spa
I haven’t yet read four of the five books I got from this fabulous spa experience:
A Kind of Compass ed. Belinda McKeon: I’ve loved both of McKeon’s novels, and this collection of short stories seemed like an ideal way to discover interesting new writers.
Vampires in the Lemon Grove: Karen Russell. I read St Lucy’s Home For Girls Raised By Wolves some time ago, but found it intermittently brilliant and bizarre; I’ve been told that this later collection of short stories is better.
The Deep: James Nestor. Non-fiction exploration of free diving and deep-sea exploration. The deeps of the ocean are one of my amateur obsessions, so I was obviously going to read this.
The Round House: Louise Erdrich. Set on a Native American reservation in North Dakota, this book is narrated by thirteen-year-old Joe, who finds out that his mother has been raped. Erdrich has written numerous novels, but this is the first I’ve read.
Considering this existing pile of books, it’s clear that, with the exception of Erdrich, it isn’t going to get me much further towards my goal of reading more writers of colour in 2016 (also, the TBR pile and Kindle are clearly where all the white men have been hiding…), so I’ve tried to keep this in mind when choosing…
New Books to Buy, Borrow or Beg*
A Brief History of Seven Killings: Marlon James. James has been everywhere since his Booker win, but shamefully, I hadn’t heard of him until he was shortlisted. This book looks fantastic and I very much look forward to reading it.
Eligible: Curtis Sittenfeld. It’s a modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice by Curtis Sittenfeld. Of course I have to read it. (April 2016)
Your Heart Is A Muscle The Size of a Fist: Sunil Yapa. Little Brown kindly offered me a free e-copy of this upcoming debut, which focuses on a riot in Seattle at the end of the twentieth century. (February 2016)
Everything is Teeth: Evie Wyld and Joe Sumner. Wyld’s second novel All The Birds, Singing was my favourite book of 2014, and I’m intrigued to try this graphic novel about sharks, although I don’t think I’ve ever read a graphic novel.
Closure ed. Jacob Ross. An edited collection of short stories by British writers of colour, this includes well-known writers such as Monica Ali and Bernadine Evaristo, but also lots of writers I haven’t heard of and whom I’m looking forward to discovering.
The Kindness of Enemies: Leila Aboulela. Split between nineteenth-century Russia and modern Scotland, this novel follows half-Sudanese academic Natasha in the present day and warrior Shamil in the 1850s. Requested free proof copy; I haven’t read anything by Aboulela before and I’m looking forward to trying her work.
The Bees: Laline Paull. I always read the Baileys shortlist, and this is the only book I haven’t read from the 2015 shortlist except the Anne Tyler. It looks weird and intriguing, and I was fascinated by bees as a child after reading Ned Kelly and the City of the Bees.
Go Set A Watchman: Harper Lee. After re-reading To Kill A Mockingbird, I’m especially intrigued to check this out.
I Let You Go: Clare Mackintosh. Mackintosh is coming to speak at my Curtis Brown course, so I’m keen to read this beforehand.
*request free proof copies of