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My year in books

This year has been an excellent one for books, but not so much for me and reading. Mainly because of the iPad. When my Kindle packed up, I decided rather than replacing the Kindle, I’d spend the refund money on books. Because we have a Kindle app on the iPad, so I figured I didn’t really need a Kindle (but of course I always need more books).

But whenever I pick up the iPad to read a book, this happens: Check email. Check Twitter. Check Facebook. Check Google Reader. Check Instapaper. Kindle app is next, but it’s been at least 30 seconds since I last checked email and Twitter, so I check them again. And again. And again. Depending on how much I’m enjoying the book I’m reading, this stage can last from between 10 minutes to ALL FRIGGING DAY. (Actually, sometimes even if I’m really enjoying the book I’m reading and am gagging to get back to it, I can still spend a ridiculously long time in social media limbo, cursing myself all the time. What is wrong with me?!) Sometimes, even when I finally click on the Kindle app, I tell myself I need to read some of the samples (to get them out of the way) before getting back to my book and then, of course, once I’ve read a sample, I have to go and check email, and Twitter, and… *smacks self hard in face with iPad*

(At least I’m not alone – this piece by Kevin Barry, found via Ben Johncock, was very familiar. Although I only self-Google once a month, honest.)

Anyway. Despite the above madness, I managed to read the 52 Books I “reviewed” on here and a bunch of others I haven’t mentioned (cos I forgot… or couldn’t be arsed). So in no particular order…

My favourite adult books (no, not 50 Shades of Grey…):

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My favourite young adult (and slightly younger) books:

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My favourite non-fiction books:

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Some authors have two books on my faves list, so I’ve bundled them together:

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If I had to pick one absolute favourite book of the year, I think it would be Attachments – I didn’t want it to end and I’m still actually a bit annoyed that it did – but it’s so hard to choose!

Finally, one of the best things I read all year was a WIP by Louise Jones. I think it was only 10,000 words or so, but I absolutely loved it and have been nagging Louise for more ever since. Sadly, she’s been too busy carrying the Olympic torch, heading off to university, appearing in documentaries, and having talks with agents. She’s going to take the world by storm (actually, she already is) and I can’t wait to go into a book shop and buy her book.

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52 Books: A Natural Woman by Carole King

12953257I can’t say I’m a huge fan of Carole King – I didn’t know all that much about her, apart from knowing she’d written some iconic songs and had one of the best-selling albums of all time with Tapestry. I probably wouldn’t have picked this book up if I hadn’t been sent it by the publisher.

I enjoyed it, but I wasn’t really gripped by it. King is very laid back about her awesome (and I mean that in the original sense of the word) career and glosses over some of the most fascinating periods in music history. I mean, she worked in the Brill Building in the 60s writing songs like Will You Love Me Tomorrow and then moved to LA in the 70s and became part of the Laurel Canyon scene, but I don’t feel like this book gave me much of an impression of what either was like.

She was admirably honest about the abuse she suffered at the hands of her second husband, but then spent way too long describing a court case she’d been involved in with her third husband (over the property rights to her home – was this a huge story in America? I can’t imagine why she included it in such detail otherwise).

I was left with a definite feeling of admiration (and a new Spotify playlist), but I still feel like I need to sit down with her and say, “But what was it all REALLY like?”

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52 Books: The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes

images-1I’ve absolutely loved the three Jojo Moyes books I’ve read (her last three published books) so I think I should probably make reading her entire backlist a priority for next year.

This book seemed to take me forever to read – no reflection on the book, I just had a bunch of distractions – but that was also a good thing, since whenever I did have some time to read, I knew I had a wonderful book to get back to.

The Girl You Left Behind has more in common with The Last Letter From Your Lover than it does with Me Before You, but if you’re interested in great storytelling, gripping historical detail and completely believable characters, you must read this book.