Favourite books from 2019

I read 37 books this year – average for me, and only possible because I have no hobbies or social life.

My top five books of the year were:

The Great Alone, by Kristin Hannah
This book resonated with me because I harbour dreams of chucking everything in the bin, moving to a remote community and growing my own veg. Since I have no practical stills whatsoever I live the life vicariously through the writing of others. In this book, a family makes the move to remote Alaska and get much more than they planned for.

Kane and Abel, by Jeffrey Archer
It’s a tale of life, love, money and revenge; skillfully woven through generations of history. None of the characters are particularly likeable, but it was a solid book and an enjoyable read.

The Golden Compass, by Philip Pullman
I started reading this after watching a couple of episodes of the TV series. The book, as seems always the case, is much better than the dramatisation. It’s epic in scale, intelligent and tightly plotted. My least favourite of the trilogy, but it gets prize place because it led me on to the rest.

Tampa, by Alissa Nutting
No idea how I found this one. Celeste Price is young high school teacher with sexual proclivities for her students. It’s obscene, explicit and dark; but funny in a weird way. The protagonist is intensely scary and unpredictable. Very different from anything else that I read this year and I’m glad I read it. Can’t imagine that it was an easy sell to publishers though.

The Art of Noticing, by Rob Walker
What did we do when stood in a queue before we had mobile phones? Buggered if I can remember, but it was a long time ago. Rob Walker is on a mission to help us remember, with a book full of tips and activities designed to help us reconnect with the world around us. It includes activities like urban exploration, photo walks, taking the long way, and ‘Let a Stranger Lead you’ – where you follow a stranger around for a bit. I enjoyed that one, apart from the restraining order bit.

The full list of books from 2019 is here.