Listen. I'm not going to apologise for starting my reading year with Dungeons and Dragons, Art and Arcana even if you come round my place with a tooled-up crew of rabid heavies. I am who I am, and now Stranger Things has legitimised me. At least until season three when they all get into girls and the gang splits up and only that sad wizard-kid is left DM-ing in a basement on his own but you know what I mean.
It's been the usual mix of MG, YA, thrillers and fantasy this year, with the emphasis heavily on the thriller since I'm 75,000 words into one of my own. Here's hoping there's 2020 news on that but it's way too soon to say.
Later on in the year it looks like this:
In the MG space I loved Malamander, and in the land of Gatsby-esque YA, Lockhart's We Were Liars is of course a masterpiece and I was a fool not to notice when I read the first half three years ago, before I subsequently forgot to renew it, paying a hefty fine and moving on to other things. I'm a top-draw dunderhead and I don't deserve your patronage.
You might have seen a previous post called Six Thrillers; they accounted for a sunny month towards the end of the summer. Two I loved but you have to guess which. Others: Jane Harper’s The Lost Man was an intense and stifling whodunnit set under the relentless Antipodean sun. Dark Pines and An English Murder were chilly European equivalents. Lucy Foley’s The Hunting Party is shipping bucketloads from bookstore table-tops and for good reason: better, for me, than Moriarty’s Big Little Lies because despite a similar cast of vile and self-obsessed characters, Foley’s structure foregrounds the murder and we time-hop as well as head-hop. The two-day running time condenses action and ratchets tension very nicely.
Aany-way. Book of the year for me:
It's a raw, visceral and scary fictionalised account of the Donner party's disastrous attempted crossing of the Sierra Nevada in 1846. Spoilers: things turn bad and people get bit. Turn back or you will all die is plastered across the cover.
Hopefully that's not a comment on our foolish country's current trajectory, eh.