Regular readers - both of you - will know that last year I decided to read twelve huge books in 2018, having blogged about my problem with big books here.
I'm gonna be honest. It didn't happen. I read some big books, sure - seven of them, ahem - but the smaller ones kept tempting me too much. Here's some of what I got through this year. It started like this....
See? I even have a celebratory 'BB' label for epic reads. The Fireman was a blistering post-apocalyptic drama that sat curiously alongside Dan Smith's super-tense MG chiller Below Zero. I also thought it might pair nicely with The Stand; father and son even quoting the same Springsteen lyric at the start of their respective pandemic-epics. Have to say, though, I bought the fat Stand and it was waa-ay longer than the slim 600-pager I read back in the day. This bad boy came in at about 1,200 pages and didn't have the skinny pop-and-swagger I remember from my first read through. Clearly I've changed - many still consider it King's magnum opus but I'd take Buick 8 any day of the week. Nostalgia sent me back to Terry Brooks' work - I devoured it as a kid - and the staggeringly bad Netflix adaptation kept me there for a while.
But look at the little ones creeping in. PD James. Marcus Sedgwick. Michelle Paver. Alex Scarrow. Non-fic about creativity I'm reading for another project. I read Ignore Everybody in a day, dammit. Soon I was doomed to return to punchy-as-a-puppy-in-boxing-gloves YA thrillers. I've had a grand time with Nick Lake's There Will Be Lies, Karen McManus' One of Us is Lying, Martin Stewart's The Sacrifice Box, Tom Pollock's Red Wolf White Rabbit and Andrew Smith's Grasshopper Jungle.
My fave of this year though? Drum-roll......... :
OK, so maybe I'm being too ambitious. I should stop setting myself suffocatingly-specific annual targets and just read, yeah?
That said, I'm planning on 2019 being the year of only reading the work of dead-authors-who-had-voluminous-beards-and-impractically-small-glasses!
Friends - are you thinking what I'm thinking? I know, right? Bring on the Wilkie Collins!