2016: My Year In Books

Posted in Books
on December 6, 2016
book shelf


At the beginning of the year, in the place of my normal new year’s resolution (eat less, do more: who’d know that would be so hard to achieve?), I set myself the challenge of reading more books.

Easy enough, I thought. I dutifully downloaded the GoodReads app and set myself up a book challenge for 2016. I went with 40, a nice round number, based on the fact that during my master’s I read over 100 of the blighters, so just under half of that should be achievable, even with a full time job. (More on this later).

And then I read three books very quickly and promptly forgot about my challenge for most of the rest of the year. Apparently, if you want to achieve your reading goals, you’ve actually got to read a few books – not just buy them from bookshops and watch them pile up.

My challenge started out of fear slightly before the new year. Twas Christmas and we were doing the annual family tour. At our first stop, we started to watch the excellent BBC adaptation of Christie’s classic, And Then There Were None, but with no guarantee of us being able to see the final part at our next stop, I was faced with no option. Just like every rational human being, I downloaded it on my phone’s kindle app, and preceded to read it as quickly as I could during the car journey. By the time we reached my boyfriend’s father’s house, I was content in the knowledge of whodunit, and able to fully enjoy the festivities.

I have a confession to make at this point: I had never, ever read an Agatha Christie book before. The closest I’d ever come was googling who the culprit was when I thought The Mouse Trap was likely to close in the West End. I don’t think I’d even read a crime fiction book before. (I know, I know..). I was hooked. As a result, and as you’ll see from the list below, 2016 has very much been the year of crime fiction for me. One of these days I’ll identify the killer more than a page before the denouement is revealed.

So 2016, what have you had in store for me this year? Below is my complete reading list – including audiobooks – denoted with (A).

  1. And Then There Were None – Agatha Christie (Technically a 2015 accomplishment, but it is where this journey started).
  2. Endless Night – Agatha Christie
  3. At Bertram’s Hotel – Agatha Christie (spotting a pattern yet?)
  4. The More You Ignore Me – Jo Brand (I had exhausted my local library’s collection of Christie novels by this point).
  5. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – JK Rowling (A)
  6. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – JK Rowling (A)
  7. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – JK Rowling (A)
  8. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – JK Rowling (A)
  9. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – JK Rowling (A)
  10. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince – JK Rowling (A)
  11. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – JK Rowling (A) (I think we can now see why audible only ever recommends children’s books to me now).
  12. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd – Agatha Christie (I found a charity shop…)
  13. Nemesis – Agatha Christie (Told you)
  14. Good Omens – Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman (A)
  15. Moving Pictures – Terry Pratchett
  16. Open House – Jill Mansell
  17. The Cuckoo’s Calling – Robert Galbraith
  18. The Silkworm – Robert Galbraith
  19. Career of Evil – Robert Galbraith (I devoured these).
  20. Fibber in the Heat – Miles Jupp – A mixture of (A) and hard copy. I unintentionally learnt about cricket while reading this.
  21. Bonkers: My Life in Laughs – Jennifer Saunders (A)
  22. Everything Everything – Nicola Yoon (Everyone needs a bit of teenage fiction once in a while)
  23. According to YES – Dawn French (A)
  24. Dashing Through The Snow – Debbie Macomber (Really, save yourself. Don’t bother reading this).
  25. Parsnips Buttered – Joe Lycett (A) – Absolutely Fantastic
  26. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts One and Two – Because I hadn’t read enough Harry Potter this year.
  27. Bridget Jones’ Baby – Helen Fielding. (I will never outgrow Bridget)
  28. Moomin, Volume 2 – Tove Jansson (Picture books still count, right?)
  29. The Lady In The Van – Alan Bennett
  30. Holding – Graham Norton (I will review this in a later blog post, but if you haven’t read it yet – you simply must).

In my ‘Currently reading’ list are:

  1. Jeeves and the Wedding Bells – Sebastian Faulks. Now, I have been trying to read this for quite some time. It’s not that I don’t like it – Faulks has done a very good job at imitating Wodehouse, there’s just some reason I can’t seem to get into it. I will persist though.
  2. The Magpie Murders – Anthony Horowitz (A) although I am going to borrow my mother’s book of it, because it’s so good I’m going to want to re-read it once the audio book is finished.
  3. Peas and Queues: The Minefield of Modern Manners – Sandi Toksvig (A). A bit of lighthearted fun.


So in total, 18 books and 12 audiobooks. Not too bad, but could be better. And here we are, back to my blog. In the coming weeks I will be reviewing some of the books that I read last year, as well as adding to my collection. The blog is here to keep me focussed, and essentially guilt me back into a reading habit. If master’s year Alice can manage over a hundred…

This year my aim will be 26 books (excluding audio books). Wish me luck!

Review of Magpie Murders

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