During 2017 I began to track the books I was enjoying, and came up with this list. They range from classics, to fiction, to fantasy and each has something different to offer. So, in no particular order, here are my favourite reads of 2017.
The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
“The Language of Flowers” was recommended to me by the Geordie and we ended up reading it for our book club. It received mixed reviews due to its poetic language and preteen themes, however I found it delightful. The story follows a young girl through foster care to her love of flowers and beyond. It takes a close look at the life of somebody that has had to go through difficult times and needs no one. The way Diffenbaugh uses the definitions of flowers is stunning and it makes this book a “guilty pleasure” read.
The Liars Gospel by Naomi Alderman
I happened to come across this book in a class that I took called Modern Fiction and have fallen in love with the author, she is a well established women’s writer and has received fantastic reviews for her works. This novel looks at the story of Jesus from the viewpoint of other traditional characters. Alderman takes a well known narrative and transforms it into something different, it adds to the discourse around Atheism and Christianity but in a non-confrontational way. She has used her fictional writing to play with the story in a way that should not be deemed as insulting or blasphemous, rather it is too be taken as a story, a work of fiction based on (all depending your views) non/historical events.
The Sea by John Banville
This is a beautifully written book that I read early in 2017 and has an awe-inspiring prose. It does not read as a traditional work of fiction rather, with influences of Beckett, stands out with a distinctive style. Banville takes a look at nature, memory and invention and personifies them. The reader joins the protagonist in a journey through his wife’s death in a setting of a childhood house by the sea. It is a haunting novel that takes its own time, truly a beautiful read.
On the other side by Carrie Hope Fletcher & Winter’s Snow by Carrie Hope Fletcher
This was another “guilty pleasure” read. I first heard of this author from her West end productions in Les Miserables, Addams Family and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, she is a phenomenal actress with a literary mind and I enjoyed her book. It was easy to read and the story was pleasant,
I loved the quirks and the themes that seemed to intertwine throughout. I loved the main protagonist “Evie Snow” and her adventures to break away from her over-bearing mother. I also enjoyed the way Fletcher uses expressive language and can feel involved with her way of writing, her characters seem right out of reality. I must admit that this is another preteen fantasy but I loved it nonetheless, which leads us onto the next book that I enjoyed last year. Winter’s Snow is the in-between story of “Vincent Winters”. It is a very short story that covers all of the questions that were left unanswered in “On the other side”. It is also beautifully written and I was extremely satisfied with the direction Fletcher took it.
Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch
I have had a love of fantasy novels for a few years now and wanted to branch out from the epic fantasies that I have been reading. The Yorkshireman recommend “Rivers of London” by Ben Aaronovitch and I truly thought that I wasn’t going to be a fan, but, I loved it. I enjoyed the historical influence within Aaronovitch’s writing and liked how he portrayed the supernatural. In this novel we follow the mysterious happenings of PC Grant, a rookie police officer who’s going to get the surprise of his life. Rivers of London has the intrigue of a thriller and the elements of a fantasy it is a great read and I look forward to reading the rest of the series.
The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
Jon recommended me this one for when I finished my last Sanderson novel and I really enjoyed it. It has colourful language that adds to the narration and action for days. I loved routing for the rebels of the criminal underworld and the Gentleman Bastards are one of the most hilarious group of unruly miscreants I have had the pleasure of reading about. Lynch uses a fine balance of intelligence, humour and filth to create a vivid picture of the criminal world in what is effectively “Venice”. We see our unlikely hero’s in a variety of dangerous escapades that keeps the reader turning the pages well into the early hours of the morning. I am excited to read the next book in the trilogy to find out what happens next!
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J. K Rowling
Ok, so I should be absolutely ashamed of myself here. As an avid reader and long time fantasy fan I should have read the Harry Potter series at least 10 years ago. I deserve the name calling and the judgmental looks, and now that we are over it I want to jump on the Potter fan club and express my love for them. I am sure that I don’t need to recount the story as everyone and their mother has either read it or seen it, so I will just say that I read it, I loved it and Pottermore tells me that I am a Slytherin with a cherry wood with unicorn hair II wand and my patronus is a hedgehog. I could not be happier with that.