On these last few moments of 2016, I’m trying to remember from scratch the most memorable books of this year, not counting on my literary / memory crutch of this blog, of Goodreads and notebooks. Surely, just like Goldilocks and the three bowls of soup, amidst a large pile of books that were a bit too this or not enough that, the few ones that were perfectly right should stand out on their own, shouldn’t they? (Mmh, I am no Goldilocks at all, I just happen to read traditional tales to the boys, that’s all…)
Well, I usually complain about my bad memory, but that’s not as difficult as I’d thought, because I kept recommending my favorites to… well, to anyone and everyone (that’s the privilege of librarians who are constantly asked: “can you recommend a good book to me?” The first time I was unprepared; but the next I was ready). The two first titles that come out of my lips are not particularly high-brow, in fact they rather qualify as binge reads, or comfort reads (except one might discuss how comfortable they really are).
They are both big books, 800 pages or more, and it’s ironic because I am often quite reluctant to try big books (they’re quite an investment in time, and such a hassle to carry in one’s purse). But those two swept me off my feet and were totally escape reads (because lets face it, 2016 gave us all so many reasons to wish for some escape, right?)
11.22.63 by Stephen King is a big chunk of a bestseller, and its success is totally warranted in my opinion. I haven’t posted about it here, because well, Goodreads has over 276,000 ratings and almost 30,000 reviews. If you ever need a refresher, let’s say that “time travel”, “horror” and “love story” make for an improbable but very addictive genre mix. I just feel a bit stupid not to have read any Stephen King before (except his book on writing), but that shouldn’t be too difficult to remedy.
Another big book that was hugely entertaining was Outlander by Anna Gabaldon, which I will offer as a Christmas gift to some friends along with some Scottish souvenirs from the holidays. I could not read that book fast enough, and the TV show is quite slow compared to the reading experience.
In the non-fiction department, Big Magic by Elisabeth Gilbert was a great helping of friendly advice that feels like a comforting blanket and a hot cocoa all in one. It’s a pity I borrowed the book from the library, because I wanted to underline every other sentence. If anyone struggles with creativity, or thinks that s/he’s not good enough to be creative, it’s a great medicine.
Pascal Garnier‘s books were certainly a great discovery this year, and a great inspiration. Weirdly, even though this writer is French, I have only read him in English, thanks to Gallic books, and the noir atmosphere, with brutal realism, gloomy atmosphere, a bit of wit and suspense, made me crave for more. I read three Garnier this year!!
Last but not least, I was happy to discover that Judith Flanders, beyond her great history books on Victorian daily life, has branched out into the cozy mystery genre, with a Murder of Magpies, which features a female lead working in the publishing industry.
There you have it, five titles or authors to delight in during the winter months. I hope 2017 will also bring its share of discoveries! What would you recommend?