Your best and worst reads of the year?

(102 Posts)
Parisbanana Sat 08-Dec-12 20:57:15

Since we're almost at the end of the year, was just looking back at what I've read.

Favourite books include The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes, The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett and A Street Cat Named Bob by James Bowen

Worst Stone Junction by Jim Dodge

Most disappointing was Noah's Compass by Anne Tyler. I am a big fan of her, but have been disappointed, underwhelmed by her latest writing.

I haven't managed to read as much as I'd like (mainly due to mumsnet!). After recommendation on here I read Before I Go To Sleep and loved it.

Don't really have a worst book, I tried to read Bill Bryson At Home but found it a bit hard going so gave up, however I'll have another try as it sounds interesting.

reastie Sat 08-Dec-12 21:10:04

Just marking place to give me some inspiration for my next book choice grin

Sparklytinsel Sat 08-Dec-12 21:17:45

Best reads - The House By The Sea - Santa Montefiore and The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley

Worst reads - Every Last One - Anna Quindlen, Dark Matter by Michelle Paver and The Thousand Autumns Of Jacob Zoet by David Mitchell

JiltedJohnsJulie Sat 08-Dec-12 22:31:37

Bit too hungover tired to think of a full list but Before I Go To Sleep sticks out as my worst. Good idea but they should have got someone literate else to write it.

Cherrypi Sun 09-Dec-12 00:14:20

Best read - How to be a woman by Caitlin Moran. A great, funny and informative read. Also currently enjoying her Moranthology.

Worst read - 99 reasons why by Caroline Smailes. Just horrible to read. Couldn't finish it.

TheWave Sun 09-Dec-12 00:32:57

Yes wasn't keen on Before I Go To Sleep either. Seems like it is a real Marmite book.

Couldn't get into Shattered: Modern Motherhood by Asher either, although I thought I would enjoy that sort of book (non-fiction though btw).

Also wasn't keen on Kathryn Flett's book Separate Lives, although like her writing usually.

I you work in an office type environment I liked And Then We Came to The End by Joshua Ferris. Detailed (have to have a bit of time to get into it) but soo true at times. Clever writing.

Celticlassie Sun 09-Dec-12 00:56:21

I loved The Blackhouse by Peter May. I also loved Pigeon English, but not the pigeon bits...

I did not enjoy The People's Act of Love at all. It took me what felt like 9 years to read.

Loved How To Be A Woman but couldn't read Moranthology, awful!

Parisbanana Sun 09-Dec-12 12:36:16

TheWave I couldn't get on with that Joshua Ferris book at all.
That's why I love threads like this.

Agree with How to be a Woman. That was my Christmas read last year.

babybythesea Sun 09-Dec-12 13:32:35

It seems I haven't read anything released this year! My reading list from this year appears to show me catching up on stuff I've been meaning to read for a while!

Of those, the best have been Innocent Traitor (Alison Weir), The Siege of Krishnapur (J.G. Farrell), The Siege (Helen Dunmore) and Still Missing (Beth Gutcheon).
The worst have been The Slap and The Colour of Forgetting (Merle Collins).

ninjanurse Sun 09-Dec-12 16:13:59

I have really enjoyed My Dear, I wanted to tell you by Louisa Young, Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes and Me Before you by Jojo Moyes

LoopsInHoops Sun 09-Dec-12 16:16:05

Loved the 100 year old man who climbed out of a window

merlottits Sun 09-Dec-12 17:18:09

The unlikely pilgimage of Harold Fry is my best book of the year. I thought 'me before you' was a pile of poo, so that's my worst. Also disliked 'how to be a woman'.
Enjoyed 'the dinner' by Herman Koch. Original and entertaining.

DuchessofMalfi Sun 09-Dec-12 19:16:33

My best reads this year have been Still Missing by Beth Gutcheon, My Dear I Wanted to Tell You by Louisa Young, The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller, and The Rules of Civility by Amor Towles. Loads of others I've liked a lot too, inc Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, The Hunger Games, How To Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran and The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides.

My least favourites would be Before I Go To Sleep by S J Watson. So disappointing. I was expecting to really love this novel (I love a good thriller) and yet I hated it and also The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt - loathed it.

MrsJingleBells74 Sun 09-Dec-12 19:22:21

Worst read definitely 50 Shades

The Slap was dire! Bought it to take on holiday and ended up leaving it in a bench on purpose.

Amblin Sun 09-Dec-12 19:28:49

i can never remember books i hated
Liked

where the hell have you been by tom carver ( non fic)
harold fry
the submission
where did ya go bernadette ( almost fave)
liked before i got to sleep ( it was ok)
liked defendin jacob
liked that weird one about differnet people - the Goon squad that one

Amblin Sun 09-Dec-12 19:29:13

HATE HATE HATE all MOran books ( can remmebr that ) and 50 shades shit

Amblin Sun 09-Dec-12 19:36:19

agree 100 year old man hilarious
LIked rachel heaths book although not as much as her last one
LOVED The return of captain John emmet
the new Seralllier mystery by old Susan Hill

LOVED Alys ALways by Harriet Lane ( ex mumsnetter too!)

HATED tigers in red weather
LOVED Wife 22 and the pop book Wired for sound by Tom bromley
Liked Gone girl despite its end

Liked DOuble cross by Ben mcintyre Liked Night Waking and liked Col gadaffi hat ( although she was a bit weird imo)

LOVED the blackhouse - the sequels not as much
LOVED LOVED The Asylum( not on kindle)
Next to love was ok and LOVED the Amor towles Rules of Civility

there - i went backwards in my kindle to January this year!

DuchessofMalfi Sun 09-Dec-12 19:51:27

Oh yes, forgot to add Gone Girl. Actually I didn't mind the ending. Don't want to plot spoil, but I thought it was a good twist - wasn't expecting it to end like that. Another good one - The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan.

mixedmamameansbusiness Sun 09-Dec-12 20:12:13

Worst... Crimson petal and the white, just could not get into it, first book I haven't finished for a long time.

Best... Close between elif shafak, the forty rules of love and Lloyd jones, mister pip.

bottleofbeer Sun 09-Dec-12 23:01:20

Worst, 50 shades. Man, this year's gone fast. Must have been about May-ish I read those. Disclaimer: my husband bought me the trilogy. I'd not have bought it for myself until I saw all three reduced to £1.99 at The Works grin

Best? blimey, reading is my big thing and I often get through two a week. So the ones that stand out for me are The Wicked Girls and the final part of the Jack Nightingale Trilogy. Oh, I read The Hunger Games too. First two are great. The third feels a bit padded and pointless. Sophie Hannah had one out this year too which I always enjoy. Oh and how could I forget? Glenn Cooper. Cracking reads!

KellyMarieTunstall Sun 09-Dec-12 23:19:55

Loved Water for elephants by Sara Gruen .
So different to usual type of books I go for and a really good read.

Worst wasThe birthing house by Christopher ransom
Despite constant urging from a colleague i just couldnt bring myself to finish it.It was that crap.

hatgirl Sun 09-Dec-12 23:29:28

Worst - the woman who went to bed for a year (Sue Townsend of Adrian Mole fame) promised so much and then a completely rubbish ending.

Best - Carrie's War - re-read it again after Nina Bawden's death. Was a favourite as a child and just as good as an adult.

DancesWithSnowmenAndElves Sun 09-Dec-12 23:31:55

worst 50 shades of shite, best Dreams of Joy by Lisa See

LoopsInHoops Sun 09-Dec-12 23:32:03

Worst was one recommended on MN - the wild?evil? something girls. Graphic descriptions of dead bodies and godawful obvious plot.

CallMeTuddles Sun 09-Dec-12 23:34:57

My worst has to be the fifty shades of grey books (bought them before they were all hyped up so didn't know what it was about)

I also started to read Lee Child's Jack Reacher books (and nearly finished them all), they are amazing and can't pick my favourite

Celticlassie Mon 10-Dec-12 00:50:06

Ooh - Amblin- I'm the same loved The Blackhouse, and really liked The Lewis Man, (not read The Chessmen yet) but much preferred the Blackhouse to the Lewis Man. Definitely not the popular opinion though.

highlandcoo Mon 10-Dec-12 08:25:39

I enjoyed:

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
Gillespie and I by Jane Harris
Germinal by Zola
The Company of Liars by Karen Maitland
State of Wonder and The Magician's Assistant by Ann Patchett
The Long Song by Andrea Levy
My Dear I Wanted to Tell You by Louisa Young
England's Lane by Joseph Connolly
That Summer by Andrew Greig
All That I Am and Stasiland by Anna Funder

If I had to pick a favourite it would be one of the Ann Patchett books.

Also read some good crime books by Louise Penny, Susan Hill, Tom Rob Smith and Gordon Ferris.

The worst by a mile this year was Death Comes to Pemberley by PD James. I should have known better than to tackle another P&P spin-off as they're always disappointing. Painfully bad and why it has four and a half stars on Amazon God only knows.

The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons was a strange mixture .. interesting subject - the seige of Leningrad, and absorbing plot but some of the worst sex/romantic scenes I've ever read. Should have been ruthlessly edited and it would have been a far better read.

Amblin Mon 10-Dec-12 09:53:47

agree paris wife was ok and stasiland is oldie but goodie

Amblin Mon 10-Dec-12 09:57:07

and i HATED all that i am

was crap

highlandcoo Mon 10-Dec-12 10:33:57

I thought All That I am was quite a difficult read but not crap.

It made me want to find out more about the history of the GDR which is why I read Stasiland next.

TunipTheVegedude Mon 10-Dec-12 10:39:04

Some wondrous YA stuff:

Life: an exploded diagram by Mal Peet, and one of his football ones, can't remember the name

Tyme's End by B.R.Collins

and of course the Hunger Games.

And I reread some of my old Norah Lofts (The Town House especially, and OMG they are good.)

TunipTheVegedude Mon 10-Dec-12 10:39:52

sorry, just realised this thread was on adult fiction blush

bimblebee Mon 10-Dec-12 11:30:19

Best books:
Then - Julie Myerson
Sense of an ending - Julian Barnes
Black is the colour - Helen Howe
Room - Emma Donoghue

Worst:
The Island - Victoria Hislop
Something I also read by Caroline Smailes (think it was Finding Adam or something like that) - truly, truly depressing I couldn't finish it.

lalalonglegs Mon 10-Dec-12 12:24:04

Another vote for Room, awesome concept and fantastic narrative voice. I really liked Alys Always (slightly know author so felt very benevolent towards it but was genuinely impressed too). I managed to get through End of the Party (non-fiction) which was brilliantly well-written but quite dense.

Worst book? Probably Stav Sherez's A Dark Redemption which I read for my book group: ludicrously bad characterisation and a flabby plot which is exactly what you don't need in a thriller. It wasn't dire, just a bit rubbish. I haven't read anything really terrible since The Abyssinian Chronicles by Moses Isegawa and Sebastian Faulks' A Week in December both a couple of years ago and both book group choices...

Willemdefoeismine Mon 10-Dec-12 12:29:28

Worst - 50 Shade of Grey trilogy. I read more illuminating bodice-rippers as a naive teenager!

Best - with DD, The Green Knowe books by Lucy M Boston. A real find and sufficiently different that they continued to engage me and DD through the five different books! Can't think how they didn't feature in my own reading as a child - I'd never come across them before.

Adult literature, well we read The Master and Margarita for our Book Group and that was amazing! A bit full-on and heavy but an amazing book and I still can't get the image of the giant, grinning cat out of my head!

Also really loved The Sisters Brothers - not a book I would ever have chosen to read of my own volition, but picked up DP's copy and really loved it...it was very visual and more importantly for a busy parent, quick and easy to read!

mimbleandlittlemy Mon 10-Dec-12 12:57:33

Best - Bring Up the Bodies, Life: An Exploded Diagram, The Song of Achilles, Gillespie and I, A Possible Life, Pure (until the very last page but I'll forgive it that), State of Wonder, The Sisters Brothers.

Worst: Before I Go to Sleep, Snowdrops.

TunipTheVegedude Mon 10-Dec-12 13:02:00

Mimble, you're the first person I've found who's read Life: An Exploded Diagram.

I read it after Meg Rosoff recommended it on her blog. Then I read one of his football ones as a result despite hating football and loved it too.

lauraellajane Mon 10-Dec-12 13:18:34

Hi ladies! New to Mumsnet but have been hanging around the pregnancy section for a bit smile

I've had a pretty pitiful year of reading but hoping to remedy that.

My worst book of the year - The Casual Vacancy - I was really looking forward to this being released and eagerly preordered it, but I found it really difficult to get into and didn't find anything likable about the characters. Abandoned it about 40 pages in and will attempt another time.

My best book is the one I'm reading now so haven't finished yet - The Grass is Singing by Dorris Lessing. It's one of those books that's so well written you want to savour every word and read it carefully (normally I read at top speed!).

Currently making a list of books to read in 2013 from all your suggestions as will have hours of breastfeeding to get through from May!

HaphazardTophat Mon 10-Dec-12 13:25:30

worst, 50 shades of shite and to think I'll never get that time back sad

best, the Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse by Robert Rankin LOL at every page. (2002 book but so good I had to read again).

600 hours of Edward, Craig Lancaster, a decent enough easy read.

The Bloodletter's Daughter, Linda Lafferty, decent also.

mimbleandlittlemy Mon 10-Dec-12 16:31:27

Tunip I think Life: An Exploded Diagram is just brilliant and try to plug it at every opportunity, but I've not read any of his others (and I actually rather like football so must give them a go). This also reminds me that one of my book club has it on loan and hasn't given it back...

DuchessofMalfi Mon 10-Dec-12 16:55:07

The worst by a mile this year was Death Comes to Pemberley by PD James. I should have known better than to tackle another P&P spin-off as they're always disappointing. Painfully bad and why it has four and a half stars on Amazon God only knows.

Highland grin. It was so bad, I had even forgotten I'd read it - removed from my memory swiftly grin

juneau Mon 10-Dec-12 17:06:08

Best
Me Before You: JoJo Moyes
The Sense of an Ending: Julian Barnes
Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?: Jeanette Winterson
Going Solo: Roald Dahl
The Hand That First Held Mine: Maggie O'Farrell
The Hare with Amber Eyes: Edmund de Waal

Worst
Sweet Tooth: Ian McEwan
Never Let me Go: Kazuo Ishiguro
The Submission: Amy Waldman
Snowdrops: AD Miller

lauraellajane Tue 11-Dec-12 15:44:38

No way! I LOVED Never Let Me Go. What didn't you like about it Jueau?

That reminds me I also loved When We Were Orphans this year - fantastic plot with mystery, Kazuo Ishiguro really has a knack for beautiful understated descriptions of relationships between people. Also love Remains of the Day.

juneau Tue 11-Dec-12 18:04:36

I hated the story (gloomy, utterly depressing, the whole concept of breeding people for their organs, who was doing it, etc, not properly explained), and I hated the passivity of the characters. Maybe that was bred into them too, but I wanted to give them all a bloody good shake and say 'Run, for fuck's sake!'. It really bothered me that they were just lambs to the slaughter. Nary a one of them tried to fight against their fate. Like I said, just depressing. Made me want to slit my wrists.

NorthernNumpty Tue 11-Dec-12 18:10:28

Best: the Room - Emma Donoghue
Me before you - jojo moyes

Worst: The twitter diaries - utter drivel!

juneau Tue 11-Dec-12 18:10:46

What did you love about it laura? I can appreciate Ishiguro's mastery of language, but otherwise I'm baffled that it's so highly rated. What am I missing?

spanky2 Tue 11-Dec-12 18:28:08

Worst has to be 50shades of grey. I agree that I read better in this genre in the 90s. I agree thatbefore i go to sleep was also disappointing.
Best has to be all of Jo Nesbo's books. He is a beautiful writer. I also loved Jane Eye by Charlotte Bronte . She wrote the most wonderful put downs of Rochester 's friends.

PerUnaBomber Tue 11-Dec-12 18:33:36

Loved: The Sisters Brothers, Pure, Bring Up The Bodies, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet.

Loathed: When God was a Rabbit, The Slap and The hand that first held mine.

CoteDAzur Tue 11-Dec-12 19:55:39

Laura - I recently re-read Never Let Me Go and can answer your question:

Never Let Me Go works as an atmospheric piece about someone's childhood memories & teenage years, but completely fails as proper speculative fiction about "What might be if xx happens" because none of it makes sense. The author hasn't bothered to create and describe an internally consistent world where clones would be raised & slaughtered for their organs. In order to completely sidestep imagining the details of a future where this would be possible, he even starts it off by saying the book takes place some time in 1990s hmm

- All these legions of children, none of whom have ever had a home, family, or a parent. Yet they are perfectly normal, no different in their temperament, feelings, thoughts, interactions to children in boarding schools who have loving families
- None of them run & hide, although they know they will be robbed of their organs and eventually killed
- If clones are not considered "people", since they obviously have no rights, how do they own cars and have driver's licenses?
- Why are they infertile? Surely that means their reproductive organs are useless for transplantation. Why on earth would that be?
- They survive losing 2 or maybe 3 organs, and the rest of it is wasted. Surely a better system would be to take one of them, and completely harvest all his organs, skin, cornea, hair, etc.
- An enormous amount of money is spent to keep them alive, fed, clothed, etc whereas the logical thing to do would be to harvest their organs as soon as they reach adult proportions shortly after puberty.
- If organs from clones is a possibility, surely the logical idea would be for everyone (or every family) to have a clone of their own to minimise risks of tissue rejection. And if the goal is supplying organs from unrelated strangers, wouldn't it be MUCH easier, cheaper, etc to just pass a law mandating forced organ donation at death?

naturelover Tue 11-Dec-12 20:09:30

Best:
Freedom by J Frantzen
The Marriage Plot by J Eugenides
Pure by A Miller
Why be Happy by J Winterson
Any Human Heart by W Boyd
Sunset Park by P Auster
Cocktail Hour under the Tree of Forgetfulness by A Fuller

Worst: some chicklit trash for my book club that I have chosen to forget the title and author of.

Interesting, two people here didn't like Snowdrops. I read it last year and loved it and so do several of my friends.

JiltedJohnsJulie Tue 11-Dec-12 20:52:57

Had --blanked from my memory--forgotten 50 shades. Lets just say I wasn't inspired enough to read the other two.

Tikkabillajive Tue 11-Dec-12 21:14:31

I've kept a list of all the books I've read this year for the first time ever - it has been really nice looking back over it.

Best:
Wonder by R.J. Palacio
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
Frenchman's Creek by Daphne DuMaurier
The Hunger Games (the first book, didn't find the others as gripping)

Others I enjoyed:
Room by Emma Donoghue
The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker
11.22.63 by Stephen King
The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides (though a bit disappointing after Middlesex)
My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher
Dark Matter by Michelle Paver
The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

Worst:
50 Shades of Grey ('nuff said)
My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult (utter drivel)
100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (found this totally impenetrable)
Ordinary Thunderstorms by William Boyd

Dragonwoman Tue 11-Dec-12 23:07:28

I thought about the issues discussed in 'Never let me go'. I think the author is using the children as a metaphor for all people's lives. How we can sleepwalk into a way of life because it is all we know & how very difficult it can be to escape your 'destiny'.

As for the practicalities, there is evidence to show that children brought up in groups without families from birth (like old style children's homes) exhibit emotional flatness as adults, such as seen in the book.

I took the story to mean that the children were clones of specific people & kept until their much older original needed the organs, which were removed bit by bit as needed to keep the rest 'fresh'. That way they would be a perfect genetic match.

juneybean Tue 11-Dec-12 23:08:54

Best: The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

Worst: Snowdrops by AD Miller

BOFingSanta Tue 11-Dec-12 23:30:37

Best

My Dear, I Wanted To Tell You, by Louisa Young

11.22.63, by Stephen King (too long, but still a page-turner)

Remarkable Creatures, by Tracy Chevalier (I could be biased, because she replied so generously to an email I sent her afterwards grin)

The Secret Keeper, by Kate Morton (I so didn't see the twist coming)

(which reminds me, Fingersmith was a highlight too, even though it wasn't released this last year)

The Sealed Letter, by Emma Donoghue

Dark Places, by Gillian Flynn, author of Gone Girl (utterly compelling, her best, I think)

Worst

Revenge Of The Tide, by Elizabeth Haynes (so disappointing after Into The Darkest Corner last year)

and some shite chicklit that Shiney recommended called The Dating Detox. But really, that was my own fault- I should have known better grin

bottleofbeer Tue 11-Dec-12 23:41:38

Weird, I read Revenge of the tide last week!

Didn't come close to her first, I agree.

It's years old now but The Wicked Girls inspired me to re-read As If by Blake Morrison. Well worth a read, non fiction.

BOFingSanta Tue 11-Dec-12 23:44:49

Didn't it just sound like she had been on a pole-dancing course and wanted to recite the moves? Grimola.

bottleofbeer Tue 11-Dec-12 23:48:47

Yes, I went for a pole dancing lesson for a hen do. Dear god it was horrific.

I'm going to write a book about it, andddd step around the pole, swing and fall on your arse with an unpoledancer-ish thud.

Makes me so glad mine was a Robbie Williams tribute act and drinking sesh in Espo's grin

BOFingSanta Tue 11-Dec-12 23:59:25

Ah, I should have been there grin

bottleofbeer Wed 12-Dec-12 00:02:23

Next time I get married you're SO there.

letsgetreadytoramble Wed 12-Dec-12 03:55:29

Gillespie And I by Jane Harris is an amazing book - starts out a bit slowly but once you get into it you literally can't put it down. Definitely my best book of the year.

Agree that Fifty Shades was the worst - appallingly badly written - "oh my!"

maillotjaune Wed 12-Dec-12 10:24:25

Worst - the only book I couldn't finish this year was Snowdrops - AD Miller i think

Finally made it through A Tale of Two Cities in an effort to celebrate Dickens anniversary but won't be trying again.

Best

Also finally read some Trollope and have lots more to look forward to lined up on the kindle.

Fugitive Pieces - Anne Michaels
Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
This Thing of Darkness - Harry Thompson
(all the above read because of mumsnet!)
Parrot and Olivier in America - Peter Carey
The Master and Margherita - still haunted by several things from that, as Willem has said upthread.
The Hare with Amber Eyes
Bring Up The Bodies

Galaxymum Wed 12-Dec-12 12:07:40

Best reads for me were:
The Thread
My Dear I Wanted To Tell You
Mariana (by Susanna Kearsley)
and discovering bargain kindle comfort reads at a time I really needed them!

Worst read by far 50 Shades of Grey (7 months later it still angers me to think of "oh my"!)

ScrimshawTheSecond Wed 12-Dec-12 14:42:23

Best: Possibly The Incomers by Moira McPartlin. About a black woman who comes to rural Scotland in the 1980s. Wonderful story, very compelling. Loved it.

Worst: Pirate Pete's Potty Adventure. And then maybe Jo Nesbo - torture-porn. A fabulous plot ruined by unnecessary violence.

naturelover your favourite books this year are almost the same as mine. I've not read - or heard of -,the Cocktail Hour one, though, so I'm going to track it down. Love all the others on your list.

AvonCallingBarksdale Wed 12-Dec-12 18:03:38

Best
Me Before You
Before I Go To Sleep (can't believe how many people have that on their worst list!!!)
Room
Into The Darkest Corner
Starter For 10
Maxwell Sim (can't remember the full title)

worst
I tend to abandon books I don't like, but I percevered with the Slap and still thought it was rubbish by the end.

babybythesea Wed 12-Dec-12 21:18:04

I have a request.
Please stop posting the books that you enjoyed and that I haven't already read/got.

My Amazon wishlist (which is where I record everything that I think looks as though I would like it) is now 23 pages long, 553 items. This is a list of purchases I wish to make - it's not good for my wallet.

And that's before I've started on the stuff in my house that I haven't yet read.

!!!!!!

CoteDAzur Wed 12-Dec-12 22:12:28

Dragon - re "I took the story to mean that the children were clones of specific people & kept until their much older original needed the organs, which were removed bit by bit as needed to keep the rest 'fresh'."

That's what I had thought after reading it the first time in 2006 (because that makes better sense). Upon reading it last month, I can confirm that the book is about clones being raised as general organ donors.

The film "The Island" with Scarlett Johansson & Ewan Mc Gregor did this subject much better imho.

lauraellajane Thu 13-Dec-12 12:30:29

Interesting points re Never Let me Go Cote - i think I'd agree with all of them but obviously don't pay attention enough while reading! I just enjoyed the good writing

Badvocsanta Thu 13-Dec-12 12:37:32

Best:
Ancient and modern by Natalie Hayes
Song of Achilles by madeline miller
Being up the bodies by Hilary mantel

Worst:
Moranthology - awful
50 shades - oh my

AvonCallingBarksdale Thu 13-Dec-12 13:50:03

Derailing slightly, but I found Michel Faber's Under The Skin a much better read than Never Let Me Go.

BOFingSanta Thu 13-Dec-12 14:08:40

Oh, Under The Skin was fabulous- so creepy!

Parisbanana Thu 13-Dec-12 16:21:39

I loved Under the Skin. Creepy is exactly the right word for it.

bottleofbeer Thu 13-Dec-12 17:55:17

Meh, I bought Room on the back of this thread and it's annoying me just a few pages in. Is the whole thing written from the child's perspective?

Is it really worth carrying on with for the story if I'm finding it annoying now?

bottleofbeer it doesn't get any better. I'd give up now, if I were you.

bottleofbeer Thu 13-Dec-12 21:05:25

Did you enjoy it Agent? which seems a stupid question given your response grin but I'm unsure if it was because you didn't enjoy it or because it's all written from the five year old's perspective and therefore it's obvious I won't?

No, I didn't enjoy it - mainly because it was written from the child's perspective, and I found it beyond irritating. There's also a wildly unrealistic thing that happens towards the end. I thought the whole book was pretty crap, and not worthy of the Booker.

I know that's a minority view though - the rest of my book group loved it.

bottleofbeer Thu 13-Dec-12 21:24:09

Oh heck. Mind you I shouldn't be surprised. A couple of pages in and I'm thinking great idea for a story but I'd probably prefer to hear it from "ma's" point of view.

Thanks for the head's up! smile

You're welcome smile

bottleofbeer Fri 14-Dec-12 00:44:16

Oh I think I should mention a book called Tell me no secrets. I found it a really good read. I seem to have similar tastes to a lot of people here so it might be worth a read smile

Really enjoyed it smile

NicknameTaken Fri 14-Dec-12 13:50:14

Noting recommendations of Pure and Gillespie and I - I've really enjoyed other books by those authors, so will stick those on my list.

I didn't engage much with literary fiction this year - leaning more and more towards non-fiction. The fiction I most enjoyed was crime fiction:

Kingdom of Strangers by Zoe Ferraris (set in Saudi Arabia; really compassionate to the restrictions on both men and women - avoids simple condemnations.

The Assassin's Prayer by Ariana Franklin (main character is a female doctor in the time of Henry II)

Summer School by Domenia de Rossa (romance rather than crime. Thought it would be a fluff but unexpectedly loved it. An updating of Enchanted April).

I also really enjoyed crime by Ann Cleeves and Barbara Nadel. I raced through the Hunger Games trilogy (though wouldn't re-read) and YA fantasy by Joseph Delaney (the Spooks series).

The fiction I hated most was The Charming Quirks of Others, by Alexander McCall Smith. I've given him a few chances now and nope, still don't like it, so THAT'S IT.

Non-fiction I loved: Becoming Shakespeare, Survival of the Sickest, The Etymologicon, The Last Word (journalism by Ben MacIntyre), If Walls Could Talk (Lucy Wolsey), The Shadow of the Sword, Young Romantics (gorgeous! Loved, loved!) and The Better Angels of our Nature. I'm currently reading These Wonderful Rumours, the diary of a young schoolteacher in WWII, and really enjoying it - a cross between E M Delafield and Barbara Pym.

Disliked How England Made the English and Spell It Out (dull, dull).

BabeRuthless Fri 14-Dec-12 16:18:53

Books I loved

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Dare Me by Megan Abbott (Also read a few of her early books which are noir fiction & loved those too)
White Lies by Andrea Gillies (only came across it this year)
Sister Brothers (so atmospheric)
Impossible Dead by Ian Rankin
Perfect People by Peter James

This is also the year I discovered Tess Gerritsen, Mo Hayder, Marian Keyes & Peter James so a very good year!

Books I didn't love

Secrets of the Tides (Believe it or not I didn't realise what this book was about when I got it. Couldn't finish it)
Blue Bloods by Edward Conlan (it's a cops memoir. Thought it was going to be along the same lines as The Corner but its unbelievably dull)

CoteDAzur Fri 14-Dec-12 17:38:53

I'm reading Gone Girl now and finding it terribly annoying, starting with the first page where the guy is talking about how he loves the shape and angles of his wife's skull hmm Second page is about how he wakes up - mechanical, "The world is black and then, showtime!" hmm

I'm losing the will to live. And I'm losing trust in GoodReads, who has voted this book the best "mystery" book of 2012.

I'm at 7% now, and the girl is just gone. Does it get better? Does anything interesting happen?

DuchessofMalfi Fri 14-Dec-12 18:30:24

Part two is much better - very bitter and twisted, but obviously not to everyone's taste.

CoteDAzur Fri 14-Dec-12 21:33:36

I like bitter and twisted. OK, I'll persevere.

TwllBach Fri 14-Dec-12 21:37:19

Mary Burton - I'm watching you.

Utter tripe. A complete waste of time, effort and money.

BoiledEggandToastSoldiers Fri 14-Dec-12 21:52:06

Best The Forgotten Garden
Five People You Meet in Heaven
Tuesdays with Morrie
Mrs de Winter
Remarkable Creatures
Worst The Slap
Grace Williams Says it Loud
Anna Karenina
The Woman Who Went To Bed For a Year

BOFingSanta Fri 14-Dec-12 22:10:33

CoteDAzure- do keep going, I think it's worth it. I wasn't gripped at the beginning either. Some people were disappointed at the ending, but I liked it.

As I say, 'Dark Places' by the same author is better, in my opinion, and it grabs you from the very first page.

DuchessofMalfi Sat 15-Dec-12 06:41:54

I think I'll look out for Dark Places. I liked her writing.

Southeastdweller Sat 15-Dec-12 10:46:02

Best - I Remember Nothing by Nora Ephron. Funny, though-provoking and poignant.

Worst - Separate Lives by Kathryn Flett. The worst kind of chick lit - hollow and full of irritating characters.

awaynboilyurheid Sat 15-Dec-12 18:43:45

Worst; My dear I wanted to tell you could have been great but just failed and someone gave me the Slap couldn't even finish it so bad, horrible characters

Best; RJ Ellory A quiet vendetta, brilliant should be made into a film. Also loved a quiet belief in Angels by same author although both books very different, great reads.

bottleofbeer Sun 16-Dec-12 11:55:52

I went off Peter James tbh. He's far too descriptive, I once realised I'd read three whole pages describing a Brighton street.

Description is good, but don't overdo it.

Mo Hayder is a bit hit and miss for me. I loved the idea behind Pig Island but it didn't work as a book imo. I read another of hers a few weeks ago called Hanging Hill and quite enjoyed it. Some divine force is preventing me reading Tokyo, both times I've ordered it Amazon's thrown up a problem with my bank card that I can't be arsed to immediately sort and by the time I get round to it other books have caught my eye that I've ordered instead.

Shakey1500 Sun 16-Dec-12 11:59:03

Best- The 100 Year Old Man

Worst-50 Shades of Utter Shite

bottleofbeer Sun 16-Dec-12 12:00:44

Oh and pleae, read Stuart MacBride.

I never know whether to piss myself laughing or vomit when reading his books. I want DI Steele to be a real person. I want to be her best mate!

MichelleHud Sun 16-Dec-12 13:06:50

I liked:
- The Fault in Our Stars (J. Green)
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower (S. Chbosky)

CoteDAzur Thu 20-Dec-12 14:03:09

I ended up really enjoying Gone Girl. Its second half was great and the ending was pretty terrific, actually. It's almost as if the first part of the book is written by another author.

hackmum Fri 21-Dec-12 08:28:30

I seem to have read more non-fiction than fiction than this year. But sticking to fiction, I particularly enjoyed Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel, The Song of Achilles by Madeleine Miller, A Possible Life by Sebastian Faulks, Alone in Berlin by Hans Fallada and Capital by John Lanchester.

mumslife Mon 31-Dec-12 17:42:51

the post mistress the hand that first held mine the forgotton garden all excellent but my favourite was a gathering storm Rachel Hore fabulous book also the help fabulous book

clattypatty Mon 07-Jan-13 23:53:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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