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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.

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

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 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

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

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.

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