With just two days left of 2019 I’m taking a look back on my reading year.
I had a great start to the year, a fantastic March – with a really successful Reading Ireland Month – and an even better summer, where I completed my 20 Books of Summer challenge and loads of you joined in! It all went a bit downhill from there and some health issues meant that I really didn’t blog much in the last few months.
Thankfully though, my reading was pretty consistent all year. I had set a target of 100 books on Goodreads and have, up to today, read 104, which I am really pleased with.
I didn’t have too much trouble reading 100 books (I thought I might) so I’ll set that as my target again for the coming year.
As I don’t read just newly published books, I’ve broken my end of year list down into three sections: best newly published books, best from the 746 and best books by Irish authors.
Which is just a cheeky way of having a Top 15 Books of the Year, rather than a Top 10, but that’s my plan and I’m sticking to it!
So, here are the books I’ve enjoyed most this year, with links in the titles to either my reviews or their Goodreads descriptions.
Top Five Books published in 2019
This Young Monster by Charlie Fox
Flames by Robbie Arnott
Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
The Dutch House by Ann Patchett
The Red Word by Sarah Henstra
Top Five Books from the 746
Visitation by Jenny Erpenbeck, translated by Susan Bernofsky
Night Waking by Sarah Moss
Are You Somebody? by Nuala O’Faolain
Hangover Square by Patrick Hamilton
Amongst Women by John McGahern
Top Six Irish Books (cheating slightly!)
Night Boat to Tangier by Kevin Barry
Shadowplay by Joseph O’Connor
Constellations by Sinead Gleeson
The Fire Starters by Jan Carson
The Narrow Land by Christine Dwyer Hickey
The Jewel by Neil Hegarty
Special mention must also go to All the Devils are Here by David Seabrook, which I just finished yesterday and which doesn’t fit into any of these categories, but which was one of the books I was most intrigued by this year. Part memoir, part literary history of Kent, this was a book that defied categorisation and was completely unlike anything I’ve ever read. It also has, hands down, the best cover art of the year!
Looking forward to 2020, I feel like I need to reset and keep my plans relatively straightforward. I feel like I have found a good balance in the first half of this 2019 and really enjoyed the structure of new features such as Northern Exposure, focusing on literature from Northern Ireland and my Monthly Miscellany round ups. Both of these will continue into 2020.
I plan to take part in The 1920 Club in April, organised by Simon of Stuck in a Book and Karen of Kaggsy’s Bookish Ramblings, the Japanese Literature Challenge hosted by Dolce Belleza and the RIP Challenge & Non-Fiction November later in the year.
Last year I set myself a challenge to get the 746 down into the 400s. I didn’t quite make it, but I was close, so I hope to focus more on reading from my TBR again in 2020.
As I enter my seventh year of blogging (7 years!) I am looking forward to seeing what 2020 brings.
Are you taking part in any interesting reading challenges that I haven’t heard about yet? Will anyone be participating in Reading Ireland Month or 20 Books of Summer?
I do look forward to reading along with you all in the coming year.
Happy New Year!
I am a 40 something book buying addict trying to reduce the backlog one book at a time!