For the last couple of years, I’ve kept a record of the books I’ve read (I know, I need to get out more!) and 2015’s total was 44. This wasn’t as many as I’d hoped to read but life got in the way. This year, the total is a pathetic 14!
But I have a very good excuse… life didn’t just get in the way, it changed, BIG time. The major change was that along with my business partner, Anne Glennie, we set up Cranachan Publishing and this made a massive impact on my reading habits.
I started the year with a healthy tbr pile courtesy of Santa but sadly some of them remain on my beside table. No sooner had Cranachan opened to submissions our inbox was flooded with sample chapters and there was a steady flow throughout 2016 which equated to hunners of thousands of words being read by us both! From these initial submissions, we requested 12 full manuscripts and from these we signed 7 authors. This makes my lack of ‘pleasure’ reading in 2016 understandable but still disappointing as I’m constantly hearing of books I “must read”.
With limited time for my own choice of reading material, it’s meant that I’ve had to be even more ruthless and I’m far more likely to abandon a book these days after only a few pages (I used to operate a ‘you’ve got 50 pages to hook me’ rule). I also now find it hard to read without my editing ‘hat’ on and with a critical eye, the act of reading isn’t as relaxing.
But the upside is that although I’ve given up on quite a few books, the ones I did finish were all very good apart from two * which disappointed and weren’t worth persevering with to the end. The others on the list were all excellent. Last year, my top pick was by Benjamin Myers and this year I read Beastings by him and it blew me away too. How to be Both by Ali Smith didn’t appeal but it was highly recommended and I’m so glad I listened to the praise as it was such a very clever book.
But hard though it was to choose, I settled on my favourite book of the year as My Name is Leon by Kit de Waal. This short video explains why I picked it and reminded me that I was glad I had an appointment at the hairdresser the next day!
Here’s the full list (in order of reading) which is once again dominated by female writers (10/13 to save you counting!) although the gender bias is always unconscious.
- How to be Both by Ali Smith
- Armadillo by Pauline Lynch
- After You * by JoJo Moyes
- Viral by Helen Fitzgerald
- The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney
- My Name is Leon by Kit de Waal
- The Jump by Doug Johnstone
- Asking for It by Louise O’Neill
- Beastings by Benjamin Myers
- Paulina and Fran * by Rachel B. Glaser
- The Siege by Helen Dunmore
- Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon
- Docherty by William McIIvanney
- The Mountain in my Shoe by Louise Beech
What was your favourite read of 2016? My new year’s resolution is to get my personal reading back on track and tackle my TBR pile that Santa will hopefully add to!