I usually keep track of the books I finish* by pinning them on Pinterest, but this year my reading was so haphazard that I didn’t do it until I scrolled through my kindle today! There were huge swathes of time this year when I didn’t read a word – unusual, for someone who has always been a massive reader – the kind of kid who had to get special permission to take out double the number of allowed books from the library because I flew through them so quickly! Anyway, despite the upset to my reading habits caused by day job, writing, general life and pandemic-madness, I got through more than I realised… I’d actually forgotten about a few of them, which is further evidence of this year’s state-of-mind. What will 2021 bring? Who knows. I’m hibernating until spring.
*sometimes I go back to books later, if they aren’t grabbing me at the time – usually more about me than the book. I suspect a lot of the unfinished will appear in next year’s post.
So, let’s analyse… I see:
- 22 books by women / 17 by men (and 1 mix of both as it’s an anthology)
- 22 books set in the UK / 10 books set in the USA / 7 books set elsewhere/mixed locations
- 19 books where this was the first time I’d read that author / 20 repeat offenders
- 3 books by the same author (a Peter Swanson binge)
- 2 books that I’d say were ‘nice’ rather than dark / 37 books I’d describe as crime/psychological/horror
- 3 books that have either hints or actual supernatural things in them
- 4 books that were really dark and disturbing in a real-life kind of horror way
- 4 books that made me laugh-out-loud (2 of these were very dark!)
- 8 books that are not out until next year
And which ones were my favourites? Well, I think the five below stood out for me this year:
- Dead Head by CJ Skuze
- Third instalment of the hilariously dark serial killer series. The main character, Rhiannon, is an absolutely genius creation and I’m so excited for the TV series.
- Goodnight Beautiful by Aimee Malloy
- One of those books that you can’t say much about without spoilers, but it’s a psych thriller with heavy nods to Stephen King’s ‘Misery’, and I loved it.
- The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward
- Another one that I can’t say much about other than it is like nothing I have read before. Dark, unusual and ultimately heartbreaking. I think this one is going to be huge next year.
- The Apparition Phase by Will Maclean
- A very cleverly executed ghost story, this genuinely scared the pants off me.
- Call Me Mummy by Tina Baker
- Another in the very dark but very funny camp, this is all about the characters. I think Tonya might be my favourite character of the year.
There are lots of books on my kindle that I didn’t get around to reading this year. Just a few on my to-be-read list are:
- Recursion by Blake Crouch
- The Quickening by Rhiannon Ward
- The Push by Claire McGowan
- Daughters of The Night by Laura Shepherd-Robinson
- Fragile by Sarah Hillary
- Queen Bee by Jane Fallon
…and now all that’s left for me to say is thank you to all the authors, audiobook narrators, readers, bloggers, reviewers, agents, editors, copyeditors, proofreaders, booksellers, events coordinators, marketers, publicists, sales teams, librarians and anyone else who loves books and promotes reading.
Books will save us… Read a book!
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and here’s to 2021 being memorable in better ways than 2020!
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My brand-new horror novella, Mr Sandman, is available as a limited edition hardback HERE.