It was close, but I managed to complete my reading challenge for the year on New Year’s Eve, finishing my 70th book of 2015.
For most of the year I didn’t think I would complete the challenge, but over the last couple of months I really dug in and spent a lot of time reading. I chose a few short books, some YA and crime novels that I knew I could get through quickly to make it happen.
One of the best books I read in December, if not the whole year, was The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld. It’s a beautifully written story following the inmates of an American prison, the guards and a woman whose job is to investigate the cases of Death Row inmates in the hope of reducing their sentences to life imprisonment.
The Enchanted isn’t an easy read; at times it’s like a punch to the gut. Denfeld writes about some awful things, but in lyrical, spare prose. She never describes her nightmarish situations in too much detail, she doesn’t need to. Instead a couple of sentences are enough to conjure up a powerful image.
I also enjoyed The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness, an inventive YA novel that turns the supernatural genre on its head, following the regular kids at the periphery of the apocalypse, rather than the chosen one who has to prevent it.
The rest of the month was made up of a lot of crime novels, including two set in the North East of England. LJ Ross’ first novel takes place on Lindisfarne, which I’ve written about on the blog. A unique historic island off the coast of Northumberland, each day it is cut off from the mainland by the tide. So when a body is discovered, murdered in ritualistic style, the community fall under suspicion.
I followed it up with the sequel, Sycamore Gap, which continues the story with another case for the lead, Detective Ryan.
I also read a number of Penguin classics, including short story collections by HG Wells, Rudyard Kipling and Edgar Allan Poe.
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- The Enchanted, by Rene Denfeld
- The Silkworm, by Robert Galbraith
- The Preacher, by Camilla Lackberg
- Eeny Meeny, by M.J. Arlidge
- The Tell-Tale Heart, by Edgar Allan Poe
- Exposed, by Liza Marklund
- The Rest of Us Just Live Here, by Patrick Ness
- Holy Island, by LJ Ross
- The Gate of the Hundred Sorrows, by Rudyard Kipling
- Sycamore Gap, by LJ Ross
- A Slip Under the Microscope, by HG Wells