With the end of the year looming, I thought it time to start a little review of my 16 for 2016. I thought I would start with number 15 which was to read fifteen books in the year. I have been an avid reader since childhood, so in truth there is always a book by my bedside. I enjoy fiction, autobiographies and fact especially when based around natural history.
One of the best, if somewhat depressing nature books I read this year was The Moth Snowstorm by Michael McCarthy. A British environmental journalist of note, McCarthy writes about many of the losses mother nature has suffered at the hands of the human race. However, he also asks us to remember the joy nature brings us and reflects on how in many ways nature has been his own “guardian angel”.
Corvus A Life With Birds by Esther Woolfson is the very engaging tale of how Esther and her family have raised various orphaned crovids (e.g. rooks and magpies) over the years. She writes eloquently of how these bright, intelligent birds changed her own life. I have previously blogged about Dave Goulson’s A Buzz about the Meadow which was another firm favourite.
Novels I have read include The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey, a sort of realistic fairy-tale set in Alaska in the 1920’s and Irish author Anne Enright’s The Green Road. Castle Book Shop in our local town Castlebar often has some great bargains and this is how I came across Sue Monk Kidd’s The Invention of Wings. I had loved her other book “The Secret Life of Bees” and this second book did not disappoint. The book gives a fictionalised account of the lives of the Grimké sisters in America and one of their “fictional” slaves. The sisters were among the first female abolition agents in America and were also two of the earliest feminist thinkers.
It is some years since I read Harper Lee’s “To Kill A Mocking Bird” and I was looking forward to reading her second book. While I did enjoyed Go Set a Watchman, it did not stay with me as much as her first book.
The Book Seller of Kabul by jounalist Åsne Seierstad had been on my list to read for some time, so when I saw it on sale in the local book shop I snapped it up. The book tells about the life of a book seller and his family in Kabul in 2002 after the fall of the Taliban. Besiege: Life Under Fire on a Sarajevo Street, written by Barbara Demick was an eye opening account of the affects of the war on the people of the besieged city. It was a real tribute to the people of the city and their determination to survive.
Other books have included:
- The Quality of Silence by Rosamund Lupton
- The Love Song of Ms Queenie Hennessey by Rachel Joyce
- Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
- A Book of Bees by Sue Hubbell recommended to me by Melissa from https://melissashawsmith.com/
- 438 Days by Jonathan Franklin
I am currently reading Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
I also read to the children most nights and our range is pretty diverse. The local library is an excellent resource and we use it as much as we can. This year we’ve made our way pretty much through their Dirty Bertie collection. Bertie is always getting into trouble even when he doesn’t mean too! We are steadily making our way through Holly Webbs books too. Many of them are stories about cats and dogs and they always have a happy ending. Mr Stink by David Walliams is a book that particularly sticks in my head. It’s about a homeless tramp and his friendship with a lonely young girl. We’re currently all enjoying Roald Dahl’s George’s Marvellous Medicine.