I can’t believe it’s almost July – how did that happen? (Yes, I realise that it has a lot to do with time passing, so no pendantry please!) I’ve picked some of my favourite books of the year so far – 6 were published in 2012 (well, 5 really, but the paperback of Drowning Rose was in 2012 so I’m counting it) and 2 are rather older, but it was high time I discovered them. As always, I’ve been far better at reading than I have at writing, so only 4 of them currently have reviews, but the others will be coming soon.
Tell The Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
I finished this during the week and I don’t think I’ve recovered yet. Set in mid-1980s America, when people with AIDS were vilified and feared, it’s the story of June and her friendship with her late uncle’s partner, Toby. Many novels are described as ‘beautifully written’, but this one really does have moments where the writing stops you in your tracks because it’s so gorgeous and heart-breaking. I’ll be writing a full review of this soon, but it had to have pride of place in my ‘novels of the year so far’ list.
The White Lie by Andrea Gillies
This was the first book that I reviewed for For Books’ Sake and I was so lucky to get it. An elegant and fascinating tale of family secrets set in the Highlands of Scotland, you can find my full review here.
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
There isn’t much I can say about Wolf Hall that hasn’t already been said, but I’m so annoyed with myself that I took so long to get around to reading it! I can’t wait for the library to have Bring Up The Bodies in stock.
Drowning Rose by Marika Cobbold
Another of my reviews for For Books’ Sake and another fabulous book. Cobbold has a real skill for characterisation and I loved the grown-up Eliza. See my full review here.
Tideline by Penny Hancock
A review copy sent to me Simon and Schuster, I had no idea what to expect from Tideline, but I was really pleasantly surprised when I couldn’t put it down. The proper review’s here.
The Various Haunts of Men by Susan Hill
I’ve been struggling with the review of this one for weeks now. I thought that it would be a well-written crime novel and wasn’t, in any way, prepared for the emotional impact that it would have. The first in the series of novels featuring Simon Serrailler, I would strongly recommend reading this before any of the others. I’ve told myself that I’m not allowed to read the third in the third in the series until I finish the review of this one, so it should get written very soon! (EDIT: the review’s here now)
Heart-Shaped Bruise by Tanya Byrne
This is a fabulous Y.A./crossover novel, both gritty and emotional. Told through diary entries, it is the story of Emily Koll, an inmate awaiting trial at the Archway Young Offenders’ Institute. Emily is mouthy, cynical and troubled but ultimately sympathetic. Read the full review here.
The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
I can’t believe that I haven’t reviewed this yet, I really thought I had. This will be remedied soon, as it’s a lovely book which is soon to be out in paperback. Reminiscent of icy fairy-tales, it’s the tale of a middle-aged couple who have moved to Alaska to find peace and the mysterious girl from the woods who befriends them. It is lyrical, sparse and as icy as the landscape. (EDIT: the review’s now here).
So there we go, my favourite books of the year so far. I know it’s cheating to include two books that weren’t published this year, but I just loved Wolf Hall and The Various Haunts of Men too much to leave them out. I hope that the rest of the year is as enjoyable as the first half has been!