January 3, 2024

I was tidying-up my list of books I read this year and thought it worth summarising my five favourites.

There are **no spoilers below. In reverse order…

Middlemarch by George Elliot

This book took me the best part of three months to read because it is a Folio edition and far too big to carry to work with me. I really enjoyed getting to know all the little stories in Middlemarch, the writing is beautiful and the book is surprisingly funny.

Killing Thatcher: The IRA, the Manhunt and the Long War on the Crown by Rory Carroll

This really is a fantastic documentary book, one that reads like a thriller. I was struck by the fact that Thatcher could have given her conference speech after the bombing with an autocue but the organisers decided against it as they wanted the speech to appear raw. Even in moments of crisis the politicians choose to spin!

The Snow Was Dirty by George Simenon

This is a really engrossing little noir thriller centred around the protagonist Frank, a young man who has few redeeming characteristics. There’s something about Frank that reminds me of Pinky from Graham Greene’s Brighton Rock. Brighton rock was the earlier book, written ten years before.

Unlawful Killings by Wendy Joseph KC [Audio]

One would not have high hopes for great writing in a book about trials for killings written by a lawyer however Wendy Joseph KC has a very good, engaging and humane, writing style.

She has a gift for language:

This is the blade that travelled into the dark, warm, heart of a boy and slit the thin spun life. He is gone and here it is, in their hands.”

I would recommend the audio book here.

Translation State by Ann Leckie

I loved Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice’ trilogy and this standalone takes place in the same universe and could be read on its own. This is a book full of edge-of-the-seat drama where most of the action takes place in meeting rooms (albeit occasionally trans-dimensional rooms) centred on discussions of gender and identity.


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