The following are my top ten novels of 2014, in no particular order:
1. Vernon God Little by DBC Pierre. F**ken brilliant. Vernon was probably my favourite character of the decade, let alone the year.
2. The Wind Through the Keyhole by Stephen King. This story of a story within a story filled in a part of The Dark Tower series which no one even knew was missing. I’ve said this before, but no one tells stories as well as Stephen King.
3. Dreamboat Dad by Alan Duff. The story of a boy who was born following a war time liaison between his Maori mother and American soldier father.
4. Room by Emma Donohue. This story has haunted me all year. There are some crazy people out there in our world.
5. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton. When I finished this book, I immediately turned back to the front page and re-read it. I haven’t done this since I was a teenager.
6. Notes on a Scandal by Zoe Heller. The biting voice of the narrator, Barbara Covett, telling the story of a fellow teacher’s liaison with a student, was wonderful.
7. Life After Life by Kate Atkinson. How do people think up these fantastic ideas for books? Then, how do they tell the story so well? Life After Life has a very clever plot. I did not want this book to end.
8. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. Cassandra Mortmain was my favourite heroine for the year. I wish I’d read this book years ago, as it is the kind of book which could be read again and again. I feel as if I’ve been missing out on re-reads.
9. Captain Wentworth’s Diary by Amanda Grange. This was my favourite Jane Austen tribute novel of the year, and believe me, I’ve read quite a few. Persuasion is my favourite Jane Austen novel, so this was preaching to the converted.
10. And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini. This was a big, sad story with a great many characters, all of whom take their turn to tell their own story, which makes a whole story.
In case anyone is wondering, I do read some non fiction also. Favourites this year included:
1. Everything I Need To Know I Learned From a Little Golden Book, edited by Diane Muldrow. Life lessons with cute pictures.
2. Marian Keyes Saved by Cake. Gorgeous recipes for pretty cakes.
3. The Letters of Rachel Henning, edited by David Adams. This book was compiled from the real letters of an English woman who came to live in Australia in the 1800’s.
4. Letters From Our Heart, edited by Jennifer Campbell. This was my favourite Australian book of the year. The book is made up of the most beautiful love letters, farewells, letters of condolence, letters from mothers to their children, fathers to their sons who are off to war, Aboriginal mother’s pleas to the authorities to return their children and more. I howled all the way through this book.
Happy New Year to my fellow readers.