I’ve been lucky during 2015 to have read several books which will go into my list of favourites of all time, not just this year.
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro may be my favourite book of the decade. The words are beautiful, the story is nostalgic and the main character’s tragedies are understated, but none the less heart-wrenching.
Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons made me laugh out loud over and over. I’m still wondering what the nasty thing was that Aunt Ada saw in the woodshed. This is an ideal book to read if you are worried your family are dysfunctional, because the occupants of Cold Comfort Farm make other families look like The Waltons.
Mrs Ali’s Road to Happiness by Farahad Zama is delightful. Mrs Ali is one of my favourite characters of the year and is the best husband-manager of all time.
I re-read A Tangled Web by LM Montgomery this year, which has been a favourite of mine since childhood. The mystery of who in the family inherits Aunt Becky’s heirloom jug drives me crazy after nearly forty years.
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce made me want to walk places. Across England. Along the Amalfi Coast. The Great Ocean Road. To the shops. (Realistically, just to the fridge).
The Messenger by Markus Zusak, and Laurinda by Alice Pung, have been my favourite Young Adult books this year, and both are by Australian authors. Both have great messages, are inspiring and have that familiar Australian setting that I love.
Barracuda by Chris Tsiolkas was my favourite Australian novel this year. The novel is door-stop size, and so is the story. Australians make heroes of their swimming stars, but it seems that athletes expect even more of themselves.
A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson re-introduced me to the characters from Life After Life by the same author, in a whole new dimension. Both are great books. The idea of alternate realities is a lovely escape from real life.
Cop Town by Karin Slaughter was my favourite crime novel of 2015. This was set during a time when women had it a lot harder than they do now, and I came away from this book with a greater respect for the women who paved the way for me to have a career, a generation later.
The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet by Reif Larsen is hardest to categorise. This book has a delightful child as the main character, although he lives in an adult world. The beauty of the story, the illustrations and the characters make this a book I would like to own.
Happy reading to everyone in 2016.