Well this year has been a trip, between the coronavirus, lockdown, the continuing horror of Black people being murdered by law enforcement, Brexit, the worst politicians ever. I keep waiting for the Four Horsemen to rock up and signal it really is the End Times.
However some of the books I’ve read this year have been immense. There are some terrific writers out there and we have been blessed with so many amazing stories. I don’t do star ratings or rankings but I wanted to share some of the books that have just blown me away in this year of existential dread gone wild.
Anyone who knows me knows I love me some Shakespeare (I even married one!). Hamlet, named for his son, is my favourite play and I will quote chunks of it at random. But Ol’ Willie S barely features in this incredible moving work.
Instead it centres on his wife Anne or Agnes Hathaway and the aftermath of their son Hamnet’s death from the plague aged 11.It is incredibly, beautifully written and constructed, so you feel the grief and anguish of the family, the agony of losing a child and suffering in isolation because you’re having to quarantine yourselves.
This book invaded my brain, I sometimes find myself thinking of its incredible imagery and shivering slightly, it’s that good. Haunting, powerful and just, incredible. I cannot believe that this a debut, it’s so accomplished.
This is one creepy, weird book that made me feel a bit sick tbh, but I also thought it was amazing and loved it. And keep telling people to read it. So seriously, read it.
This was one of the funniest books I’ve read in a long time – genuinely made me laugh like a loon, and got me some strange looks from my husband who was trying to “work”. Clever writing, brilliantly drawn characters and a smart plot.
There was going to be a fifth book but I couldn’t decide which one (I have read a lot this year) – so have a picture of my cat chum Ellie yelling at me while standing on a bin instead.
Here’s hoping that 2021 is a better year for everyone and brings lots more exciting reading.