I don’t know if I’ve ever actually mentioned it on this blog, but I’m a massive reader and if you know me you’ll know I own almost 200 books. I like to set myself a target each year of how many books I want to read and I’m on 51 this year (not as good as last year which was 62). A lot of people ask me for recommendations so I thought I’d make this post listing the top 5 I’ve read this year just in case anyone is looking for inspiration! So in no particular order, here are my favourites this year:
1. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
I usually take other peoples’ reviews with a pinch of salt because everyone has completely different taste in books. But the ratings for this one on Goodreads were pretty high so I was persuaded to give it a go. I wasn’t disappointed – set in 1960s America, the story of an unlikely friendship between Aibileen and Minny, two black maids and the rich white Miss Skeeter is both sad and heartwarming at the same time. I wish it had a happier ending but I still came away feeling positive – one of the standout books I’ve read this year.
2. A Clash of Kings by George R R Martin
OK this is a bit of a cheat because with this one I’m talking about the whole Game of Thrones series. I’ve never seen the TV show and I thought I would HATE these books, one) because fantasy is my least favourite genre in books and two) because the books are so damn long and long books really just put me off reading them. But I was so, so surprised. GoT is one of my favourite book series. OK, sometimes they are a little hard to follow (being told from about 20 different character viewpoints) but despite being long, they’re not long winded (unlike the Lord of the Rings books, but that’s another story). Brilliantly plotted with characters you either love or hate (and who doesn’t love Tyrion Lannister 😉) not to mention they’re actually really funny, something I did not expect. If you’ve seen the show but haven’t read the books, DO IT NOW. You won’t regret it.
3. Breadline Britain by Stewart Lansley and Joanna Mack
OK. Occasionally I can come across as a little bit preachy (when your political views are far left you often get accused of being a “tree hugger” and other stuff) but I really would encourage people to read this book. I work with homeless people and our organization provides food parcels to those in need. I see people living in poverty and a lot of people like to ignore it, pretend it doesn’t exist or accuse people of “bringing it on themselves”. I stress again, THIS COULD HAPPEN TO ANYONE. This book highlights facts and figures, provides real accounts of people living in desperate situations and challenges the government’s attempts to “tackle” poverty the Tory way (i.e. the useless way 😂). If you believe that being poor is a choice then honestly, this book will change your views.
4. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Yeah, I’m cheating again and putting a trilogy on here. Apparently these books are aimed at teenagers. I don’t care. I love them. Although I’m not going to lie – I’m not that keen on the character of Katniss – I love the concept of these books. They’re exciting, they’re well paced and original without being too heavy. Again, I haven’t seen the films so I can’t comment on that side but if you have seen them, then read the books. Honestly.
5. The Jump by Martina Cole
Until this year, I was a Martina Cole virgin. I’d seen her books in bookshops but never actually picked one up, but I was on holiday and I’d read the book I brought with me so I needed something new (I read every day. I have to or I don’t feel right. 😂) I chose The Jump because it was the longest one on offer and I was hooked straight away. I love anything to do with London and Essex and it felt like I was reading an episode of EastEnders (only way more hardcore!) OK, it was a bit dated – I think it was written in the early 90s but I’ll forgive that. Easily one of my new favourite crime authors!