I was reminded of the annual paean of praise to be found in newspapers for significant books of the year by Bill Boyd. I decided to take a note of books that I have enjoyed this year.  Often my mind goes blank when people ask me if I’ve read anything good recently. Occasionally I retrieve something I may have read ages ago. So now I shall attempt to keep a record so I don’t feel completely foolish.

Two fiction favourites this year were ‘Gilead’ by Marilynne Robinson and ‘The Testament of the Reverend Gideon Mack’ by James Robertson.  Both narrators are Christian preachers, wrestling with their god and their life choices, and reflecting on relationships between fathers and sons. One is set in Iowa, the other on the east coast of Scotland. Both deserve a look.

My non-fiction choices might be ‘
Proust and the Squid’ by Maryanne Wolf and ‘The Baby in the Mirror’ by Charles Fernyhough. Wolf’s book is subtitled The Story and Science of the Reading Brain and is a fascinating discussion of how we learn – or fail to learn – to read. The latter is a painstakingly observed, exquisitely written voyage of discovery into the first three years of life as experienced by a child, written by her child pyschologist father.

I loved ‘Everything is Miscellaneous‘ in which David Weinberger discusses how the Web destroys categories, disciplines and hierarchies. I enjoyed Charles Leadbeater’s ‘We-Think’  about mass innovation not mass production very much too, and am looking forward to reading ‘Here Comes Everybody’ by Clay Shirky. It was the intriguing sub-title Gin, Television and Social Surplus, wot did it.

And I’ll re-read a Jane Austen (Persuasion this time) over the holidays. Roll on Friday!

Oh, there are so many. I’ll probably change my mind as soon as I press Publish!

Actually, truth be told, Noisy Nora by Rosemary Wells was very popular. It hits the spot for a small child I love who was presented with an even smaller sibling this year! Happy reading!