End of the year review 2017

Like many of you, I have been browsing the best of the year lists. (If you missed them, Large-Hearted Boy has a huge list.) As regards best novels, I have been very disappointed. I did not come across a single novel I had not heard of. There were also relatively few books originally written in … Read more

Latitude Festival’s Top 20 Books by Women

The Women’s Prize for Fiction has just posted Latitude Festival’s Top 20 Books by Women. What a disappointing selection! Only one originally written in a language other than English (Allende), only three others by non-UK, non-US writers (Roy, Atwood and Ngozi Adichie) and, FFS, Girl on a Train. May I politely remind them of María … Read more

America Reads

The Library of Congress currently has an exhibition of books people in the USA like reading. It is not an impressive list but then it is not meant to be a best-of list, only a popular list. I have to admit that I have read only thirteen of the books on the first list and … Read more

100 best English-language novels

I am a glutton for a good list but I like my lists complete. In The Observer, Robert McCrum has been giving us one a week, which is a really unsatisfactory way of doing it. When you limit yourself to 100 (or any other arbitrary figure) you have to play juggling games, putting this one … Read more

End of the year review

I have been following the various best of the year lists, as I enjoy a list as much as the next person. Inevitably, I have learned about some interesting books that I was not aware of. I have not learned about Lena Dunham, whoever she may be, but she does appear on a lot of … Read more

20 best British and Irish novels of all time

The Daily Telegraph has published what it laughingly calls the 20 best British and Irish novels of all time. Three are ludicrous choices – Jilly Cooper, The Sea, The Sea and The Sea. One is a US writer. Henry James took British citizenship just a few months before he died, well after he had written … Read more

Which Books Should We Stop Calling Classics?

Flavorwire has a post on Which Books Should We Stop Calling Classics?, asking a handful of critics, writers, and publishing industry people for their views. Interestingly, only three authors made the list more than once – James Joyce for both Ulysses and Finnegans Wake, Ayn Rand, who is not even vaguely a classic and never … Read more

Amazon’s 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime

The Amazon editors have produced a list of 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime, with an associated Goodreads’ 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime: Readers’ Picks (Amazon, of course, own Goodreads). (Note that this list is on US Amazon; it does not appear to be on the other Amazons.) I enjoy a good … Read more

Best of 2013

I have been watching the best of 2013 lists with interest not least because, pedant as I am, 2013 only finished a few hours ago so it did not seem to comment till today. While it was unlikely a brilliant new book would be published in the last couple of weeks of the year, it … Read more