December has arrived far too quickly. How is it this time already? It's been a pretty bad year, in more ways than one, and I seem to have been in a year-long reading slump. Luckily, out of the few books I have read, I've found some real gems.
AutumnI talked about this book here.
Basically, the epitome of all the books I've read this year. I've said that all of this in my review, of course - but the feeling hasn't faded. It's a beautiful read - touching, lyrical and political. It goes much deeper than perhaps first appears, and discusses much more than the blurb suggests. Divided Britain. Racist undertones in society. Brexit.
It's not just my favourite book of 2016 because it's so well written. It really sums up 2016, and my feelings about the major political shifts we've seen. Sometimes you love a book so much you can't explain it in writing - this is one of them.
1Q84This is the first book of Murakami's that I read - it introduced me to an author that I knew very little about. Now I understand the hype: Murakami's books are completely unique - unlike any other author I know. Actually, I think I started with his best book. I'm not saying I haven't enjoyed any of his other books - just none of them live up to this. So far I've read The Wind Up Bird Chronicle and Norwegian Wood - enjoyable, but not as riveting.
Based on Orwell's 1984, it's about.... everything. Parallel universes. Books. Writing. The joys of literature. Love. So much more. You can see the connections between Orwell's novel and Murakami's. Some are obvious. Some are a little more subtle. Overall, it's a bizarre, poetic read but really rewarding read.
The EveningsGerard Reve has been described as the Dutch Albert Camus. I'm normally quite wary of books (and authors) described liked this - they normally raise my expectations and then fail to meet them. This was an exception.
Twenty-three-year-old Frits - office worker, daydreamer, teller of inappropriate jokes - find life absurd and inexplicable. He lives with his parents, who drive him mad. He has terrible, disturbing dreams of death and destruction. Sometimes he talks to a toy rabbit.
This is the story of ten evenings in Frtis's life at the end of December, as he drinks, smokes, sees friends, aimlessly wanders the gloomy city street and tries to make sense of the minutes, hours and days that stretch before him.
At first, I wasn't sure about The Evenings. It felt like the whole thing was building up to a climax that never arrived. As it continued, however, I began to get drawn into the dark, perhaps slightly sarcastic, tone that lies beneath. (Maybe sarcastic is the wrong word.) By the time I finished, I was mesmerised. It reminded me a lot of Camus, also appearing slightly Kafka-like at times, and despite a slightly dodgy start, really surprised me. Profound and beautifully written - I don't think this is getting the attention it deserves.
What are your favourite books of the year?