I first saw this year’s Reading Bingo on Cleo’s blog, then Marina posted hers – she was the one who put me on to it a few years back. Next, Janet posted one and it seemed rude not to join in, even if mine is a little tardy. It’s one of those posts which is great fun to put together, a lovely distraction for those needing – and able – to grab a little time to themselves over the festive season. Two years ago I roamed around all over my reading history but this time I’ve stuck to the rules and confined myself to the last twelve months. So, after a great deal of head scratching, here’s my 2016 reading bingo card with links to the books I’ve reviewed.
More than 500 pages – Philip Hensher’s The Emperor Waltz weighs in at 615 pages. I usually avoid books of this length like the plague and I wasn’t at all sure about this one at first but once started I couldn’t seem to stop
A forgotten classic – Thomas Savage’s The Power of the Dog was daringly compared to Stoner by its publishers which set my sceptical antennae twitching but it actually delivers the goods.
A book that became a movie – HBO announced a miniseries in the works for Karen Joy Fowler’s We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves. Does that count?
A book published this year – Most of them given that I’m still a slave to novelty but I’ll plump for Sara Taylor’s The Lauras because I was looking forward to it so much.
A book with a number in the title – Do dates count? If so Molly Prentiss’ Tuesday Nights in 1980 which is set in New York and very entertaining.
A book written by someone under 30 – Five Rivers Met on a Wooded Plain by the youthful Barney Norris is set not a million miles from where I live. It could also sit happily in the bestseller square.
A book with non-human characters – Rowan Hisayo Buchanan’s hairless therapy cat wearing its ‘festive sweater’ in Harmless Like You will stay with me for some time.
A funny book – The Cauliflower by Nicola Barker covers both the funny haha and the funny peculiar. Far and away the most outlandish book I’ve read for some time.
A book by a female author – Hard to know where to start with this, there are so many, but I’m going to choose Commonwealth by Ann Patchett because it’s so damn good
A book with a mystery – The Boy by Wytske Versteeg which is both gripping and deeply unsettling
A book with a one-word title – Jonathan Galassi’s Muse, perfect for those who fancy a good old nosey around the publishing world. Funny, smart, stylish – and indiscreet – it’s written by an insider.
A book of short stories – The fact that I have several to choose from this year makes me feel quite pleased with myself but top of the list has to be Anna Noyes’ Goodnight, Beautiful Women for its gorgeous writing.
Free square – I’m reserving this one for fan fiction, not a genre regular readers of this blog might associate with it, I suspect. Jill Dawson’s The Crime Writer is the work of a self-confessed Patricia Highsmith addict, never mind fan, and it’s very good indeed.
A book set on a different continent – Quite a few of these but I think it’s going to be Midge Raymond’s lovely, poignant My Last Continent which took me to Antarctica.
A book of non-fiction – I don’t read nearly enough non-fiction. This year’s favourite has to be Diana Athill’s Alive, Alive Oh! for its style and sheer joy in celebrating a long life well lived.
The first book by a favourite author – The harrowing, utterly convincing The Trick is to Keep Breathing by Janice Galloway whose memoirs I’ve greatly enjoyed.
A book you heard about online – Testing the Current by William MacPherson. I’m not entirely sure where I heard about this but it might have been Jacqui Wine’s Journal. I enjoyed it very much so thanks, Jacqui, if it was you.
A bestselling book – Sarah Perry’s The Essex Serpent, much talked about on publication, then proclaimed Waterstones Book of the Year and reissued in a particularly spiffy gift edition.
A book based on a true story – Emma Cline’s The Girls which was very loosely based on the Charles Manson murders.
A book at the bottom of your TBR pile – Natasha Solomons’ The Gallery of Lost Husbands had been kicking around my shelves unread for some time. It turned out to be very good indeed.
A book your friend loves – The Garden of Evening Mists was given to me by a friend which is always a mixed blessing but, much to my relief, I enjoyed it very much. Thanks, R.
A book that scares you – I’m not a fan of being scared witless in my reading. There’s enough of that in the news and on that basis this square belongs to Annie Holmes and Olumide Popoola’s breach, a set of short stories based on interviews with people living in the now demolished Jungle outside Calais, which more saddened than scared me.
A book that is more than ten years old – Eric Ambler’s The Mask of Dimitrios, set in 1938, depicts a Europe uncannily similar to the one we inhabit today.
The second book in a series – this one will have to remain empty.
A book with a blue cover – Brad Watson’s Miss Jane whose lovely jacket depicts one of the many peacocks that roam one of its character’s Mississippi woodland garden.
Just one blank square – phew! And thanks to Cleo, Marina and Janet for reminding me just how much fun these posts are to write. Let me know if you’ve spotted any other bloggers’ bingo posts that have taken your fancy.
This is my last post for 2016. A very happy New Year to you! Perhaps 2017 will be kinder to us all…