As usual I have read quite a few books this year.

Here are some highlights of books I read this year:

The Chrysalids by John Wyndham – love this author (The Day of the Triffids and The Midwich Cuckoos are two of my all time favourite sci fi books) and this book, while taking a while to get going, ended up un-put down able. A great exploration of unfounded intolerance, and relevant today as when it was written.

13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher – which I wrote about before, is a tour de force in modern teen fiction. Better than SE Hinton – and my teenage self is properly upset I have written that statement. Highly recommended.

Archangel by Robert Harris – any novel which can make me interested in post WW2 Russian history must be doing something right. This is a real page turner from the opening right up to its fabulous, if ambiguous, conclusion. Some of Harris other works I have found slow, or the world building more attention grabbing than the plot (Fatherland), but this has it all going on.

House of Suns by Alastair Reynolds – in a future where faster than light travel is impossible a house of long living clones travel the galaxy in cycles, spending vast aeons of time in suspended animation, holding reunions every few millennia. The scope of this novel is breathtaking and while it feels like it wanders off from the plot towards the end, maybe the real point of the novel is how even hideous events lose their horror after 17,000 years or so. Up for debate, which only adds to the positive feelings I have towards the book – still deciphering meaning long after reading is always a good sign about a book.

Please feel free to share your views on these books in the comments and also any novels you read this year, either ones published this year or otherwise.

Happy reading in 2018.

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Of all the teen read I read when i was an actual teenager, Rumblefish by S E Hinton stood head and shoulders above the rest.

The Motorcycle Boy was the coolest character in literature as far as I was concerned.

The film version only helped the reputation of the book.

And there was a deeper meaning around the Rumblefish of the title, a metaphor for people.

But browsing in a book shop looking for Christmas presents I found 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher.

The back page blurb drew my interest. A dead girl, Hannah Baker, explains from beyond the grave why she was driven to take her own life.

I read the whole novel in a couple of days. The pace of a thriller, the structure of the 13 stories which contribute to her decision.

I loved the book from start to finish. Asher’s prose is tight, just enough description to set the scene and excellent characterisation throughout, Clay who listens to Hannah’s tapes is totally believable.

Asher’s premise was genius and like when I read the brilliant One Day by David Nicholls, I wished I had thought of the concept .

I was sorry to reach the end of the book, felt bitter sweet about the whole novel, especially the way Asher ended the novel (no spoilers, but I think understand why he concluded in the way he did).

After reading 13 Reasons Why I reread Rumblefish, to get some perspective, comparing this new novel to my old favourite.

I still love Rumblefish, the Motorcyle Boy remains an important character in American literature (a sort of junior Dean Moriarty, in my mind) but 13 Reasons Why is a more complete novel. Highly recommended.

I need to watch the tv series based on the book. Hoping it is in the same league as the film adaptation of Rumblefish.

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