As a book lover, some questions are harder to answer than others. What book do I read next? Do I continue reading that book I’m not really enjoying, just because I’ve started it? Is it okay that I cried more about the death of a fictional character than I’ve ever cried in real life?
I haven’t read much YA fiction in my life. I’ve seen The Hunger Games films, and I’ve read Harry Potter, but that’s about it. So I was wary when my friend recommended Red Rising, assuming it wouldn’t be something I was interested in. But, I have to admit, I was pleasantly surprised.
Red Rising follows Darrow, a Red, the lowest caste in his society on Mars. He mines underground for helium-3, getting the planet ready to be inhabited by future generations. He is happy enough in his life as a Helldiver, surrounded by family.
Translated from it’s original Portuguese by Margaret Jull Costa, Michel Laub’s Diary of the Fall follows an unnamed narrator as he recalls the events of his young life.
He reminisces about his grandfather and father, who both kept diaries in later years of their lives. The former, a Holocaust survivor, writes about his false and idealistic way of seeing the world, while the latter, after finding out that he has Alzheimer’s, writes so as not to forget
Liz Nugent is a master of opening lines, and Unravelling Oliver doesn’t disappoint.
I expected more of a reaction the first time I hit her.
And so we meet Oliver Ryan, a successful children’s writer and charismatic charmer, and his wife, Alice, who illustrates his books. We start the story in the aftermath of Oliver attacking Alice and leaving her in a coma in hospital. Oliver begins to tell his story. Interspersed with the stories of people Oliver knew throughout his life, we discover his tale of abandonment, guilt and entitlement, and learn what drove him to attack his wife.
So 2016 is nearly over (finally) and it’s time to look back on the book-year that’s been. And a great year it has been, especially for Irish fiction (which most of the books on this list are, I will admit).
According to Goodreads I’ve read 33 books this year, and I’ve enjoyed most of them. So it was tough to come up with the best ones for this list, but not impossible. There were definitely a few that stood out more than others, that have stayed with me for the whole year, that I’ve passed on to others and made sure that they’ve been enjoyed by as many people as possible.
So here’s the list of my favourite books from 2016
Graham Norton’s debut novel, Holding, is an emotional and funny look at the inner workings of a small town and the secrets it can keep over the years.
Sergeant PJ Collins is an overweight Garda in the small town of Duneen, Co. Cork. He’s self-conscious and feels like he’s missed out on a lot in life. He’s never been in a relationship, lives alone in the Garda barracks and feels even his job can’t give him any satisfaction.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year…or so they say. I’m going to have to admit that I’m not really a big Christmas-lover. Don’t get me wrong, I like the day itself: spending time with the family, eating all the Roses I can possibly fit in my stomach, you know, Christmas stuff.
But the build up annoys me. The fact that Halloween is barely over before people start celebrating Christmas and you just get sick of it all by the time the 25th December comes around.
So it takes a bit to get me into a good Christmas spirit. And that bit is books. So here’s my recommendations for the best Christmassy books to read before it’s all over again for another year.