Storagebod Rotating Header Image

Books of the Year

Sometimes I think I am single-handely sustaining the publishing industry; we've moved house
once because we ran out of space for books and couldn't bare to get rid of any of them. These days, we're a little more disciplined and have actually been known to give books away. I think this year, I averaged a book every two days might even be slightly more than that.
After several years of absence, we made a return to Eastercon and my wife was over the moon to get the chance to have coffee with Neil Gaiman. My daughter was impressed to meet real writers such as Neil Gaiman and also people who make money drawing pictures.
Anyway, top books of the year are:
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman: Neil Gaiman re-imagines Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book and sets it in a disused graveyard full of ghosts who look him after the rest of his family are slaughtered by a
mysterious assassin. The hero is called Bod but that's not the reason I rate this so highly; Gaiman finally finds his feet as a children's author in this book but it's eminently readable as a 'adult'; he paints his hero so well and manages to make you believe that this is a boy growing up in a Graveyard.

His hero makes mistakes as we all do as we are growing up but his mistakes lead him through each stage of his development and you get the genuine sense of someone growing.

Neil's ability to write with clarity and craft letting the reader to do the heavy lifting of the imagining probably comes from his background in graphic novels where he lets his collaborators fill the white-space of the frame. If Harry Potter had been written by Neil Gaiman, the whole series would have been condensed into a single volume.
Anathem by Neal Stephenson: Neil Stephenson is not an easy writer; he used to be, novels like Snow Crash are a blast but he seems to delight in challenging the reader with every new set of books. The Baroque Cycle was dense and you needed to trust the author that there was a story worth telling and ultimately you were rewards. Anathem is even more challenging, a new language, a new world, full of complex ideas about maths, philosophy and although the ending is little bit of a let down I feel, it's a book well worth investing your time in.

And if you don't like it, it'll make a pretty good door stop!
The Coroner's Lunch by Colin Cotterill: A book about a 72 year-old coroner based in the communist Laos a year after the 1975 revolution probably doesn't sound too promising but this is a rattling good read if you like murder-mystery novels with a touch of the supernatural. Cotterill's witty and humourous writing style with an engaging and likable protagonist is marvellously refreshing, the story rattles along and the pages keep turning. 

Honourable mentions go to:
Blown to Bits: Your Life, Libery and Happiness After the Digital Explosion by Hal Abelson,
Ken Ledeen and Harry Lewis:
Everybody knows everything about you! A book about the sheer amount of information which has been gathered on all aspects of our lives. 
Lonely Werewolf Girl by Martin Millar: it's fantastic to have Martin Millar back writing again; he's a writer who deserves to be as well-known as Neil Gaiman and this book set deserves to be made into a film or a TV series. He takes the exploding werewolf genre, sets it in Britain, Camden and the Scottish Highlands; stirs in some subculture referencing much of his influences and his cultural loves, the result
is an exciting and different take on the werewolf story. Looking forward to the sequel.


  1. Dave says:

    Having a baby plays havoc with your reading schedule; I’d love to post my own list of fiction books this year but I’m afraid I’d be able to just post all my reads and have the list be as short as your tops.
    Maybe next year! Thanks for sharing yours; I’ll be looking back at this later for suggestions (Graveyard Book was already on my list…).

  2. Martin G says:

    It gets better and you find time for reading again and of course; as the kids get older, you have an excuse to re-read all your childhood favourites. We’re currently on Roald Dahl, great to revisit after all these years.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *