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Amaryllis Assesses

Happy New Year!
I have to say I was pretty exhausted when the door finally closed on Christmas Eve, but invigorated by fresh sea air and the Christmas miracle of kittens, I was soon sparkling like a shooting star across the festive galaxy… New Year saw me in a midnight blue strapless gown and all agreed the shoulders were very Grace Kelly right out of To Catch a Thief.
2016 wasn’t a great year by any means – too many losses, too many of the wrong gains – but I have been going back over my reading history of the year and have to say it was quite a good one. So, before we more forward, forget all the prizes and newspaper round-ups: these are the best reads of 2016.
(As I read a lot of older books, I like to make 2 lists: one of books published before 2016 but which I have read that year for the first time; one comprised of books published that year; then I combine the two and come up with the ultimate top ten). It will make sense when you see it!
Top Ten books published before 2016 (no particular order)
Bastard out of Carolina – Dorothy Allison
Seize the Day – Saul Bellow
Paradise Postponed – John Mortimer
The Case of Mr Crump – Ludwig Lewisohn
Beside the Fireplace – Alice Thomas Ellis
Delta Wedding – Eudora Welty
Bond Street – Norman Collins
Judgement in Stone – Ruth Rendell
Bad Behaviour – Mary Gaitiss
The Golden Age – Joan London
Top Ten published 2016
Human Acts – Han Kang
Thus Bad Begins – Javier Marias
The Abundance – annie Dillard
Do Not Say We Have Nothing – Madeleine Thien
Lockwood and the Creeping Shadow – Jonathan Stroud
A Gentleman in Moscow – Amor Towles (not strictly speaking published until 2017 but…)
Golden Hill – Francis Spufford
The Evenings – Gerard Reve
Some Rain Must Fall – Karl Ove Knausgaard
Autumn – Ali Smith
Overall Top Ten – if I was unsure, I went for the books that I would happily read again
Delta Wedding
Thus Bad Begins
A Gentleman in Moscow
Beside the Fireplace
The Case of Mr Crump
The Abundance
Seize the Day
Human Acts
The Evenings
Lockwood and the Creeping Shadow

But already moving on and looking forward to delectable reads in 2017…

About Amaryllis


Amaryllis is our bookshop blogger.


Her pen name is taken from Alice Thomas Ellis’ Other Side of the Fire, which is unfortunately and scandalously out of print. One of the funniest bits in the book is the bodice-ripper that one of the characters is writing and the female - who slays the men with one toss of her raven locks and one glance from her fiery green eyes as she strides among the glens, faithful wolfhound by her side - is Amaryllis! And the name just seemed to suit so here we are.

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