Tuesday 30 June 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Best books of 2015 so far

Ahhhh, how can it possibly be the last day of June already? Just the other day, at work, I was standing in the store room planning where I was going to put the Christmas stock when it starts to arrive, with exactly half a year to go. Madness! But the calendar tells me we're halfway through the year, so in no particular order, here are my favourite books of the year so far. (Note: these are books read in 2015, not necessarily published this year.)

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted at The Broke and the Bookish

  1. Elizabeth is Missing - Emma Healey An excellent book to start 2015 with, a compassionate psychological study, and a compelling and satisfying mystery. A remarkable, perfectly-crafted debut. 
  2. The Thirteenth Tale - Diane SetterfieldThe Thirteenth Tale is a rich, atmospheric novel that calls to mind the smell of old books, the cosy feeling of being wrapped up in a blanket with a hot chocolate while a storm rages outside. It is a self-aware entry into the canon of classic gothic fiction, settling among the classics as though it has always been there.
  3. Trigger Warning - Neil Gaiman Such is the power of his short stories that I found myself unable to go straight from one tale to the next without taking some time to digest what I had just read. If I tried, I found I would take one story with me into the next. Gaiman's writing lingers, whether it be a letter from a human statue, a Doctor Who adventure, or a reinvented fairy tale or three. 
  4. The Elements of Eloquence - Mark Forsyth. What makes Shakespeare a genius? In this entertaining and enlightening volume, Mark Forsyth analyses the tricks of the English language that make up good and memorable writing. I possibly learned more about good writing, especially poetry, than I did in the three years of my degree course.
  5. Arsenic for Tea - Robin Stevens. An instant classic of children's literature... Agatha Christie for children: a well-plotted, twisty mystery with plFenty of red herrings, a limited cast of suspects, but everyone keeping secrets, even if none of them are the secrets they are suspected of hiding. But Stevens plays fair, and hides the clues within the text, if you only know what you're looking for.
  6. Geek Girl - Holly Smale. The first in a series of books about hapless schoolgirl model Harriet Manners. For anyone who has felt like the odd one out among cool people, this is both hilarious and relatable, easy to read and impossible to put down.
  7. White is for Witching - Helen Oyeyemi - An extraordinary gothic masterpiece, centred, as so many novels in the genre are, around a big old house with a secret and a personality of its own. Unlike most gothic novels, however, the house itself is one of the narrators - or is it a ghost, a combination of all the women who have lived before? Miri, the daughter of the family, has battled mental illness and eating disorder, gone to Cambridge and started a life and love affairs away from the house, but always the house calls to her.
  8. Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage - Haruki Murakami. Not one of Murakami's weirdy fantastical stories, Tsukuru Tazaki is a subdued, pensive tale of the lingering hurt caused by four friends' sudden abandonment of the titular Tsukuru. Years later, Tsukuru goes about finding out what happened that fateful summer, in a search for self-worth and his place in the world. This book quietly spoke to me on a personal level.
  9. The Year I Met You - Cecelia AhernAlong with Jasmine, we come to recognise that even unpleasant people are human too, and they'll never change if you write them off as irredeemable. Both Matt and Jasmine learn from the enmity that turns to friendship over the course of a year. 
  10. The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend - Katarina BivaldThe Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend is like settling down in a personalised, cosy bookshop with a comfy chair, all the time you need, and good friends to rave to about your latest read. It is... full of references to familiar stories and authors, and not just the classics to make you feel smart for recognising the reference... just as much a love letter to Sophie Kinsella, Terry Pratchett and Bridget Jones's Diary as it is to Jane Eyre or Pride and Prejudice.
Honourable Mentions:
  • Cross Stitch - Diana Gabaldon
  • Vintage Girl - Hester Browne
  • Resistance is Futile - Jenny Colgan
  • Love Alters - ed. Emma Donoghue
  • Saplings - Noel Streatfeild
  • Reaper Man - Terry Pratchett


  1. Oh nice! I have to say that those are all entirely new to me! Hope you have many more favorite/top reads for the last half of the year!

    Here's my Tuesday Post

    Have a GREAT day!

    Old Follower :)

  2. I'm just about to read the second Geek Girl book now. I didn't get to it on holiday and with the weather being so tropical (and thus my brain being all mushy) I figured it'd be the perfect time to go back to some hilarity with Harriet. :)

  3. I keep toying with the idea of getting The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend but then something always puts me off and I decide not to. I can't quite remember what it is though...

    I do want to read The Thirteenth Tale though - I don't think I've EVER seen a bad review of it.


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