A group of published UK-based authors and illustrators of picture books, children's and YA.
TOP 3 BOOKS READ IN 2017
Why do I do this to myself? Why do I sign up to do a Top 3 anything? It is TOO HARD! I was once on a radio programme where I had to nominate my Top 3 songs, and that was impossible. I remember the three I chose, but on a different day I would have chosen three others. Top 30 would be easier. No, Top 300…
It’s the same with books. Only worse.
I don’t know how many books I read in 2017, and I’m going to admit right now that I can’t pick a Top 3. The effort of trying to do has given me too many grey hairs. So if you want to stop reading or complain under the Trades Descriptions Act, then go ahead…
I never don’t have a book on the go. In fact, at any one time I’ll have several – I only ever read one novel at a time, just as I only write one novel at a time, but it’s likely I’ll also be reading a non-fiction book, especially historical research, or something I’m reviewing. Then there are the books-in-the-loo, a motley crew of Archers fun facts, old etiquette books, literary quiz books…
When aspiring writers tell me they don’t read much, I can never hide my shock. Or when people say they don’t have time to read. Because I am one of those people who reaches under her pillow for her book the moment she’s silenced the alarm, so that I can read while I stir the porridge, and who can’t get to sleep without at least half an hour of reading. And yes, most of the hours in between if I’m not actively doing something else. (I can read while hoovering and listen to audiobooks while driving, and radio drama while walking. Maybe it’s an addiction, but it’s like being addicted to air.)
This week I am mostly reading The Facts of Life, a novel by Patrick Gale, which is purely for enjoyment. I love how he makes you really care about his characters and keep turning the pages – basically this is what I strive for in everything I write. But I’m also dipping into Ulster Surnames (my loo book) because I am fascinated by names, and I’m having fun choosing names for the characters in my new novel.
A quick read, residing on the kitchen table for my mealtime companion, is the reissue of the late, lovely Jonny Zucker’s enjoyable Striker Boy, which I’m reading to give a quote for.
Oh yes, and I’m reviewing a weighty but wonderful tome called Hanna Sheehy Skeffington: Suffragette and Sinn Féiner: her political writings for the Dublin Review of Books, and though I have finished it and drafted my review, I am keeping it handy to check last-minute details.
And that’s a pretty average reading week. So you see the problem of choosing three? Add to that the problem of having read lots of books by friends (more than three very good ones, two of which aren’t yet published so I don’t know if I should mention them…) and the feeling that I need to get a male/female balance… oh, it’s almost as anxiety-inducing as that feeling of being stranded somewhere without a book (which once happened to me in Romania of all places.) and is the single greatest reason why I now travel with a kindle.
So no, I’m not picking my top 3 of 2017 or any other year. And I’ve made a note to self – never sign up for a Top 3 post again!