Review of the book year: 2017

I pledged to read 45 books this year, and ended up reading 56 books (although Thomas rules dictate that if it’s got an ISBN number it goes on the list!). I also pledged to finish writing the Mr Tumnal sequel, The Imaginary Wife this year – with 2017 slipping past fast I think I can safely say I have missed this one.

2017 was the year that I read some of John Clare’s poetry, and discovered my new favourite bookshop (and the best bookshop in Oxfordshire by some mile) – Books and Ink in Banbury in case you were wondering. It has also been the year that I reaffirm my love of Edward Ardizzoni’s magical illustrations and decide to seriously start collecting them – well, you know, everyone needs a project! So in strict reading order, this year I have read.

  • Untold Stories by Alan Bennett
  • Winter Magic by Abi Elphinstone
  • White Mountain by Sophe E. Tallis
  • Winter by Melissa Harrison
  • Boom! by Mark Haddon
  • Chilled to the Bone by Quentin Bates
  • Dear Reflection by Jessica Bell
  • Strange Star by Emma Carroll
  • Selected Poetry of John Clare by John Clare
  • The Book by Jessica Bell
  • The Old Ways by Robert Macfarlane
  • Grief is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter
  • Climate Change by Tony Juniper
  • Spring by Melissa Harrison
  • Silent Voices by Jo Allmond
  • The Fossil Hunters by Betty Salthouse
  • Bagthorpes Unlimited by Helen Cresswell
  • Best Murder in Show by Debbie Young
  • Bodleian Library Souvenir Guide by Geoffrey Tyack
  • The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
  • Felbrigg Hall, Gardens and Estate by Oliver Garnett
  • Coot Club by Arthur Ransome
  • The Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
  • Our Tragic Universe by Scarlett Thomas
  • Keeping On Keeping On by Alan Bennett
  • Cogheart by Peter Bunzl
  • The Gifts of Reading by Robert Macfarlane
  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
  • The Forever Ship by Francesca Haig
  • Imaginary Friends by Philip Pullman
  • Nibble Moves House by Jane Pilgrim
  • Poor Mr. Nibble by Jane Pilgrim
  • Hannibal And The Pet Show by Ladybird Books
  • Northern Lights by Philip Pullman
  • The Explorer by Katherine Rundell
  • The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce
  • The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle by Beatrix Potter
  • The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman
  • Friend Request by Laura Marshall
  • Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
  • The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman
  • Lyra’s Oxford by Philip Pullman
  • War Horse by Michael Morpurgo
  • The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher by Beatrix Potter
  • La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman
  • M. Barrie’s Peter Pan by Eleanor Graham
  • Close Encounters of the Furred Kind by Tom Cox
  • The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore
  • The Church Mice at Christmas by Graham Oakley
  • The Little Train by Graham Greene
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  • The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane
  • One Christmas Wish by Katherine Rundell
  • Santa Claude by Alex T. Smith
  • What To Look For In Autumn by E.L. Grant Watson
  • What To Look For In Summer by E.L. Grant Watson

Stand out books to recommend this year? Most anticipated book goes to La Belle Sauvage (The Book of Dust, Vol. 1). Jessica Bell gets a mention for best autobiography for Dear Reflection (think Maya Angelou with more rock and roll) and best short story for the often overlooked, The Book. Abi Elphinstone’s curated collection of short stories, Winter Magic, was one of the first books I read this year and remains a favourite – with a special nod to Michelle Harrison’s standout short story. From the Indie side of the pool, take a look at Debbie Young’s Best Murder in Show, or Sophie E. Tallis’ White MountainThe Music Shop by Rachel Joyce is a must read of sheer delight, and Laura Marshall’s Friend Request comes with a recommendation of the disturbing nature (but read it anyway).