I’m not a great one for New Year’s resolutions, especially when they’re about giving up something.
Giving up anything, especially in the black hole of a pandemic, is never easy. Far better, I think, to take on something instead, as well as appreciating just what we have and making the most of it. If nothing else, the virus has taught us to be thankful for the good things in life, such as nature, family, friendship and dogs.
I’m currently more than halfway through a two-year master’s degree in creative writing with The Open University. I did really well in the first year but there’s no way I can maintain that standard, especially as I have begun to realise that the more I learn, the less I know.
Earlier in the week, I tinkered away in The Shed of Dreams to get my writer’s eyrie all clean and tidy. I hadn’t been able to think for clutter. I’ve moved some of my pretty (but useless) china from the dresser to give the books a chance to say ‘hey, look at me!’ instead.
I was going to list here the top five novels I’ve read in 2020 but, unlike 2019 when Lanny by Max Porter and Once Upon A River by Diane Setterfield raced in as joint winners, both with five of my stars, there wasn’t one book I read that really stood out for me. This is despite (or perhaps because of) reading everything I could get my hands on from the telephone box library in Lush Places and from the three shelves in the post office in France, where I was lucky enough to spend three months last summer.
So instead, I’m listing five of the books on my Goodreads bookshelf to which I’ve given five stars in recent years. It’s a funny old site, Goodreads. I haven’t used it for years but have turned to it again. It’s great when you find ‘friends’ with similar tastes in fiction and you can see what they recommend.
So, in no particular order and excluding what I consider classic authors like Thomas Hardy, F Scott Fitzgerald and Ray Bradbury, here’s my top five:
To Be Sung Underwater by Tom McNeal
Circe by Madeleine Miller
Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry
If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things by Jon McGregor
I’m not reviewing them here but just to say I thoroughly enjoyed all five of these books (seven if you count the wonderful Lanny and Once Upon A River) and if you enjoy good writing, then you might too.
But read the Goodreads reviews in the linked text rather than take my word for it.
That’s about it.
Love, Maddie x