I have just fallen in love! The man I’m in love with is called Daniel Gray and I have never met him, but I have read his book, Scribbles in the Margin: 50 Eternal Delights of Books and I know he is absolutely a man after my own heart. I have only two complaints about his book – it is not long enough, and it comes to an end. I just wanted to keep reading, saying YES, YES, that’s just how I feel, I totally agree, as I did so.
He has chapters on giving books as presents, on being in libraries, on books for holidays, on hurting with laughter as you read, on re-reading, on arranging your bookshelves, on writing in books, reading to a child, and even one on the smells of books. This is a book that instantly got a place on my Top Five books of 2017.
So … in alphabetical order (from author’s surname) these are the five books I most enjoyed last year:
- Jane Austen: The Banker’s Sister by E.J. Clery. I didn’t think I would pick up a book about Jane Austen and have so much to learn. An eye-opener, a fascinating biography, a book about money and its impact, and an excellent read. And please just take it totally for granted that the very best books I read every year are the six novels of Jane Austen.
- All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. It took me some time to get around to this book which so many friends had been raving about. I loved it and having been to St Malo a few times, I could vividly picture the streets and buildings. A moving novel.
- Scribbles in the Margin: 50 Eternal Delights of Books by Daniel Gray. A joy from first page to last, a book you want to keep and dip into often to remind yourself that your own book addiction is actually very normal.
- A House Full of Daughters by Juliet Nicolson. I have been to Sissinghurst many times and once met Nigel Nicolson, and I found this book a sad and moving picture of several generations of women, from Pepita the Spanish dancer, to Vita Sackville-West to Juliet Nicolson, whose book The Last Season I just loved. The Nicolsons are an amazing writing family (I think Adam Nicolson’s book The Power and the Glory about the creation of the King James Bible is just stunning – he is Juliet’s brother).
- Queen of Fashion: What Marie Antoinette Wore to the Revolution by Caroline Weber. This was the most absorbing history book, describing the lead up to the French Revolution and ending with the death of Marie Antoinette, but all depicted through the lens of fashion. Clothes played an important part in the Queen’s downfall, and the book was a truly wonderful read.
I have also had great pleasure throughout the year keeping up with various crime series – Nicola Upson’s Josephine Tey books, Nicci French’s Monday to Sunday series, Cora Harrison’s medieval Irish mysteries, Susan Elia MacNeal’s Maggie Hope novels set in WWII London, C.S. Harris’s gorgeous Regency mysteries, Charlie Lovett’s fabulous literary mysteries, Deborah Crombie’s contemporary London series, and Catherine Lloyd’s Regency country village novels. And of course Donna Leon, Tess Gerritsen, Peter Robinson and M.C. Beaton’s Agatha Raisin continue to give fun and entertainment.
I’d love to hear from you in the comments.
Jane Austen: The Banker’s Sister by E.J. Clery
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Scribbles in the Margin: 50 Eternal Delights of Books by Daniel Gray
A House Full of Daughters by Juliet Nicolson
The Power and the Glory by Adam Nicolson
Queen of Fashion: What Marie Antoinette Wore to the Revolution by Caroline Weber
I only recommend books I have read and know. Some of these links are my affiliate links. If you buy a book by clicking on one of these links I receive a small commission. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, but does help cover the cost of producing my free newsletter.
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