It’s really starting to feel like we’re getting to the tail end of the year now. Everywhere is decorated for Christmas, the BBC’s starting to trail their winter programming and Top Ten Tuesdays is focussing more and more on 2015 wrap ups.
Usually I’m uncontainably excited about Christmas by this time, eating nothing that isn’t in some way cinnamon flavoured and decorating everything that’s stationary in baubles and beads. This year however the countdown to Christmas is also the countdown to me being unemployed so it’s soured the excitement somewhat. I’m trying to get enthusiastic about mince pies and candy canes but the whole thing just gives me that little nervous twitch in my stomach. And the next ’18 sleeps ‘til Christmas’ sign I see is going to be at risk of some serious vandalism.
So yes, I’m finally able to empathise with the scrooges of the world. Not a position I ever thought I’d be able to understand.
I do like a good list though. Not even the thought of unemployment could stop me wanting to write a list of my top ten newly discovered authors of 2015. And after discovering last week that The Broke and the Bookish actually releases the themes for the Top Ten Tuesdays in advance, here’s a post I prepared earlier, in true Blue Peter style.
There are some absolutely incredibly authors on this list. I stepped out of my comfort zone much more this year as I really embraced impulse buying in second hand book shops and the results have in general been a great success, introducing me to authors that I’m sure I’ll be on the lookout for for years to come. I also finally got round to reading the books my mums been recommending to me for years and, of course, she was right all along.
- Anne Bronte
Ever since I read The Tenant of Wildfell Hall earlier this year I have been on a mission to get as many people reading Anne Bronte as possible. The way her astute feminism has been overlooked in favour of the mushy unrealistic romances of her sisters is just unforgivable.
- Jeffrey Eugenides
The one person whose recommendations I always adhere to is Rory Gilmore. So when I came across a copy of The Virgin Suicides I had to buy it just on the strength of it being mentioned in passing in an episode of The Gilmore Girls. And wow, it did not disappoint. By far one of the best books I read all year. I’ve seen also read Middlesex and could only marvel at how amazing it was without having even one tiny thing in common with The Virgin Suicides. I cannot wait to find out what The Marriage Pact has in store.
- Tessa Hadley
I bought The London Train by Tessa Hadley on a complete whim, mostly because I’d just finished Girl on the Train so was predisposed to like books with the word train in their title. The similarities between them stopped there as The London Train started to remind me more and more of an Ian McEwan novel, which is about as far from criticism as I can get. I’ve already got Married Love ready and waiting on my shelf.
- Colm Toibin
Not long after I declared Tessa Hadley my new Ian McEwan along came Colm Toibin to threaten her for the crown. Brooklyn is more like Atonement Ian McEwan, atmospheric and maudlin but absolutely brilliant, whereas Tessa Hadley was more Saturday and Amsterdam. I’ve already bought Nora Webster to read next but haven’t found myself in the right mood quite yet.
- Caitlin Moran
I’d read a lot of her non-fiction and columns before 2015 but not her one fiction book, How to Build a Girl, which almost justifies her place on this list. The more time that passes the more fondly I look back on this book, not just because it’s entertaining but it taught me something about growing up. I’m really excited for the next two parts in the story.
- Donna Tartt
The Secret History by Donna Tartt was another slow builder – immediately after finishing it I was verging on disappointed by the more time that passes the more desperate I am to read something else by her.
- Thomas Hardy
This time last year I had been stuck two chapters into Tess of the D’Urbervilles for months, every time I went to carry on with it getting distracted by something else. Well, when I finally did get around to reading it I was kicking myself for what I’d been missing. This is without a doubt one of the greatest books ever written and a shoo-in for my favourite books I’ve read this year. I’ve since read various other things by Thomas Hardy and the love affair shows no signs of dimming.
- John Green
I actually can’t remember when I first read a John Green novel so I’m not sure it was 2015 but I’m going to assume it was so I can write about him. I wish YA fiction had been like this when I was a teenager. Not just girls moping after guys more popular than them but funny and thought provoking and a little bit different.