My Photo













Cornflower book group

« A few things | Main | Winter warmers »


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Simon (Savidge Reads)

Its that time of year, yet like you I am pondering what books I can fit in during the final few weeks of the year. Tricky.

Is it me or has this year been a stunning year for fiction in terms of books new out this year?


I think I sort of fell in love with Historical Fiction in 2011. A few favorites were Affinity by Sarah Waters, Slammerkin by Emma Donoghue, Wolf Hall by Hillary Mantel, and The Observations by Jane Harris


Jeanette Winterson's "Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?" It's fantastic.


I have read some fantastic books this year but the first one that comes to mind is Ann Patchett's State of Wonder which I found utterly compelling.
I also really loved Night Waking by Sarah Moss, Imogen Robertson's trio of historical thrillers starting with Instruments of Darkness and The Summer of the Bear by Bella Pollen which I thought was a really lovely, emotional read to curl up with (although some people were very disparaging about it!)
I do have two current reads that will make the list though - Sebastian Barry's On Canaan's Shore which I am reading slowly to appreciate his wonderful language and Marina Fiorato's Daughter of Siena - I am used to reading about my favourite city in Renaissance times, and modern come to think of it, but this is set in the late 18th century and is utterly fascinating.


Whoops, got the title of the Sebastian Barry wrong! It should be On Canaan's Side not Shore!

Dark Puss

Rendezvous in Venice by Philippe Beaussant. My brief "review" (I flatter myself) may be found here.


My year started modern with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Help, which latter I loved so much I almost forced my Australian granddaughter to read it too and luckily she devoured it in a day and half a night.
Then I reverted to type (Historical Fiction) and read Umberto Ecco's The Name of the Rose for the first time. I've no idea how I've avoided it for so-o-o long but I loved and admired it - a whodunnit with scholarship and attitude! Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel ran it a close second and later in the year Maeve Haran's The Lady and the Poet had me revisiting John Donne's poetry with a new perspective.

Julie Fredericksen

Here's my top 10, in no particular order:

"A Red Herring Without Mustard" and "I Am Half Sick of Shadows", Flavia de Luce mysteries by Alan Bradley

"The Poison Tree" by Erin Kelly

"A Discovery of Witches" by Deborah Harkness

"State of Wonder" by Ann Patchett

"The Winter Sea" by Susanna Kearsley

"The Language of Flowers" by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

"Doc" by Maria Doria Russell

"The Weird Sisters" by Eleanor Brown

"The Paris Wife" by Paula McLain

On my wish list: "Corrag", to be available in January in America under the title "Highland Witch"

B R Wombat

Simply this - Gillespie and I by Jane Harris.

Julie Fredericksen

Slammerkin was great, and I absolutely loved The Observations! My book club read it too, and felt the same.

Julie Fredericksen

Also on my wish list, and still not available here.


I, too, would recommend Gillespie and I. I am reading Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal by Jeanette Winterson at the moment. That will certainly be on my list as well. Oh and Virginia by Alexandra Harris. All very different, all very excellent.

Linda Gillard

My discovery this year wasn't new, but a very happy find: Lorna Fergusson's THE CHASE, originally published by Bloomsbury in 1999. A superbly written page-turner in which the veneer of ex-pat middle-class gentility is stripped away in the wild, unforgiving landscape of the Dordogne. (Note to TV companies: this would make a terrific mini-series.)

My other discovery is Avril Joy's THE ORCHID HOUSE, at present only available on Kindle (but cheap enough.)

B R Wombat

I'm sure you'll enjoy it once you can get your hands on it. It was definitely the most gripping read of the year as far as I was concerned.


State of Wonder by Ann Patchett. Loved it!


Books I have not forgotten (in a good way!)

Ursula Le Guin – The Earthsea Series
Madeline Miller – The Song of Achilles
Donna Tartt - Secret History
Peter May – The Blackhouse
Jane Harris - Gillespie & I
Delphine de Vigan – No & Me
Peter V Brett – The Demon Trilogy

Carol Roberts

The best book I've read this year is State of Wonder by Ann Patchett.


Corrag: wonderful!


I'm glad to see we share so many favourites, especially State of Wonder and Gillespie and I.

Barbara MacLeod


Dark Puss

Barbara thank you! Your brief comment is much appreciated.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)


Please note

  • Sidebar book cover thumbnail pictures are affiliate links to Amazon, and the storefront links to Blackwell's and The Book Depository are also affiliated; should you purchase a book directly through those links, I will receive a small commission. Older posts may also contain affiliate links to one of those bookshops. I am not paid to produce content and all opinions are my own.

A request

  • If you wish to use any original images or content from this site, please contact me.

The Book Depository

  • Free Delivery on all Books at the Book Depository

Cornflower Book Group: read



Statcounter 2

  • Statcounter 2