Books I’ve read in 2016…

I’m a very slow reader of fiction.

Partly because I spend a great deal of time reading non-fiction for research. For time off, I either embroider or tumble into bed exhausted at night and manage just 3-4 pages of the fiction novel I might be reading.


 I haven’t counted the books I’ve read this year and will just list those in my library which appealed the most to me as a reader and writer. I’m not a believer in listing books which have not been what I had hoped or which I was unable to finish. I think it’s unfair to the author who may well by liked by many other readers and who has a brand and who has worked hard to pull off a good novel. Reading ‘likes’ are completely subjective and so below is my very subjective list…

 Robert Macfarlane Landmarks – a collection of colloquial terms for geography around the British Isles. Superb source of stunning and unique language.


Joellen Bogart and Sydney Smith The White Cat and the Monk – an illustrated childrens’ book about the poem, Pangur Ban, by a nine century Irish monk. One of my books of the year.

Melissa Mohr Holy Shit – a delightful history of swearing from the Middle Ages. A keeper.

Nicholas Perkins and Alison Wiggins The Romance of the Middle Ages – the influences of the medieval romance-style on 20th Century writers. Esoteric and fascinating.

David Abulafia The Great Sea – one of my definitive texts for research for The Triptych Chronicles.

Mandel and Rosenberg Medieval Literature and Folklore Studies – a solid reference text.

Martha Carlin and David Crouch Lost Letters of Medieval Life – a wonderful fly-on-the-wall look at private life in the Middle Ages.

Peter Spufford Power and Profit The Merchant in Medieval Europe – another set text for The Triptych Chronicles.

There are many other research texts but these are standouts on my shelves from this year.


Then we come to my fave fictions for the year…


 The Wind in the Willows Short Stories Kenneth Grahame Society – a brilliant little anthology that is as close to Kenneth Grahame’s voice as one might get.

Return to the Hundred Acre Wood David Benedictus – an official sequel to Winnie the Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner. In much the same vein as the above.


Following Atticus Tom Ryan – my book of the year! Please google and buy if you are a lover of dogs.

The Bookseller’s Tale Ann Swinfen – when is Swinfen not a good read? Literary writing par excellence.

Praetorian 1 and 2 by SJA Turney – my favourites of Turney’s many novels – which is hard because I have enjoyed every word he’s ever put to paper!

The Cross and the Curse and Blood and Blade Matthew Harffy. Stunning writing that not only takes the reader into the violence of the Dark Ages but dares to give a deep emotional dimension to his male protagonist. I am a committed fan of The Bernicia Chronicles.

Tales of a Chinese Grandmother by Frances Carpenter began as a research text for the new fantasy, The Cabinet of Curiosities, but quickly became an enjoyable journey through Chinese legends.

Mount by Jilly Cooper – where do I begin? I’m a Cooper devotee.


Inspirations: A Passion for Needlework – I’m a stitcher and this is like chocolate to the chocoholic.


Counting One’s Blessings. Essentially this was last year’s book of the year for me, although I finished the last letters early this year. It showed the Queen Mother’s private life through her letters.


For our summer and the beginning of 2017, I have a couple of titles I am really looking forward to:


The Penguin Lessons Tom Michell – strangely about a pet penguin who teaches life’s lessons to Tom. A sweet, and true, story.


The Rose Trail Alex Martin – I have enjoyed Martin’s work from when I first discovered Book One of her Katherine Wheel series set around WWI. This is a departure – a time slip back to The Restoration. I’m looking forward to it. Martin writes so that one can see the story unfold like a TV series. A great author…


The Woman Who Breathed Two Worlds by Selina Siak Chin Yoke. A journey through the later days of Malaya to the 21st century. I have an interest in Asian history and in Asian-based fiction. This will be a good summer read.

And that’s it for the year so far.

 I hope you’ve enjoyed my list and been inspired to have a look at a few of the titles I’ve mentioned for yourselves. I look forward to seeing what others have read and will read over the Christmas break, so that I can augment my own TBR list!


Cheers to All!