Books of the year

Poetry

I loved Sophie Hannah’s Selected Poems, (which was funny and wise) and RS Thomas’s Poems to Elsi – which collects the poems Thomas wrote to and for his wife (before and after her death).

Novels

I have long admired the novels of David Peace. His latest Red or Dead is something of an acquired taste it seems – polarising views. The review I felt best got the book is by Stuart Evers. It is incantatory, hypnotic, compelling. The style mirroring the attitude to his work of Bill Shankly. That the style continues into his retirement becomes incredibly moving. I think this is his best yet.

A new Andrew Crumey is always a pleasure. The Secret Knowledge is no exception.  There is a lovely piece by John Self on it. It is best not to say too much about it before reading, but if you haven’t read Crumey before there is a wonderful back catalogue.  His wonderful Pfitz has been reprinted this year. I remember the year I bought eight or nine copies of it to force on people as Christmas presents.

Short stories

Years ago I read Dan Rhodes’s Anthropology, 101 short stories of 101 words.  I have enjoyed the books that have followed, but have been waiting for him to return to the funny, caustic, short short form. Marry me was published at the start of the year – heralded by stand up comics and others. It was very enjoyable.

Non-fiction

I’m a Doctor Who obsessive. This may be apparent from a brief look at old posts. The 50th anniversary prompted much new stuff the best of which was Neil Perryman’s Adventures with the wife in space. This followed up the wonderful blog Neil and his wife Sue had during which they watched the whole of Doctor Who from the beginning. The book doesn’t cash in by rehashing the blog but is a lovely book about love, childhood, and growing up (in lots of senses).

E-books

Two stand outs for me: Malorie Blackman’s Doctor Who story for kids The Ripple Effect is a proper Malorie Blackman story, engaging with prejudice, but about Daleks and the Doctor’s prejudices.

The other is Andrew Drummond’s A Little Read Book a very funny collection of tales of the turkey revolution, narrated by Bruthur Nubbly – one of the revolutionaries.

PS Law

I wouldn’t normally recommend law books to a general readership. The subject matter has become increasingly specialised over the years, and technical material may enthuse someone working in the area, but remain impenetrable to those outside. However, I unhesitatingly recommend Final judgment: the last law Lords and the Supreme Court by professor Alan Paterson. It is an important, (and very readable) look at how the judges in the highest court in the UK reach their decisions. It looks at the dynamics of group decision making, and the impact of personalities – in the presentation of arguments before the court and in the process of decision making itself. It is an enlightening book, much the most enjoyable law book I have read for  years. If you are interested in law or in politics and our constitution it’s well worth a purchase.

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About loveandgarbage

I watch the telly and read when not doing law stuff and plugging my decade and a half old unwatched Edinburgh fringe show.
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