Totting up the titles in the sidebar, I read 49 books in 2016. Less than one a week but still, not bad going.
Many were crime fiction (it seems I have a taste for murder and all that twisty turny unpicking as the police do their investigative stuff), a couple were re-reads and the rest were whatever I fancied picking off the to-be-read pile.
In Cold Blood, Truman Capote. I'd wanted to read this for quite a while and luckily came across a secondhand copy. It's described by the author as a non-fiction novel which, I think, categorises it rather well. During the early hours of 15th November 1959, four members of a prosperous and highly regarded Kansas farming family, the Clutters, were savagely murdered at their isolated farmhouse. There was no apparent motive for the crime and few clues to the perpetrators. This is an account of an actual crime, its effect on a community, one man's obsession with finding the killers and, right at the centre, the guilty pair themselves. Highly recommended.
Burial Rites, Hannah Kent. Another work of fiction based on historical events, the setting is Iceland in the early 1800s. Agnes Magnusdottir, found guilty of murder, has been sent to a remote farm to live out her final months as she awaits execution. We know the outcome from the outset but the writing gives a wonderful sense of time and place, of lives being lived in the harshest of landscapes, with the Icelandic sagas woven through.
I Capture The Castle, Dodie Smith. I imagine most people know the opening line to this novel ('I write this sitting in the kitchen sink'), even if they haven't read it. Written in the format of 17 year old budding writer Cassandra Mortmain's journal entries, this is the story of a family down on its luck, living in a dilapidated castle. A gentle read, full of description and eccentric characters, I guarantee it will make you smile.
Arthur And George, Julian Barnes. The Arthur in the title is a certain Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; George is one George Edalji, a small claims solicitor. The novel starts with alternating biographies of both men. Then there is a spate of strange crimes in a small village and the lives of the two men cross. The story is based on real life events and it had me gripped from the very beginning. I loved it.
Sharon Bolton's Lacey Flint series was a welcome find. There are currently four titles and I thoroughly enjoyed reading them all (I was given the first on World Book Night), each one featuring Detective Constable Flint with her chequered history, her flaws and her amazing intuition. These are well written crime thrillers which, although standalone stories, I'd probably recommend reading in order.
A very recent read was The Girl In The Ice by Robert Bryndza. Erika Foster is a DCI , recently widowed and transferred from Manchester to London to lead a murder investigation. The story moves at just the right pace, with lots of twists and turns, and I found it hard to put down.
It's true, there really is nothing like a comfy seat, a cup of steaming coffee and a good book.