I’m doing something a little different for the end-of-year round-up this year. Instead of the best books of 2008, here are some of the titles that I’m sure would have been good… if only I’d got around to reading them.
Blackstrap Hawco by Kenneth J. Harvey.
This one’s been sitting on my shelf for a while now. I really enjoyed The Town that Forgot How to Breathe by the same author a few years back, and I’m sure there are pleasures to be had in this one, but I just haven’t yet found the time to get started on this 829-page trunk of a book. Perhaps I might have, if I hadn’t realised that the author calls it not a novel but a “transcomposite narrative“. That may have been just enough to keep it from ever reaching the top of the pile. Inside by the same author is also on the shelf.
Dreams of Rivers and Seas by Tim Parks.
This is an author I’ve been meaning to check out for a while, and John Self’s Asylum review just reinforced this. Everything about this book draws me in, but the length stops me just short. All I need is a few days’ holiday, and I’m all over this one.
The Paper Moon by Andrea Camilleri.
I’ve got about three of Camilleri’s Montalbano novels lined up to read. They’re short, and presented in the very attractive Picador editions. So why haven’t I?
Will by Christopher Rush.
This novel about the writing of Shakespeare’s will looked intriguing, and came from the new publisher Beautiful Books. With a paperback edition now out and a film apparently on the way, maybe I’ll find time to finally visit it in the new year.
The Suspicions of Mr Whicher by Kate Summerscale.
This book about a real murder case from 1860 looked like an interesting read, but I never quite managed to lay my hands on a copy.
The entire Booker Prize longlist.
I managed to avoid reading a single one of these, including the winner, White Tiger by Avidne Avigna. Others made a better job of it. This could become something of a tradition, if I don’t accidentally read any of next year’s titles before the longlist comes out…
Edit: And not forgetting (again)…
Barnacle Love by Anthony de Sa, and Pilcrow by Adam Mars-Jones.