Your favourite books of 2012?

2012 was the year that I took the plunge and self-published by own debut novel Housewife with a Half-Life as A.B. Wells as well as some small short collections as Alison Wells. I’m looking forward to submitting my literary books as Alison Wells to agents in 2013.

But as well as writing I’ve enjoyed making more time to read this year. I’m in a book club and I’ve followed up many recommendations from others on the books they have enjoyed throughout the year including great finds from lesser known authors too.

Among my very favourite books this year have been:

  • the fabulous City of Bohane by Kevin Barry. Amazing language, every line a joy.
  • the China Factory – a short story collection by Mary Costello. Mary writes like the greats like William Trevor and John Banville, small touches of cleverness, instinct and sharp observation.
  • Middlesex by Jeffrey Euginedes (a recommendation I’m happy to have followed up. This was a big, accomplished, endlessly interesting and well written novel.
  • The Cowards Tale by Vanessa Gebbie. I loved this beautifully written book that was part fascinating vignettes on the story of individual townspeople affected by an old tragedy but also gave a broad sweep over the whole town and the power of storytelling and the storyteller.

In non-fiction I’m reading the excellent The Story of Modern Art by Norbert Lynton.

I’ve also really enjoyed The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell, Hawthorn and Child by Keith Ridgway, Painting by Numbers by Tom Gillespie and Red Ribbons by Louise Phillips.

I’ve just started The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey, it’s poetic and enchanting and I’m already in love with it.

I’m really excited in particular about the prospect of reading these books currently tottering on my bedside locker

  • Bloodmining by Laura Wilkinson
  • I capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
  • The Whirlpool by Jane Urquart (one of my absolutely favourite authors)
  • The Ilustrated Man by Ray Bradbury (another of my absolutely favourite authors)
  • The Big Music by Kirsty Gunn (an intriguing novel of music, something like we’ve never read before. (I saw an interview about this on the Culture Show).

Others still on the way due to a book voucher or on Kindle are Marc Nash’s Time after Time, Tania Hershman’s My Mother was an Upright Piano (flash fiction), Carys Bray’s Sweet Home (short stories), The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce (heard so many recommendations about this!), From this moment on by Colette Caddle, Florence and Giles by John Harding (a girl speaks in her own made up language).

What are the books that have moved and thrilled you this year? What can you recommend, what did not live up to expectations? Have you discovered someone from below the hype radar whose books changed your life or fascinated you for several well spent hours?