Five star book report

I’ve managed to read quite a few books this year, dipping in and out whenever I get a spare five minutes. I post my reviews over on Goodreads, but thought I would share those books I’ve enjoyed in 2016 for which I’ve given five out of five stars.

Lucky Man by Michael J Fox

I was hooked from the beginning, revelling in this calm and rational way of looking at and dealing with the world. It can be a difficult place, but Fox has such a humour and humility about it all, that it was inspiring to read. I liked how it dipped back and forth a bit, but was generally chronological, from his childhood through to his recent advocacy work with his Parkinson’s Disease foundation. Inspiring and insightful, I highly recommend this whether you’re a fan or not.

The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain

Even though it’s only short, there’s plenty of time to get to know the characters. I particularly enjoyed Chloe, the demanding daughter who gets her own way far too often but is the reason everything all works out okay in the end. You get a sense of these two people and their entire lives without having to read endless streams of detail. It’s wonderful.

Fall of Giants by Ken Follett

The research that must have gone into this is huge, and it was fun to have real historical characters making an appearance here and there. Ultimately, really enjoyed it and can’t wait to read the second book of the trilogy.

The Killing of Polly Carter by Robert Thorogood

I did think, quite smugly, that I had guessed who the murderer was, but of course I was wrong. It always feels a little silly, the way the suspects are gathered together at the end of the book/episode, but equally, it’s a wonder to watch brilliant detectives at work, whether it’s on the page or on screen.

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

The way it’s written, in stark and brutal fashion makes this feel like a true story rather than a work of fiction, and the characters are so believable, flawed and real that it’s impossible not to empathise with the tragic situation.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

What’s great about the book is that it’s dealing with such horrible subjects, such traumatic events, but with the subtlety and humour of a child being brought up in a really good household. You can’t control the era that you are brought up in, but you can control how you react to the prejudices of the time, and it’s fascinating to read this from a nine year old’s point of view.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling

I’m wary of writing spoilers, but think it’s fair to admit that adding more emphasis on the time and place of events made it a hugely interesting story to me. That old characters pop up, even when it seems unlikely they should, is wonderful, and revisiting what happened at past events to make sense of the situation now is what makes a rich world like Potter’s even more wonderful.

Until It’s Over by Nicci French

A proper page turner, you spend much of the first half wondering what on earth is going to happen, and then the second half wondering why on earth it all happened how it did. And it’s great to read about someone that isn’t a master serial killer but instead of a series of events that just got out of control.

Whiteout by Ken Follett

I really enjoyed it just as much second time round as I did the first, following the story of an attempted robbery at a high tech bio-facility, where deadly viruses are stored. It’s also the story of how a family can fall apart but also pull together in the most dire of circumstance.

Spectacles by Sue Perkins

The best part, though, is the heart of the book, Sue’s family. Her mother always on the outlook for a disaster, and her father counting the data along the way. I particularly enjoyed the trip to Wales, and the story about the travelling cheeses. Really, top notch stuff, heartily recommended.