2016: A Year of Reading

According to my Goodreads stats (and I have no reason to doubt them), I'll have read 60 books this year, for a total of around 16,000 pages. That's a fairly hefty number of words whichever way you look at it, and there have been untold highlights among them. (Incidentally, this doesn't include books that I've read as part of my editing and proofreading workload. Add those and it's closer to 20,000 pages.)

I was tempted to write a 'Best Books of 2016' list, just like everyone else - but it would be a lie. Despite those impressive stats, there's no way I've read enough of this year's output to judge which books deserve to rise to the top of the pile.

So, instead, here's my Top Ten books I've read this year. Some are new, some are old - but all were wonderful. (Note: My reading has taken a rather horrific turn this year. If you're not up for a little horror and weird fiction in the mix, turn away now...)

1. Wyl Menmuir - The Many - One from the Booker longlist that definitely should have made the shortlist. Brief, dark, and strangely haunting.
2. Aliya Whiteley - The Beauty - Should have read this a long time ago, but glad I finally got there. Fungal horror.
3. T. H. White - The Goshawk - A classic tale of one man and his incompetent attempts to tame nature. Still brilliant.

4. Adam Nevill - No One Gets Out Alive - Genuinely creepy amalgam of supernatural horror and serial killer thrills. Deeply unsettling.
5. Alison Moore - Death and the Seaside - Weird, wordy, but fascinating from start to finish. I love Alison Moore's short fiction, and I loved this.
6. Catriona Ward - Rawblood - The newcomer on the horror block, Catriona Ward has created a spellbinding take on classic Gothic horror, with a killer twist.
7. Laurence Scott - The Four-Dimensional Human - One of only two non-fiction books on the list, this is the most clear-sighted account I've read of living in the digital world.
8. Andrew Michael Hurley - The Loney - Yes, yes, I came to this late... but better late than never. A potential game-changer, as horror enters the literary mainstream.
9. Benjamin Myers - Beastings - I was late to this one too, but its combination of Cumbrian grit and Cormac McCarthy-esque brutality had me gripped.
10. Michael McCarthy - The Moth Snowstorm - The other non-fiction book, about British wildlife, how we're destroying it, and why it's important to our mental well-being. Vital stuff.

And yes, I did read the Man Booker winner. And no, it didn't quite make the list...