I gave myself a wee challenge at the beginning of the year – to read 52 books in 2015.

A book a week seemed reasonable, as it was partly an effort to stop watching so much TV, as it was about reading more.

Needless to say that this will not possibly be achieved. As with most things I decide that I will definitely do, I forgot about it almost immediately, only remembering once every other month or so. Ah well.

But I have pushed myself through some absolute corkers this year and, as I’ve just finished once that’d been on my list for an absolute flipping age, I thought I’d do a recap, with a line on each. Happy to expand if anyone’s interested.

So, in no particular order…

Stoner by John Williams – A farm boy from the early 1900’s Midwest, becomes and an English Literature professor, gets married and has a child. That this is one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read is somehow a miracle, but it is.


Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk – Aspiring writers attend a writer’s retreat, become locked in, part of their own grisly fame-hungry screenplay, and tell a series of their own vile stories to pass the time. Vilely brilliant.


The Shock of the Fall – I’ve written on this before. The story of severe mental illness brought on by childhood trauma. Sensitive and lovely.


Under the Skin – Aliens, hunting for people on the A roads of Scotland, whilst pondering the ineffability of life, respect, acceptance and self-worth. So dissimilar to the film that, even having seen it first, it did nothing to spoil or reduce my joy in this book.


Somebody’s Husband, Somebody’s Son – An analysis of the Yorkshire Ripper himself, including his family, friends, wife and the route he took to become what he did and do what he did.


Blood on the Altar – The bizarre 20 year case of a missing girl in a tiny Italian town, a murderer protected by the church and the strange turn of events that end the story in Brighton.


London Orbital – The incredibly clever and wordily exquisite Iain Sinclair walks the entirety of the M25 (under and beside it, not on it) and explores the places that people now zip by, instead of seeing and knowing. A magnum opus, if there ever was one.

breakfastwithlucianBreakfast with Lucian – Built up over years of breakfasts, this is a touching and compelling portrait of Lucian Freud, the best British artist for a hundred years.

That’ll do for now, as this is getting too big. I will do another when I can remember what the hell I was reading in February etc, and can remember that I used to write this blog.