Emily Critchley novel mentor

In January 2019 I had this rather nifty idea (so I thought) of writing down all the books I read during the year as I went along. I dedicated a couple of blank pages in my notepad and began my list (I think with Rachel Cusk’s novel Outline)

I have never owned a reading diary, or kept track of what I read so it seemed, at the time, like an interesting idea, one I might be able to turn into a blog post the following December/January: What an Author Reads in a Year (or something as equally obvious). 

I dutifully kept up my list, writing down each book I read whilst keeping a little code next to the titles to remind myself whether the book was fiction, non-fiction, children’s fiction or a collection of short stories. I felt that, for me, this was pretty organised. 

Around November, I lost the list.

Yep, I have looked everywhere for it.

I get through several black, A4, moleskin notepads each year and I have searched them all numerous times but to no avail. Alas, my lovely list has completely vanished. 

So, instead, in February (when I have finally gotten around to updating the blog and given up all hope of finding my list) I am recording only the selected highlights; just three of my favourite reads (those I can remember) from 2019. 

Next year I will try to do better. 

I have already started making a list of my 2020 reads (on my phone!) although I am now wondering if this post is actually better (shorter/less boring) for just featuring my highlights. And who cares how many books are read by me, or anyone, in a year anyway? 

My favourite (remembered) reads of 2019:



A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

Plainsong by Kent Haruf

Reasons to be Cheerful by Nina Stibbe



Quiet by Susan Cain

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig 


Short Story collections: 

Hey Yeah Right get a Life by Helen Simpson

Bad Dreams by Tessa Hadley 

Moral Disorder by Margaret Atwood 


Children’s fiction:

The Umbrella Mouse by Anna Fargher

The Goat by Anne Fleming

Boy Underwater by Adam Baron