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WHAT I READ IN 2022 AND MY FAVOURITE BOOKS

WHAT I READ IN 2022 AND MY FAVOURITE BOOKS I didn’t get started on novels/nonfiction this year until about Easter (prior to that I read lots of short stories randomly selected from anthologies) and yet I still managed to get through 123 books this year. Below are my favourites, followed by the whole list. (The favourites list excludes rereads, of which there were many, especially earlier in the year. So although MIDNIGHT SUN (Campbell) and THE INFORMATION (Amis) and BAG OF BONES (King) would easily have made the list, I’ve left them out.) My main revelation this year is that I consider Ruth Rendell (and her twisted pseudonymous sister Barbara Vine) an utter genius, probably one of the great writers of our age. I read a lot of her work when I was very young, and appreciated the plots, but after returning to her this year, I found her literary concerns and command of human psychology every bit as compelling as her storytelling. Indeed, she now joins a group of four male writers I con

FELLSTONES by Ramsey Campbell -- review and interview (both spoiler free)

FELLSTONES by Ramsey Campbell A review by Gary Fry   After last year’s gripping excursion into (what we might clumsily call) social realist territory, SOMEBODY’S VOICE, Ramsey Campbell is back where perhaps he truly feels he belongs: the supernatural weird with more than a hint of cosmicism. Story-wise, FELLSTONES is relatively easy to describe: following the deaths of his parents, the care and supervision of young Paul is taken on by his music teachers, a family – mother, father, daughter – rather more expectant than the role ought to involve. Why on earth are they so insistent that he orient his whole life around music, especially his capacity to sing? We the readers join the story with Paul in later life, having fled the manipulative Staveleys, but he’s about to be brought back into the fold – a return to his native village, where seven mysterious stones stand, each a prompt to memories he’d rather remain dormant. Thus begins one of Campbell’s typically accumulative narrativ

WHAT I READ IN 2021 AND MY TOP 20 BOOKS

  With the lockdown rendering normal life impossible, I got stuck into some serious reading this year and had originally hoped to consume an unprecedented 100 books by 2022. In the event, I managed that by July. And so I went on, and on, and on … and by the end of December I’d somehow read 208 books! I assure you that this will never be repeated. Anyway, in the spirit of literary collegiality, I thought I’d post up my 20 favourite reads of the year, along with the reasons why I consider them thus. There is no rank of merit; this is just the order in which I read them. I’ve split them into three groups: novels; autobiography; and nonfiction. At the end of the post there is a comprehensive list of all the books I read in 2021.   NOVELS Somebody’s Voice , Ramsey Campbell Another magnificent prose masterclass. Nobody writes in such a tricksy, sinuous and artful way. Totally exhilarating. And the story here is gripping from start to end.   Solar , Ian McEwan Hilarious, cruel