I wrote last year of the 99 books we had so far read in the boys book club and the joy, friendship, camaraderie and nourishment that I get from it. I decided after pulling all the books together in one post last year that at the end of each year I’d do a post on the books of that year. We always have a review of the year and last night was no exception, we both reviewed the current book and reflected upon what we’ve read across the year. What I like about this process is that a book you might have scored very highly on the night originally does not stay with you as the year develops, whereas other books seep into your bones, resonant and you come to remember and reflect on them far more even if you didn’t score it that highly when you first read it.
Some thought that this year has been a poor year for us in terms of books but I think that they are letting the clang for a few shockers reverberate across the great books we have read the noise drowning them out. The reflection last night was good as it dispelled this as we looked back, yes there were a couple of really bad books but there were some gems as well that will live long in the memory. I think the year was roughly split actually between the good and not so good. What I did notice though was that we have read a real range of stuff from 16th century political treatise right up to current day publications hot off the press. We have covered huge issues through books covering slavery, genocide, class, gender politics, body image and ‘normality’ as well as different genres.
As always though it is the discussion that brings the books alive as we view the issues through the prism of our own experiences and world view and it is this that makes the boys book club so special. Through the input of the other members I continue to grow as a person, they help me reflect on who I am and why I think the way I do. I’m challenged, amused, horrified, perplexed but above all nourished by them. One of our founder members is bowing out as they now live in another city and have struggled to keep up with the rigour that is required. It’s a sad day in many ways as he will be deeply missed by us all but the book club will go on evolving and I can’t wait to see what 2015 will bring.
So without further ado what collectively were our top three books of the year:-
1. Ask the Dust – John Fante
2. Zone of Interest – Martin Amis
3. The Year of the Hare – Arto Paasilinna
I’d love to know what you think of the range of books we’ve read this year and whether or not you are in a book club, what has been your best books of the year, what would you recommend for us to read in 2015?