So, another year draws to a close, which means it’s time to sum up my reading over the past 12 months.
I read 68 books, quite a bit down on previous years, but I read a higher percentage of women (62 per cent) than ever before.
Over the course of the year I gave myself a few projects, with mixed results.
- I attempted to read the entire shortlist for the Stella Prize, but only managed to read three of the six titles because at the time they weren’t available in the UK.
- I had better luck with the shortlist for the Miles Franklin, reading all the titles and totally agreeing with the choice of winner: Michelle de Kretser’s The Life to Come.
- I took part in #20booksofsummer — and managed to read 19 books, four more than last year’s effort.
- I read 19 books by Australian women writers as part of the 2018 Australian Women Writers’ Challenge, almost twice as many as I planned to read.
- I read the entire shortlist of the ScotiaBank Giller Prize and participated in the Shadow Giller for the eighth year in a row, but I was a bit lax in my reviewing obligations.
On first impressions, I’d say it was a relatively mediocre reading year for me, and going back through my reviews I can see that it was a definite year of two halves, with the first being particularly strong and the second being much weaker.
So here’s my list — a mix of old and new, heavily weighted towards Australian novels with a handful by authors from Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and South Africa The books have been arranged in alphabetical order by author’s surname. Hyperlinks will take you to my full review.
The Sound of My Voice by Ron Butlin (1987)
The day-to-day struggles of a biscuit factory executive who is also a high-functioning alcoholic.
The Sinners’ Bell by Kevin Casey (1968)
A heart-rending portrait of a doomed marriage set in small town Ireland.
The Quarry by Damon Galgut (1995)
Suspenseful South African novella in which a man on the run from the law switches identity with the priest he murders.
The Well by Elizabeth Jolley (1986)
Slightly disturbing Australian classic about an eccentric woman who invites a teenage orphan to live with her on a remote farm — with unforeseen consequences.
Fairyland by Sumner Lock Elliott (1990)
Thinly veiled memoir about a gay man hiding his real self from the world in 1930s/40s Sydney.
Storyland by Catherine McKinnon (2017)
Thought-provoking tale that weaves together five interlinking stories set on one tract of land to show the environmental impact over four centuries.
The Passage of Love by Alex Miller (2018)
Fictionalised account of the author’s own life trying to pursue a writing career at the expense of his marriage and financial security.
Soon by Lois Murphy (2018)
Deliciously creepy novel, part horror, part dystopian, set in a country town threatened by an unexplained mist.
Travelling in a Strange Land by David Park (2018)
Beautifully evoked portrayal of a father’s grief masquerading as a treacherous road journey across a snowy British landscape.
The Shepherd’s Hut by Tim Winton (2018)
Fast-paced tale about a teenage boy on the run through some of the outback’s most inhospitable territory.
Hope you’ve had an exciting reading year. Have you read any from this list? Or has it encouraged you to try one or two? What were your favourite reads of 2018?
Please note that you can see my favourite books of all the years between 2006 and 2018 by visiting my Books of the Year page.