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December 2016 Reading Round-Up

Happy new year! It always seems strange having this round up just before my yearly one, but without it a few books would get completely lost and – in many ways more importantly – I want to shed particular light on this month because the books were particularly great.

The Books

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Claire Watts: Gingerbread & Cupcake – Simon hoped to travel over the summer, Lily hoped for a last ‘summer of love’ but when both plans fail and Simon’s family tearooms take a dive in the ratings, they find themselves spending time with each other. A nice fairly short young adult book.

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Rowan Hisayo Buchanan: Harmless Like You – After the death of his father, Jay must go looking for his absent mother; Yuki struggled with who she was meant to be, falling into bad relationships, always hoping to be a good artist. A good book about identity, art, race, and family.

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Samantha Sotto: Love & Gravity – The cracks in the wall start happening in Andrea’s single digit years and although no one believes her she comes to look forward to the rare sightings of the historical boy, a budding scientist, on the other side of her wall. A great time slip/travel novel that makes use of a mystery box of letters recently found amongst Issac Newton’s possessions to tell its story.

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Zadie Smith: Swing Time – A nameless narrator tells us the story of her life; her on-off best friend and their jealousies and triumphs, the work she did for a western celebrity with an idealised project for ‘Africa’, and a childhood with a mother determined to better herself. This book is a bit too packed full of subjects, structured in a strange way, and has a disappointing non-ending, but the reading experience is pretty awesome.

Being December, I had more time for older books and books from my shelves. I had been wanting to read Buchanan for a while and Sotto’s book, whilst a review copy, was one I’d been looking forward to ever since I finished her previous in 2011. Watts’ book, too, I’d looked forward to – I’m still to review her previous book, that should be happening February or thereabouts; it’s stunning. My favourite? The Sotto just about wins.

Quotation Report

None this time.

Here’s to good books helping us all get through that post-Christmas dullness!

Which of your last 2016 reads were favourites?



January 2, 2017, 9:17 am

Happy New Year!

I’ve been thinking about reading Swing TIme for a while, but after reading your feelings on it I’m not sure I want to. I enjoyed White Teeth, but it didn’t grip me so much I couldn’t stop reading it. I feel Swing Time may be similar. Is it one of those books you’re glad you’ve read, but didn’t entirely enjoy the reading of it?


January 2, 2017, 4:12 pm

None of my December reads made it to my ultimate Top 10, but that is not to say they weren’t very enjoyable. Like you, I used the latter part of December to read books I had been looking forward too.


January 2, 2017, 4:19 pm

Happy 2017!


January 3, 2017, 2:52 pm

A wonderfully eclectic selection, thank you.

My favourite book of 2016 was A Man Called Ove.

Andrew Blackman

January 3, 2017, 9:33 pm

Hey Charlie, Happy New Year! It’s funny, your response to Zadie Smith’s latest book reminds me a lot of my own response to some of her earlier ones :) Wishing you a great reading year in 2017!


January 10, 2017, 12:48 pm

Alice: Given what you’ve said, yes, I think you might find Swing Time similar. I enjoyed reading it to an extent and am glad I did read it, but I wouldn’t say I’d have missed something by not reading it.

Jessica: It’s a nice idea, isn’t it? Sets you up for the holidays.

Freda: Happy new year, Freda!

Tracy: One I’ve still to read. From the reviews I’m not surprised you liked it, though that it was your favourite makes me more inclined to move it up the list.

Andrew: Happy new year! Yes, I’m starting to get the idea that they are quite similar in that response way. Though I did like NW quite a lot more.



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