2021: The Story So Far – Second Quarter

Back in April I did a list of my favourite books of the year so far, and as it’s now July time for another update.

For the months April through June, I read a total of thirty one books, making seventy two in total for the first half of the year.

So, in the order I preferred them when I wrote the list ten minutes ago (and, of course, it may be subject to change), here are my top twenty books for 2021 so far, with new entries shown in bold:-

Melmoth – Sarah Perry

The Last House on Needless Street – Catriona Ward

Fallen Angel – Chris Brookmyre

Starve Acre – Andrew Michael Hurley

The Nesting – C. J. Cooke

Coffinmaker’s Blues: Collected Writings on Terror – Stephen Volk

The Hunger – Alma Katsu

The Upstairs Room – Kate Murray-Browne

Paperboy – Christopher Fowler

The Haunted Shore – Neil Spring

Mistletoe – Alison Littlewood

The Ghost Hunters – Neil Spring

The Taking of Annie Thorne – C. J. Tudor

The Unnamed Country – Jeffrey Thomas

In One Person – John Irving

Little Eve – Catriona Ward

The Quickening – Rhiannon Ward

Pine – Francine Toon

Cobra Trap – Peter O’Donnell

Film Freak – Christopher Fowler

It breaks down as fifteen novels, two collections, and three works of non-fiction/biography. Christopher Fowler, Neil Spring, and Catriona Ward are the only writers to appear twice on the list.

I believe only one of these books was first published in 2021 (“Last House on Needless Street”), though I lack the commitment to go back and check (happy to be corrected though, if anyone knows better), and so it is a ‘best of Pete’s reading in 2021’ rather than ‘Pete’s best of the year’ (a not too subtle distinction). And, of course, the whole process is highly subjective – at any other time my ratings might be entirely different.

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