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.