2021: The Story So Far – Third Quarter

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

For the months July through September, I read a total of thirty two books, making one hundred and four books in total for the year so far (actually there’s another book I’ll have finished before the end of September, but I’m not including it here for ease of scheduling).

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

Cut to the Bone – Roz Watkins

Fallen Angel – Chris Brookmyre

Starve Acre – Andrew Michael Hurley

The Nesting – C. J. Cooke

Black Summer – M. W. Craven

The Night Visitor – Lucy Atkins

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

The Puppet Show – M. W. Craven

The Hunger – Alma Katsu

The Devil’s Dice – Roz Watkins

Dead Man’s Daughter – Roz Watkins

The Silence of Ghosts – Jonathan Aycliffe

Beneath – Kristi DeMeester

The Upstairs Room – Kate Murray-Browne

Paperboy – Christopher Fowler

The Haunted Shore – Neil Spring

Mistletoe – Alison Littlewood

A Sick Gray Laugh – Nicole Cushing

It breaks down as eighteen novels and two works of non-fiction/biography. Roz Watkins and M. W. Craven are the only writers to appear more than once on the list.

I believe only one of these books was first published in 2021 (“Last House on Needless Street”), but 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, with only the first two titles on the list set in stone (for now).

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