Here’s the best in various slightly random categories I’ve created especially:
Best literary fiction – The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith. My MA dissertation tutor commented on my current reading taste (Diana Her True Story by Andrew Morton) and suggested I might like to read something he recommended. As a swapsies, I told him how much I adored Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susanne and he read it, in one sitting, that week.
Best non-fiction – Crusader in Pink, Henry Cloud’s biography of Barbara Cartland – such an interesting life, reading about her writing process and society background was wonderful; Behind the Candelabra – very sad, much better than the film, showed me how far we’ve come with gay marriage etc; My Family and other Animals, G Durrell, a brilliant way to present someone’s life in a slightly fictionalised way; Lost and Found, Lynda Bellingham, I laughed, I cried, I cried some more. So sad she is no longer alive; Joan Collins by Graham Lord – she appeared in so many terrible films yet kept coming back for more. She’s referred to as the British Open because of her sexual appetite.
Best non-fiction that isn’t an autobiographies – Mindfulness Plain and Simple by Oli Doyle – such a simple philosophy but so hard to actually do in practice. I’m trying every day to implement the learning from this which can be summed up: don’t worry about the fearful future, or dwell on the painful past, focus on living and enjoying the beautiful now moments of life.
Best popular fiction – The Beach by Alex Garland – I didn’t read it at the time because hype and I like to swim against the tide of hype. It was so simply written yet so clever how gradual the creeping realisation of how not perfect the island community is; A Spanish Lover by Joanna Trollope – I’ve recently got into this author. I love how she portrays family, women, men, relationships. Plus, she writes a very good sex scene without any stuffing of the turkey. She provided a great source of material for my talk on when to tell and not show I gave last year.
What did you read and enjoy in the last year? I'd love to hear from you.
Love and light,
Liam Livings xx