This page is where I keep a list of everything I’ve read during the year, with links to where I’ve written about it.

152. Akeem Balogun, The Storm (England, 2020). Intriguing collection of stories about characters driven to extremes, linked by the presence of the same intense storm. [****]

151. Sam Mills, The Fragments of my Father (England, 2020). Moving memoir about the author’s experience of caring for her mentally ill father. [****]

150. Paolo Maurensig, Game of the Gods (Italy, 2019 tr. 2021). Novel inspired by the life of Malik Mir Sultan Khan, a 20th century Indian chess player. [***]

149. C.K. McDonnell, The Stranger Times (Ireland, 2020). Comic tale of a newspaper covering the unexplained, whose staff discover that the paranormal may be more real than they thought. [***]

148. Margaret Laurence, The Stone Angel (Canada, 1964). Poignant tale of an old woman looking back on her life, and asking what her life means now. [****]

147. John Wyndham, The Chrysalids (England, 1955). A post-apocalyptic tale that still feels timely. Probably my favourite Wyndham novel that I’ve read to date. [****]

146. Allison Dickson, The Other Mrs. Miller (USA, 2019). A thriller that gets too preposterous to be enjoyable. [**]

145. Samantha Clark, The Clearing (Scotland, 2020). The author’s memoir of clearing out her parents’ house and finding her own mental space. [****]

144. Emily Jeremiah, Blue Moments (England, 2020). The tale of a woman trying to find herself by returning to her past. [****]

143. Sayaka Murata, Earthlings (Japan, 2018 tr. 2020). A girl dreams of escaping Earth with her cousin in a horrifying and exhilarating book that goes to places I could scarcely have expected. [*****]

142. Amber Garza, When I Was You (USA, 2020). A woman inveigles her way into the life of a stranger with the same name – and the twists just pile up. [****]

141. Craig Jordan-Baker, The Nacullians (England, 2020). Magnificent , fragmented family saga about a family who don’t belong in family sagas. [*****]

140. Doris Lessing, The Good Terrorist (UK, 1985). A novel of would-be revolutionaries. [***]

139. Charlotte Levin, If I Can’t Have You (England, 2020). Dark tale of obsessive love. [***]

138. Kevin Barry, That Old Country Music (Ireland, 2020). Tales of the west of Ireland, older rhythms of life rumbling under the contemporary. [****]

137. Esther Gerritsen, Craving (Netherlands, 2012 tr. 2015).Illness and addiction test a mother-daughter relationship to its limits. [****]

136. Alex Pheby, Mordew (England, 2020). Rollicking fantasy from Galley Beggar Press, that took me back to reading Perdido Street Station. [*****]

135. Simon Kernick, Kill a Stranger (England, 2020). Splendidly over-the-top thriller. [***]

134. David Diop, At Night All Blood Is Black (France/Senegal, 2018 tr. 2020). Short and intense novel about a Senegalese soldier in the First World War. [****]

133. Rosannna Amaka, The Book of Echoes (England, 2020). The tale of love between a young black man from Brixton and a young woman from Lagos. [***]

132. Nana Ekvtimishvili, The Pear Field (Georgia, 2015 tr. 2020). Quiet, dark tale of a closed school environment and the difficulties of leaving. [***]

131. M. John Harrison, The Sunken Land Begins to Rise Again (England, 2020). Strange happenings in a land ravaged by austerity, characters who don’t notice, and no easy escape. [****]

130. Tomasz Jedrowski, Swimming in the Dark (Poland, 2020). A tale of love and coming-of-age in 1980s Poland. [***]

129. Raph Cormack (ed.), The Book of Cairo (Egypt, 2019). A mixed bag of stories set in Cairo. [***]

128. Robert Louis Stevenson, Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (Scotland, 1886). Re-read for book group. I liked it more the first time I read it; as it turned out, I wasn’t really in the mood this time. [***]

127. Will Eaves, Broken Consort (England, 2020). A non-fiction collection from the author of Murmur. [***]

126. Wyl Memmuir, The Many (England, 2015). A man moves to a Cornish village and struggles to fit in… but all is not as it seems. [***]

125. Catherine Cooper, The Chalet (England, 2020). Tepid thriller set in a ski resort. [**]

124. Adania Shibli, Minor Detail (Palestine, 2017 tr. 2020). A woman investigates an individual atrocity that has been overlooked by history… but history may yet repeat itself. [***]

123. Xiaolu Guo, A Lover’s Discourse (China/UK, 2020). The tale of a relationship, told in snapshots of conversation and performance. [***]

122. Anakana Schofield, Bina (Ireland/Canada, 2019). An old woman reveals the dark secrets of her life in a series of warnings to the unwary reader. [****]

121 Paul Griffiths, Mr. Beethoven (Wales, 2020). A novel that stretches history and language to imagine a life that Beethoven never lived to experience. [****]

120. Kevin Barry, That Old Country Music (Ireland, 2020). Typically rolling tales from Barry, in which older rhythms of life rumble underneath as characters try to find their place. [****]

119. DBC Pierre, Meanwhile in Dopamine City (Australia, 2020). Frenetic tale of a family caught up in a hyper-connected world where online activity determines social standing. [***]

118. Francine Toon, Pine (Scotland, 2020). Ghostly thriller set in the Scottish Highlands. [***]

117. Daniel Saldaña París, Ramifications (Mexico, 2018 tr. 2020). A man searches his childhood memories to understand why his mother went away. [****]

116. Simon Gough, The White Goddess: An Encounter (England, 2012). Novel by Robert Graves’s great-nephew about his relationship with Graves’s muse. [***]

115. Sylvia Townsend Warner, Lolly Willowes (England, 1926). A woman is determined to forge her own path in life, and comes up with an unexpected solution. [****]

114. Flynn Coleman, A Human Algorithm (USA, 2019). A timely look at the human implications of AI. [***]

113. Clarissa Goenawan, The Perfect World of Miwako Sumida (Indonesia/Singapore, 2020). Intriguing Japan-set tale of characters uncovering the secrets of an old friend. [***]

112. Lucy Foley, The Hunting Party (England, 2018). Tepid thriller about a group of unlikeable university friends going away for New Year, with tragic consequences. [**]

111. BBC National Short Story Award Anthology 2020. A very string set of stories. [****]

110. Maria Gerhardt, Transfer Window (Denmark, 2017 tr. 2019). Re-read: still as piercing as ever. [****]

109. H.G. Wells, The Time Machine (England, 1895). Re-read after several years. Still a striking and powerful vision of the future – and a warning to the present. [****]

108. Tine Høeg, New Passengers (Denmark, 2017 tr. 2020). The boundaries of a woman’s life collapse as she embarks on an affair in this novel-in-verse. [****]

107. Luis Sagasti, A Musical Offering (Argentina, 2017 tr. 2020). Woven tales of music, history, legend, and childhood. [***]

106. Brian Dillon, Suppose a Sentence (Ireland, 2020). An essay collection exploring how sentences work their magic. [****}

105. Sandra Hoffmann, Paula (Germany, 2017 tr. 2020). A novel about the author’s relationship with her grandmother, who refused to reveal her grandfather’s identity. [***]

104. Ben Ellis, How We Got to Today (England, 2020). Love story about an optometrist who can’t see his own face. [***]

103. Sergio Olguín, The Fragility of Bodies (Argentina, 2012 tr. 2019). A journalist uncovers a betting ring that puts young boys’ lives at risk, in a pacy thriller. [***]

102. Angélica Gorodischer, Trafalgar (Argentina, 1979 tr. 2013). Stirringly imaginative tall tales of an intergalactic merchant. [****]

101. Francis Nenik, Journey through a Tragicomic Century (Germany, 2018 tr. 2020). Non-fiction account of the contradictory life of writer Hasso Grabner. [***]

100. Octavia E. Butler, Kindred (USA, 1979). Powerful tale of a 20th century Black woman who slips through time to save the life of her white ancestor, getting caught in the past. [****]

99. Lucy Fricke, Daughters (Germany, 2018 tr. 2020). Wryly humorous tale of two forty-year-old women facing up to the loss of their fathers – or so they think… [****]

98. S.A. Harris, Haverscroft (England, 2020). I wasn’t keen on this ghost story. [**]

97. Vivek Shanbhag, Ghachar Ghochar (India, 2013 tr. 2017). A family’s fortunes change when they start their own business, but dark secrets are hiding away. [****]

96. Hiromi Kawakami, The Nakano Thrift Shop (Japan, 2005 tr. 2017). Charming tale of the misfits who work in a Japanese second-hand goods shop. [****]

95. Esther Kinsky, Grove (Germany, 2018 tr. 2020). A grieving woman’s journey through Italy [***]

94. Pilar Quintana, The Bitch (Colombia, 2017 tr. 2020). A woman tries to fill a gap in her life by adopting a dog. There are consequences… [****]

93. Wilma Stockenström, The Expedition to the Baobab Tree (South Africa, 1981 tr. 1983). The tale of a slave discovering her autonomy through isolation. [****]

92. Desires Become Demons: Four Tamil Poets (India, 2019). A pamphlet from Tilted Axis Press’ Translating Feminisms series. [***]

91. Ian McEwan, Machines Like Me (England, 2019). McEwan’s novel of advanced AI. Interesting, but I would wish it to be more searching. [***]

90. Gøhril Gabrielsen, Ankomst (Norway, 2017 tr. 2020). Vivid portrait of an environment scientist unravelling as she works alone in a remote cabin.

89. Judith Schalansky, An Inventory of Losses (Germany, 2018 tr. 2020). Tales of things we have lost, and the shape of loss in our lives. [****]

88. Marina Šur Puhlovski, Wild Woman (Croatia, 2018 tr. 2020). In winding sentences, a woman chronicles her escape from a repressive marriage. [***]

87. Bae Suah, Untold Night and Day (South Korea, 2013 tr. 2020). Strange, suffocating and disorienting. [***]

86. Natalia Ginzburg, Happiness, as Such (Italy, 1973 tr. 2019). Epistolary novel in which a family search for what happiness can be found when the son leaves home. [****]

85. Kanji Hanawa, The Chronicles of Lord Asunaro (Japan, tr. 2019). The life of a warlord with everyday foibles. [***]

84. Shubhangi Swarup, Latitudes of Longing (India, 2018). A panoramic tale of connected lives and loves. [***]

83. Samanta Schweblin, Little Eyes (Argentina, 2018 tr. 2020). Sprawling novel about toy animals that connect one person to another online, and the different ways we might react. [***]

82. Takuji Ichikawa, The Refugees’ Daughter (Japan, tr. 2019). Fantastical tale offering a different way to move on after catastrophe. [***]

81. Wendell Berry, Stand By Me (USA, 2019). Vivid tales of almost a century in the life of a rural Kentucky community. [****]

80. Eley Williams, The Liar’s Dictionary (England, 2020). False dictionary entries give characters a greater sense of belonging in a joyous celebration of words. [****]

79. Guillermo Stitch, Lake of Urine (Ireland, 2020). Whimsical and strange. [***]

78. Chris Beckett, Two Tribes (England, 2020). A 23rd century historian looks back on referendum-era Britain. This book is keenly aware of how difficult it is to reconcile entrenched positions. [****]

77. Mary Robinette Kowal, The Calculating Stars (USA, 2018). In an alternate 1950s, disaster leads to an accelerated space program and women travelling to the moon. An interesting book more than an enjoyable one. [***]

76. Elin Willows, Inlands (Sweden, 2018 tr. 2020). A young woman tries to find purpose when a failed relationship leaves her in a remote rural community. [***]

75. Bridget Collins, The Binding (England, 2018). A tale of forbidden love set in a history where books contain people’s harvested memories. [****]

74. Yuri Herrera, A Silent Fury (Mexico, 2018 tr. 2020). An account of a mining disaster that aims to recover the victims from the official record. [****]

73. June Bernicoff, Leon and June (Wales, 2018). A memoir about two of my favourite (and much-missed) characters from Gogglebox.

72. Juan Rulfo, Pedro Páramo (Mexico, 1955 tr. 1993). A ghostly, elusive tale of a man searching for his father. [***]

71. Robert Perišić, No-Signal Area (Croatia, 2015 tr. 2020). The future arrives in a remote industrial town, but it turns out to be the past. [****]

70. Marion Brunet, Summer of Reckoning (France, 2018 tr. 2020). Violence comes to the south of France as two sisters confront the future. [****]

69. Angela Makholwa, The Blessed Girl (South Africa, 2017). A young woman negotiates a luxury lifestyle, multiple sugar daddies, and a past she’d rather not think about. [****]

68. Kei Miller, The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion (Jamaica, 2014). A collection of poems about different ways of knowing the world. [****]

67. Alex Pheby, Lucia (England, 2018). A novel about James Joyce’s daughter Lucia, told in a variety of voices. [****]

66. Jin Yong, Legends of the Condor Heroes: A Hero Born (China, 1959 tr. 2018). First volume of a classic martial arts fantasy tale. [****]

65. Sam Selvon, The Housing Lark (Trinidad, 1965). Vivid and amusing tale of a group of Trinidadians and Jamaicans trying to buy a house in London. [****]

64. Margarita García Robayo, Holiday Heart (Colombia, 2017 tr. 2020). The slow breakdown of a marriage. [***]

63. David Foenkinos, The Mystery of Henri Pick (France, 2016 tr. 2020). Whimsical tale of an unlikely literary sensation. The first book from Walter Presents. [***]

62. Lesley Glaister, Blasted Things (England, 2020). Atmospheric tale of a woman finding her way in life after the First World War. [****]

61. Lisa Taddeo, Three Women (USA, 2019). A chronicle of the sexual lives of three real-life characters. [***]

60. Elinor Lipman, On Turpentine Lane (USA, 2017). This was fun to begin with, but I lost patience with the wisecracking tone by the end. [***]

59. Duanwad Pimwana, Arid Dreams (Thailand, tr. 2019). A collection of stories about people who don’t always understand themselves. [****]

58. Monique Roffey, The Mermaid of Black Conch (Trinidad/UK, 2020). Enjoyable tale of a fisherman and a mermaid, and how their lives are changed by each other. [****]

57. Yaniv Iczkovits, The Slaughterman’s Daughter (Israel, 2015 tr. 2020). Enjoyable historical novel following a Jewish woman’s journey through the Pale of Settlement in the Russian Empire at the end of the 19th century. [****]

56. David Wong, Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits (USA, 2015). Good grief. [**]

55. David Seabrook, All the Devils Are Here (England, 2002). A look at the seedier side of Kentish history. [***]

54. Sara Mesa, Four by Four (Spain, 2012 tr. 2020). Mysterious goings-on in an exclusive college. [****]

53. Claudio Morandini, Snow, Dog, Foot (Italy, 2015 tr. 2020). Re-read for an online book club. I’m listing it again because my reaction was different: I liked it even more the second time. [****]

52. Patrick Modiano, Villa Triste (France, 1975 tr. 2016). Melancholy and nostalgic tale of a man looking back on his time rubbing shoulders with high society, and how swiftly it ended. [****]

51. Sarah Moss, Ghost Wall (Scotland/England, 2018). Short and sharp tale of a family re-enacting Iron Age life, and the dark values that emerge. [****]

50. Fernando Sdrigotti, Jolts (Argentina/UK, 2020).  Tales of living between places, finding home away from home. [***]

49. Annie Ernaux, A Girl’s Story (France, 2016 tr. 2020). The author confronts her memories of the first night she spent with a man, at age 18. [***]

48. Tarjei Vesaas, The Birds (Norway, 1957 tr.1968). Powerful and subtle tale of a man trying to understand the world and make himself understood. [*****]

47, Olja Savičević, Singer in the Night (Croatia, 2016 tr. 2019). A famous soap opera writer goes on a journey through the past in search of her ex-husband. [***]

46, Dorthe Nors, Wild Swims (Denmark, 2018 tr. 2020). A collection of stories that hide darkness within the everyday. [***]

45. Rania Mahmoun, Thirteen Months of Sunrise (Sudan, 2009 tr. 2019). A collection of stories about people seeking connection in the city. [****]

44. Serge Joncour, Wild Dog (France, 2018 tr. 2020). Intriguing thriller about the relationship between humans and wild animals in rural France during two different time periods. [****]

43. Basma Abdel Aziz, The Queue (Egypt, 2013 tr. 2016). Re-read: striking to read in the present moment. [****]

42. Amy Sackville, Painter to the King (England, 2018). A novel about the life of Diego Velásquez at the court of King Felipe IV of Spain. [****]

41. Benjamin Myers, ‘A Stone Statue in the Future’ (England, 2020). Eerie tale of a fishing trip, that reaches deep into the past and far into the future. [****]

40. Şebnem İşigüzel, The Girl in the Tree (Turkey, 2016 tr. 2020). A young woman escapes her life by climbing a tall tree, and tells us her engaging story. [****]

39. Kenneth Moe, Restless (Norway, 2015 tr. 2020). A young man empties his heart to the woman who rejected him – or maybe to himself. [***]

38. Gabriel Josipovici, The Cemetery in Barnes (UK, 2018). The building blocks of a life, with multiple pasts and futures. [****]

37. Sayaka Murata, Convenience Store Woman (Japan, 2016 tr. 2018). Re-read: still excellent. [*****]

36. Gabriel Josipovici, Infinity: the Story of a Moment (UK, 2012). An account of a composer’s life reveals the primal nature of his approach to music. [****]

35. Jorge Consiglio, Fate (Argentina, 2018 tr. 2020). Are the lives of four individuals driven by fate or chance? [***]

34. Toby Litt, Patience (England, 2019). The rich inner life of a boy who can’t move or speak. [****]

33. Paolo Giordano, How Contagion Works (Italy, 2020). Written in lockdown, this is a timely examination of the current pandemic.

32. Lars Iyer, Spurious (England, 2011). A pair of philosophers ponder the futility of it all while one puts up with the other’s insults. [***]

31. Matsuda Aoko, Where the Wild Ladies Are (Japan, 2016 tr. 2020). Feminist reimaginings of traditional Japanese ghost stories. Joyous. [****]

30. Gabriela Cabezón Cábara, The Adventures of China Iron (Argentina, 2017 tr. 2019). A reimagining of Argentina’s founding epic, told from the viewpoint of the main character’s abandoned wife. [***]

29. Stephen Sexton, If All the World and Love Were Young (Northern Ireland, 2019). A cycle of poems about illness, grief, and Super Mario World. [***]

28. Birgit Vanderbeke, The Mussel Feast (Germany, 1990 tr. 2013). Re-read: striking tale of a family breaking free of the father’s oppression over the course of an evening. [****]

27. Nino Haratischvili, The Eighth Life (for Brilka) (Georgia, 2014 tr. 2019). An epic saga of family and Georgian history, spanning the 20th century. [****]

26. Jon Fosse, The Other Name: Septology I-II (Norway, 2019). Two versions of the same individual live out different lives. [***]

25. Mary Jean Chan, Flèche (China/UK, 2019). Poems about love, identity, and fencing. [***]

24. Marieke Lucas Rijneveld, The Discomfort of Evening (Netherlands, 2018 tr. 2020). Harrowing tale of a farming family trying to deal with sudden loss. [****]

23. Enrique Vila-Matas, Mac and His Problem (Spain, 2017 tr. 2019). A diarist tries to rewrite his neighbour’s stories, and finds reality blurring. Not as good as I’ve come to expect from this author. [***]

22. Michel Faber, Under the Skin (Netherlands, 2000). Re-read for book group: still gruesome and strange. [***]

21. Shokoofeh Azar, The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree (Iran, 2017). A tale of an Iranian family in the years after the 1979 Revolution. Stories nest within stories and the supernatural is never far away. [****]

20. Francesco Dmitri, The Book of Hidden Things (Italy, 2018). A group of childhood friends reunite as adults to find that one of them may have discovered the secret of magic… or maybe he’s lost his grip on reality. [***]

19. Daniel Kehlmann, Tyll (Germany/Austria, 2017 tr. 2020). A trickster figure from medieval German folklore shakes up the world of the Thirty Years’ War. [***]

18. Fernanda Melchor, Hurricane Season (Mexico, 2017 tr. 2020). The murder of a woman known as a witch exposes the dark realities of village life. Told in long, winding sentences. [****]

17. Elisa Shua Dusapin, Winter in Sokcho (France/South Korea, 2016 tr. 2020). A young woman in a Korean border town hopes a French visitor can give her a new way to see herself. [****]

16. Ben Lerner, The Hatred of Poetry (USA, 2016). Must admit this essay went over my head somewhat. [***]

15. Christina Hesselholdt, Vivian (Denmark, 2016 tr. 2019). A novel about the American street photographer Vivian Maier, told as a series of snapshots. [****]

14. Clemens Meyer, Dark Satellites (Germany, 2017 tr. 2020). A collection of stories about marginal places and people, where reality becomes ambiguous. [****]

13. Yoko Ogawa, The Memory Police (Japan, 1994 tr. 2019). A woman tries to hold on to the past in a place where things keep disappearing from the collective memory, and there are enforcers around to keep it that way. A beautiful and poignant novel of loss. [*****]

12. Claudio Morandini, Snow, Dog, Foot (Italy, 2015 tr. 2020). Compelling portrait of a reclusive old man secure in his perception but insecure in his hold on reality. [****]

11. Chigozie Obioma, The Fishermen (Nigeria, 2015). Re-read for book group: OK, but not as enjoyable this time. [***]

10. Daisy Hildyard, The Second Body (England, 2017). Thought-provoking essay about the difficulty for humans of imagining ourselves as part of a global ecosystem. [****]

9. Toshikazu Kawaguchi, Before the Coffee Gets Cold (Japan, tr. 2019). A tale of time travel set in a Japanese café. It has its moments, but could do with more of them. [***]

8. Timur Vermes, The Hungry and the Fat (Germany, 2018 tr. 2020). More broad satire of media-saturated society from the author of Look Who’s Back. A reality TV show leads to a mass march of refugees on Europe, and everyone wants the right image. [****]

7. Patrick Langley, Arkady (UK, 2018). Absorbing novel about two brothers finding their way on the margins of an austerity-ravaged society, a setting that’s as abstract to the reader as it is to them. [****]

6. Nathalie Léger, Exposition (France, 2008 tr. 2019). An exploration of identity, representation, and the Countess di Castiglione’s portraits. [***]

5. Arthur C. Clarke, Rendezvous with Rama (England, 1973). A vast alien spacecraft enters the solar system, and humans attempt to unravel its mysteries. Suitably awe-inspiring. [***]

4. Kornel Filipowicz, The Memoir of an Anti-Hero (Poland, 1961 tr. 2019). The quietly chilling tale of a Man determined to keep his head down in occupied Poland, no matter what. [****]

3. Roger Pulvers, Tokyo Performance (Australia, 2018). The self-destruction of a TV chef, live on air. [***]

2. Emmanuelle Pagano, Faces on the Tip of My Tongue (France, 2012 tr. 2019). A collection of linked stories revealing how little we might know the most familiar faces. [****]

1. Madeline Miller, Circe (USA, 2018). Greek myths, reimagined. [***]