In 2018, I set myself a target of reading 40 books. I managed 37 in 2017 but that included a spell in hospital and several weeks recovering from bilateral pulmonary emboli as well as holidays. I actually read 31 books.
Bill Gates is reported to read 50 books a year. Barack Obama famously recommended many books during his presidency and, no doubt, continues to be an avid reader.
We all have busy lives with jobs, family and friends, and many other things using up our precious time but I have always believed that we make time for the things that we really want to do. So how can we make more time for reading?
Here are my top tips:
Some extra recommendations:
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
My all time favourite book, and the one I have re-read most often, is Rebecca. Daphne du Maurier was writing psychological thrillers long before they were a thing. “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.” The famous opening line is all it takes to transport me to the gothic and haunting setting for this book. 2018 marks the 80th anniversary of its publication and it is deservedly a modern classic.
The Summer of Impossible Things by Rowan Coleman
This was one of my top ten reads in 2017 and is one of the picks for the new Zoe Ball Book Club. In essence, it is a story of love set in the present and the summer of 1977 in Brooklyn. It is atmospheric, descriptive, magical, compelling and, for a while at least, you can believe anything is possible.
Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough
Before it was released in early 2017, this title was cleverly marketed in social media with #WTFthatending. Also in my top ten reads of 2017, I read it within a day, so eager was I to find out that ending. The story starts ostensibly as a love triangle but transforms into a superb suspense thriller. I defy anyone to guess the ending. #WTF indeed.
Someone Else’s Skin by Sarah Hilary
Someone Else’s Skin was the deserved winner of the Theakston’s Crime Novel of the Year in 2015. It is the first in a series of books by Sarah Hilary featuring DI Marnie Rome and DS Noah Jake. Marnie has a harrowing back story so it is worth reading them in order for that, although each book does stand alone. Sarah Hilary has an incredible knack for delving into very difficult topics – domestic abuse in this book – with empathy and an understanding of how hard it must be for the police to deal with. There are violent scenes but nothing is gratuitous. Police procedurals don’t get any better than this.
The other books in the series are: No Other Darkness, Tastes Like Fear, Quieter Than Killing, Come and Find Me and Never Be Broken. A 7th book is due out in 2020.
The One by John Marrs
A DNA test to find your perfect partner? Would you? What if you were already with someone? This book follows five people who have taken the test to find their soul mate. Twists and turns aplenty as their journeys continue along the emotional roller-coasters. It’s a clever premise for a book that poses some real moral and ethical questions with drama and brilliant plotting. No spoilers here – you’ll just have to read it for yourself.