The commuter's good book guide

I have recently started a book club which has immediately made me braver and more experimental with my reading choices. In said book club, where some members - not mentioning any names ...but let's call them GG and the Ballerina - have not yet grasped that they should be reading the book and not simply partaking in the wine drinking - we aim to meet every 6 weeks and have a few drinks whilst discussing the book of choice - my favourite starter for ten question which may demonstrate some shallowness (never!) is "Who would play the main characters in a film?" Daniel Craig has nearly always featured to date!!
So, back to my commuter book list. I am increasingly reaching for my kindle rather than the Metro or Stylist on the train (ok, I do always read Stylist first.....who wouldn't!!) but haven't quite got into reading in the evening as yet...perhaps when the current series of Scandal, The Affair, NCIS, Hawaii 5-0 (Steve McGarret mmmmm) ends - ok probably never....especially with War and Peace now taking up my Sunday evenings..... (I digress!) but at least my near-daily almost 4 hour round commute gives me enough time to sample the latest treats that the Amazon kindle store has to offer!

I will start with a list of my top books read in 2015, followed by those I have on my list for will see I have very eclectic taste so hopefully there is a recommendation in here for everyone!

My Top Reads of 2015

Having never read this book in school - although sure it was on the reading list (oops) - I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. And whilst it was harder work than my normal train reading I did expect it and so tried extra hard to concentrate and keep going. It was very powerful and thought provoking and easy to get sucked in once the pace of the story quickened. Once into the story I could see why every English curriculum should cover it. Three words to sum up.....prejudice, innocence and courage. A must read and very excited to sample the next instalment, Go Set a Watchman - despite the critics' reviews!

What a fantastic book! Elizabeth Haynes easily captures the descent into domestic violence and its emotional aftermath. Cannot relate to the characters at all (which is a relief!) but felt like I knew them. And this is the one we reckon Daniel Craig could have a starring role in!!

The second of Robert Galbraith's (Harry Potter author JK Rowling writing under a pseudonym) series focused on Comoran Strike, a private detective who found fame solving a case in the first book of the series (which I hasten to add I didn't read first but sure I will come back to) and his hunt for a murderer. It is full of complicated sexual entanglements and gory murders.....bit more James Paterson than Harry and his giant goblet of whatever (I have never read these - I hope to when the kids start asking....they will won't they??!!). A very easy, dare I say,' holiday read' but gripping nonetheless.

I am told this is being made into a TV series later this year and it is the perfect story for a BBC drama - its got a bit of politics, sex, a few drugs and odd family dynamics in there.......Eastenders eat your heart out! It's a tragic cautionary tale of deceitful affairs. A normal woman's world descends into chaos and sadness showing how far you can fall when you have a lot to lose. Strictly Come Dancing couples beware! 

Wow oh wow! This is one book I would never had picked up had it not been for a friend (she will come up again I'm sure so let's name her the Enabler!). This time it wasn't clothes or shoes the Enabler was touting but an amazing read that will stay with me forever. I am ever so slightly peeved its been made into what will probably be an Oscar winning film but I will watch it nonetheless - having seen the trailer it looks good, but not quite as good as my imagination was allowed to conjure up in the book. Written from the perspective of a 5 year old boy, it is an utterly heart wrenching tale of a young boy and his mother, their unusual living arrangements (don't want to give too much away!) and their subsequent journey together.

Not my favourite book for 2015 but a worthwhile read - if slightly surreal! I wanted to read as it was championed by many reviewers but it didn't live up to expectations quite as much as I had hoped. Interesting setting both in historical and geographic terms, lots of twists and turns in the plot line but just ever so slightly.....weird. I will leave you to make up your own mind!

A recommendation from my mum, I really enjoyed this. Full of suspense, this time-jumping book is an easy reading thriller focused on female friendships and how suspicion, jealousy and heightened emotions can really mess with your head! A bit Alex Garland's 'The Beach' at times.

Another one I should have read years ago....but in a way I am glad I waited. I'm not sure I would have fully appreciated the sadness of the decadence portrayed. I tried to watch the film but apart from a little of Leo and a lot of love for Baz Luhrman's showmanship, it was the book that championed again!

And looking ahead to 2016 

Drumroll please! All of these are recommendations by friends, bloggers and reviews in recent press.

I am reading this at the moment and its pretty spectacular. Its a Pulitzer Prize winner so I suppose it should be! The author spent 10 years writing it and I reckon I will be able to devour in a few train journeys. The characters are beautiful and I can already see that whilst it is set against a backdrop of WW2, it has a basic message of the simplicity of being kind to one another....I hope!
I have always loved any book by Stephen Leather - its a bit James Bond but hey! By the way, does anyone else think that Aidan Turner would make a great Bond? 

And I want to re-read my favourite book ever, Kolumsky Heights. I have never wanted to re-read anything but keep coming back to a hard copy of this on my bookshelf.

So there it is - let me know any thoughts you have and any recommendations for me to add to the list. This will probably only keep me going until March!

For more inspiration on books for 2016 its worth downloading Stylist's Christmas digital edition which is focused wholly on literature! Or check out this article here for starters.

Image courtesy of jscreationz at


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