There’s nothing I like quite as much as browsing through my friends’ bookshelves because it reveals something of their interests, passions and dreams. Today, I thought I’d take you on a brief ‘virtual tour’ of my own bookshelf and give you a glimpse at some of the books I’ve loved reading recently.

I can only do this because of one of my favourite online hang-outs – Goodreads, a website dedicated to bringing together readers and books. Here I  log the books I read and  write a review of each one—the good, the bad and the ‘out-write’ ugly. I use this to remind myself of the books that were my ‘travelling companions’ for a few days or weeks each year. So let me introduce you to some of my most memorable ‘paper acquaintances’ from the last year:

Fantasy Books I Wished I’d Written

I love reading fantasy books, but because I also write fantasy there’s always that twinge of jealousy when I find a particularly brilliant one. These two had me completely enthralled (and slightly green with envy) as I read them:

Assassin’s Apprentice (Robin Hobb)

Wonderfully complex world and characters, beautifully written. I had to physically restrain myself from downloading the next book in the trilogy (but Takealot should be delivering the hard copy any day now). Definitely the front-runner for my BOOK OF THE YEAR.

Reckless (Cornelia Funke)

From the author of Inkheart, a fast paced story set in such an imaginative world that when you close the book our own looks rather dull.

Thrillers that Kept me up at Night

This is another genre I love to read, even if it occassionally keeps me awake, wide-eyed, under the covers.

The Girl on the Train (Paula Hawkins)

Fast paced plot and complex characters, it made me glad I don’t live near a train track.

Shining Girls (Lauren Beukes)

Disturbing with a capital D, this is about a time-travelling serial killer. It was one of the most unique plots I’ve ever come across and I loved the fact that it’s written by a South African (#GoSouthAfricanAuthors).

Author I Read the Most

Jojo Moyes

The first Jojo Moyes I ever read was “Me Before You” and I’ve just finished its sequel, “After You”. But between these two there have been a host of delightful reads (my favourite was probably One Plus One). What I love about Moyes is that every one of her books has a completely different theme and setting, yet each one makes me care deeply about  the characters.

Books that Changed Me

It’s quite a big thing to call a book life-changing, but these books definitely did shift something in my thinking or living:

Blue Like Jazz (Donald Miller)

This book about the author’s struggle to live authentically as a Christian really impacted my own life. So much so that I wrote a blog about it.

Everything ever written by Anne Lamott

In the last year or two, I have devoured Anne Lamott’s books because they are so real, thought-provoking and laugh-aloud funny. They also challenge me to live out my beliefs in an authentic way.

The Book I Should Have Stopped Reading on Page 7

I thought I had to throw in ‘the bad and the ugly’ part of my virtual bookshelf.

The Racketeer (John Grisham)

Boring, boring, boring. Why I pushed on to the bitter end of this one I honestly don’t know. Probably because I’ve enjoyed Grisham’s books before and I kept thinking it would improve (#Life’sTooShortForBoringBooks).

My Most Quirky and Charming Read

The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared (Jonas Jonasson).

It requires a complete suspension of disbelief, but I so enjoyed this crazy ‘travel companion’.

In fact, I think Swedish authors are growing on me for their slightly ‘off the wall’ plots and characters. I’ve just finished “My Grandmother Sends her Regards and Apologies” by Fredrik Backman and it’s almost equally quirky.

 The Book that Ignited my Travel Bug

Four Seasons in Rome (Anthony Doerr)

I love a book that makes me want to explore the world and Doerr’s extremely poetic portrayal of his family’s year in Rome did just that. It was so much more than a description of a remarkable city,though. It was also an exploration of the life of a writer, dealing with writer’s block, parenting and the importance of seizing adventures in life. Definitely my non-fiction book of 2015.

I hope you enjoyed the virtual tour of my recent literary ‘travel companions’. In the comments below, tell me what you’ve loved reading lately (and why) and I might just add it to my “To Read” list.

Oh, and if you join Goodreads look out for me there so we can share our mutual love of books!

Me Before You Book Cover
Reckless Book Cover
Savings Girls Book Cover
Small Victories Book Cover
The Racketeer Book Cover
After You Book Cover
assassins apprentice book cover
Blue Like Jazz Book Cover
Four Seasons Book Cover
Girl on The Train Book Cover
Hundred Year Old Man