Best Books of the Last Five Years


Hi everyone, I hope you’re having a good
week. I realised that whilst I haven’t been on booktube for five years, I’ve
been on here just over four years, I have made a ‘Best of Books’ video for the past 5
years, so for 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 I’ll link all those videos in the
description box down below. Now, what I thought I’d do today is get my computer,
which is here; I don’t know why I felt the need to pick it up in case you
thought I was lying and didn’t have my computer — there it is; I have all of those
videos here and I thought I would go through them, remind myself of which
books were my favourites from each year and tell you a little bit about those
books… how how they have lasted, I suppose, whether I still consider them
favourites or whether they were more ‘of the moment.’ And then I am going to write
down books as I go that I consider to be my favourite books of the last 5 years
and at the end of the video I’m going to try and order those. I’m gonna pull them
from my shelves, I’m going to try and put them in some sort of order, and we can
have a top 10 — probably more than a top 10 — books of the last 5 years.
Cool? Let’s do it. Okay, let’s start with 2014, what’s going to be interesting
actually is looking at reading years as a whole and seeing if any were more
successful than others. I haven’t studied these prior to filming this video
because I wanted to just talk about it as I went, so I’ve opened the description
box, and there at number 10 for 2014 was Bird Box by Josh Malerman, which I’m
sure most of you are familiar with especially with the new Netflix film.
That book terrified me but I think it’s definitely ‘of the
moment’; it’s not one that I cling to as a favourite now. Then, at number nine,
was The Girl Who Couldn’t Read by John Harding. This was a gothic book I
remember finding the ending a little bit confusing and a bit of a letdown,
though it was very very atmospheric. Number 8: Elizabeth is Bissing by Emma Healey, this again was a really fun book; I much prefer it to Emma’s second
book which came out in 2018 which I didn’t really like. This was good, again,
but it’s not one of my all time favourites, so I’m not going to put it on the
list. Next is We Were Liars by E Lockhart. I’m actually surprised
looking at this that it’s as high on the list as it is.
Clearly at that time it was one of my favourites… I don’t really have
too many memories of that one at all that I can share. Number 6: A Song for
Issy Bradley by Carys Bray. I have very fond memories of this one because it was
the first novel that Carys wrote. I had previously read her short story
collection Sweet Home which is one of my all-time favourites. I preferred her novel
Museum of You but this was still of my favourites of the year, so I love
that one, too, but I don’t think it’s a favourite of all time. Then we’ve got All
The Birds Singing by Evie Wyld, which is beautiful, beautiful book… no
I don’t think it’s gonna make it onto the list either, though. Then The Girl with All
the Gifts by MR Carey. Again I’m surprised that was so high up but it was…
I was going to call it a romp… it’s not a romp… unless it’s a zombie romp. Is that a thing? A zombie romp? [laughter] This is one like Bird Box in that I associate it with fun times,
being scared etc it’s fast paced and yeah it’s fun
number three Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami.
This one is complicated for me because I remember absolutely loving this book but
I feel like I’ve spoken about this in other videos; Murakami used to be one of
my favourite authors but I feel like I overindulged.
Murakami can feel a little… a little bit samey: lots of spaghetti, jazz, girls
with no personalities, poor queer representation and talking cats. So this
one is different to many of his other books, I think this is one of his earlier
books, it’s weird and parts of it reminded me of Philip Pullman a little
bit but because my overall feeling about Murakami has changed I hesitate to
include this on my favorite books of all time simply because I feel like it’s
tainted. I’m not saying the book itself is in any way bad but I find it
difficult to love it as much as I did. That’s just how I feel. And now we’ve got
A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki in at number two, and which is
fantastic… it is wonderful… but I forgave it at the time… at the time I I spoke about this, I remember in a review, saying that the ending, I didn’t like
the direction that the ending took. I find it unbelievable and it sucked me out
of the book. I forgave it because I loved the beginning of it but looking
back I don’t think I can include it on an all-time favourites list because of
that… what I consider to be a flaw. But at number one is The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber which is going to go on my favourite books of all
time because I mean if you’ve been around here longer than a week you’ve
probably heard me mention it. I’ll speak in more detail about the books I’m
adding to this all-time favourite list at the end of the video. Okay, so only one
from 2014, let’s move on to 2015 where I picked 15 books for my top favourite
books of 2015 — I see what I did there. In a number 15 I put Sum by
David Eagelman; this is a short story collection and I have very fond memories
of it and I’m actually surprised looking at this list that it is the last
favourite on this list. I’ve put in brackets Einsteins Dreams by Alan
Lightman next to it because clearly I didn’t want to have 16 because I wanted
to have 15, because I thought that was a good number [rollseyes] but I remember linking those
two and I still do link those two very firmly in my head. Isn’t it funny how you
can do that with books that you read side-by-side? So, I would say both of
these are short story collections even though the publishers claim that
Einsteins Dreams is a novel. They’re both fragmented, anyway. So, Sum is a little
bit like Black Mirror; it’s called forty tales of the afterlife, so forty different
versions of what heaven or hell or purgatory might be like, and then
Einstein’s Dreams is Einstein dreaming about different worlds where time and
space interact or present themselves in different ways. I don’t think they’re
all-time favourites but I highly recommend both of them. Now we’ve got the
Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber
which I adore and it may be silly but I think I want to include one book per
author in this list unless I feel very very strongly otherwise, so I’m not going
to include this one here but again I would highly recommend it. Next we have
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente. I’m not sure about that one. I’m going to come back to it.
Then we’ve got A Portable Shelter by Kirsty Logan. I really did love that
short story collection and I don’t think is going to make the favourites list but
after that we have Grief is The Thing with Feathers by Max Porter. This is
number [counts] one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven on my list and I’m
really surprised by that because I am going to include that in my favourite
book, so I’ll talk more about that later on in the video but I’m just gonna make
a note for myself. And then we got Beyond the Pale by Emily Urquhart which is a
nonfiction book where Emily talks about albinism around the world and how
folklore and albinism interact with each other, it’s really really interesting,
don’t think is going to make my all-time favorites. Then we’ve got the Stone Gods
by Jeanette Winterson, which is a fabulous sci-fi dystopian about how… a
little bit like what I wanted to Cloud Atlas to be and which it wasn’t (for me) which
is how the same kind of people exist in different time periods. I think if you
liked the TV show Maniac you would really enjoy this as well. Don’t it’s going to make
my favourites list because it’s not my favourite by Jeanette Winterson, not
necessarily out of the five years, I just mean out of any of her books I’ve read
it it’s not my absolute favourite, I don’t think — Oranges are not the Only Fruit is
because I’m predictable, ha, and then we’ve got Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire
Fuller, which was really enjoyable but it’s not going to make my all-time
favourites list. The House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods by Matt
Bell, so much fun, so dark and twisted and I think the writer in me loved it for
the experiments that it did… but looking back on it, it was quite flawed and I
excused a lot of things I think because I read it right at the end of the year
and that’s the trouble with doing favourites videos, because the closer you
are to something the more difficult it is to see it objectively… now we’ve got
The Giant Beard that was Evil, which is a wonderful graphic novel but not one I’m
going to include it in my favourites; The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer, again one I
would recommend wholeheartedly but I’m not going to put it in my favourites …okay so
then we get to the tricky ones, so we’ve got Peter and Alice by John Logan, A
Guide to Being Born by Ramona Ausubel, The Dumb House by John Burnside and The Exhibit by Lauren Eggert Crown. Of course like with, The Book of Strange New Things,
if you’ve been here for five minutes you know I love The Dumb House, so that is
definitely going on my all time list. Then A Guide to Being Born is one
of my favorite short story collections because it has some of my favorite short
stories in it but the collection as a whole… I seem to remember that there were stories
I didn’t love quite as much so I think I’m going to leave that one even though
it is one of my all-time favourite short stories… I’m gonna leave that one. Peter
and Alice by John Logan. I bawled my eyes out when I read this play; it is about
Peter Llewelyn Davies and Alice Liddell the real-life versions Peter Pan and
Alice in Wonderland and their imagined meeting. I think I am going to include this
one because… why I just told you what it was about and I was going to speak about
it at the end …that’s fine you can hear about it twice, ha – Peter and Alice. I think I
am because it really did destroy me when I read it. And then we have The Exhibit by Lauren Eggert Crowe, this was my favourite book of the year I read it late
in the year but because it’s so short — it is a chapbook — it hasn’t had that
lasting… it has it lasted with me, and so I think I may leave it from my all-time
favourites but I’ll link it down below, well, no, I will link the video where I
talk about it and then that’s linked in the description. It’s like… it’s like a
box that has lots of little boxes inside it. I’m going to leave it from my list today.
Okay then we get into my favourite books of 2016… so so far we’ve got [counts[ one, two,
three, oh no, I said I was going to come back to The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland… I still don’t know I’m going to come back to it at the end, please remind
me, okay, so 2016 how many did I pick that year? I picked [counts] one, two, three, four, five,
six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen… if I remember correctly 2016
was a very good reading year for me all right so we’ve got Museum of You by Carys Bray this was the this is number … I can’t remember how many… how many I just
counted but it was the last of my favourites, the bottom of my favourites, Museum of you by Carys Bray is a wonderful exploration
of family and it has a beautiful child narrator in it, so if that is your jam do
check that out. Then we’ve got The Butcher’s Hook by Janet Ellis.
I recorded a podcast with Janet which I’ll also link down below, the book is so
creepy and delightful and took unexpected twists and turns Ruby by
Cynthia Bond I felt scarred by it; is a traumatic read,
it is wonderful though I’ll link my review of it in the description box down
below. I don’t think any of these are going to make my favourites but then we
have The Morning they Came for Us Dispatches from Syria, a hard-hitting book
about Syria. Measures of Expatriation by Vahni Capildeo, which was a wonderful poetry
collection looking at language and how you can find home in language. The
Vegetarian by Han Kang, which is my favourite by her but I don’t think I’m
going to include it in my favourites of the last five years… and then Under the Skin
by Michel Faber… again, oh, I am more tempted by this, though. I’m going to come
back to Under the Skin; I know I said I wasn’t going to include more
than one book by the same author unless I felt really compelled to and I feel
like I may feel compelled to with Under the Skin, it really has been a grower for
me… the the longer it goes on the more I think about it; it’s very strange. And
after that we’ve got Another Day in the Death of America by Gary Younge and I am
going to include this on my favourites list and so I’ll talk about that at the
end. Okay after that we’ve got Blue Beyond Blue by Lauren Slater which is a
fantastic short story collection it has fairytales in it, I don’t think I’m going
include it in my all-time favourites but again obviously I recommend it. Why God is a Woman by Nin Andrews, which I am going to include in my all-time favourites,
Autumn by Ali Smith which I am going to include in my all-time favourites, and The
Tidal Zone by Sarah Moss which I am going to include in my all-time
favourites. So, 2016 really was a very good reading year. I’m making a note of Under
the Skin and I’m going to decide later because I’m not sure… so now we’re on to
2017. I didn’t pick many books in 2017 I picked [counts] one, two, three, four, five, six, seven…
seven, okay so I had The Invention of Angela Carter, which is a fantastic
biography of an Angela Carter and it was one of our winners for the Somerset
Maugham Award that year, and it really was absolutely wonderful but I’m not
going to include it though in my all-time favourites. I’m being very very very
picky here. Creating Freedom by Raoul
Martinez was a wonderful political book but I’m not going to include it in my
all-time favourites, Stranger Baby by Emily Berry is a wonderful poetry
collection about grief, Margaret the First by Danielle Dutton is a literary
feast it’s…it really is delightful to read about Margaret Cavendish. I’m not
going to include it in my all-time favourites. Don’t Call Us Dead by Danez
Smith. I am going to include that in my all-time favourites. Then we’ve got Winter
by Ali Smith… I think what I might do because Autumn and Winter are parts of a
series, really, I might just present them both on my all-time favourites list…
I think I’m not actually sure which of the two I did prefer, so we’ll leave it
there. And then also The Heart by Malyis De Kerangal was my favourite book
of 2017… it’s a French novel that’s been translated into English by Sam Taylor
it’s known as Mend the Living in the UK I have a US Edition called The Heart.
It’s about a boy who dies and then his family are told that he was a organ
donor, so it’s about whether or not they’re going to let the doctor take his
heart and give it to another woman and we follow the family and the woman who’s
going to receive the heart. It is beautiful but it has faded over time for
me, so I think I’m actually not going to include it in my favourite books of the
last five years. And then we get onto 2018 which of course I just did and as I
mentioned in this video it is difficult to get distance from things that you
have read very recently but the two I would like to include from 2018 are my
top two books of 2018 which are A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza and
English Animals by Laura Kaye… so I’m going to scribble those down, okay, so
going back to the ones that I was going to go back to I’m not going to include
Under the Skin by Michel Faber in my all time favourite books because I did prefer
The Book of Strange New Things… I’m going to be strict with myself and I don’t think
I’m going to include The Girl who Circumnavigated Fairyland because I
loved the first book, I did, but the series… it did deteriorate over time and
I actually never finished the fourth [I meant fifth] book, so I still love it, I still think
it’s great to go back to for comfort reading but I do agree that the plot
somewhat meanders and it isn’t… it could be tighter,
it could be more compact, but I loved it for everything that it is, so I’m gonna
leave it I’m going to leave it on the shelf for now. Ok, so that leaves us with
eleven books, so I’m going to pull them from my shelves, put them in some order and
come back to you. Ok, so I’ve pulled them off my shelves and I’ve put them
into some sort of order. The top end of this list was really hard to do but I’ve
done it. Ok so in a number eleven we have that play I mentioned called Peter and
Alice by John Logan it’s an imagined meeting between Peter
Llewelyn Davies and Alice Liddell who did actually meet but that meeting and what
they said to each other was never recorded,
so it’s an imagined conversation where they’re talking about what it’s like to
have their childhood written about and read by so many people… and it’s ..it’s
really, as I said, heartbreaking. Next we have the only non-fiction book on this
list which is Another Day in the Death of America by Gary Younge. Gary is a
British journalist who lives in the States and he decided to write about gun
violence, so he picked a random day in modern US history, I can’t remember if he
rolled a dice, I don’t remember what he did…
he picked a random day and decided to write about all the children who had
died that day due to gun violence. It was a day in 2013, 10 children had died, some
of that was due to arguments, some of it down to family feuds that got way out
of hand some of it was down to accidents, some of
it was down to lack of safety… it is a very traumatising read but a very
import, important book …I know that that that word is used a lot but it is a very
very important book and I’ve pressed in sides and many people over the years.
Then we have a poetry collection it’s a prose poetry collection called Why God is a Woman by Nin Andrews. It’s a social satire and all the poems link together.
I think if you’re new to poetry this is a really good one to go for; it’s about
an island where men sprout… sprout birds … no where men sprout wings when they
become teenagers and then they become sexually objectified, so it’s a switch of
gender but it’s not binary, either it’s absolutely fantastic.
Then we’ve got The tidal Zone by Sarah Moss, this is my first Sarah Moss and I’ve since read most of her backlist. I’ve also recorded a podcast with her which I’ll
link down below. This is about a young girl called Miriam who collapses at
school, she stops breathing she’s rushed the hospital. They do revive her but then
her and her family are worried that it’s going to happen again and that because they
don’t know why it happened the first time, they can’t prevent happening again. We
have a second poetry collection this is Don’t Call us Dead by Danez Smith. This
was our winner for best collection when I judge the Forward Prizes last year. I have
recorded a podcast with Danez which I’ll link down below, but this is about
what it’s like being queer, black and HIV+ growing up in America today.
Now we have Grief is the Thing with Feathers; this is part novel, part
poetry, part literary criticism, it is about a family whose mother passes away,
or wife in the case of the father, she leaves behind her husband and two young
sons and then this crow turns up at the door who is Ted Hughes’s crow from his
collection Crow. He’s an embodiment of grief and he yells at them, he’s
horrible to them, he’s really unfair because grief is unfair. It is written
like poetry… it is like nothing really that I have ever read before. Again I’ve
recorded a podcast with Max which I’ll link down below. Then we have two that
I’m counting as one we have Autumn by Ali Smith and Winter by Ali Smith these
are the first two of her seasonal quartet, she’s currently writing about
the political situation in the world but specifically the UK. and it’s just a
coincidence that when she started writing it was the lead-up to Brexit. It
had just been announced that there was going to be a referendum, she hadn’t
planned it that way, so these are really immediate books, where the characters and
the plot of those characters kind of serve as a political commentary, but I
don’t mind that at all I find it absolutely fascinating. There’s so much
to discuss in these books and I’ve made a video for each of these books talking
about them in lots of detail which I’ll link in the description box down below.
Then this is where we get to the tricky bits; we have the top four and I find it
very difficult to pick between these top four, also two of the books are books
that I read last year and as I mentioned you tend to love things more that you
have read and loved recently but I don’t think that’s why they’re so high up on
this list, I’ve tried to be objective about it …as objective as I can be and I
truly think they belong in the top four. I’ve put these four in some vague order
but these are my top four . and probably another day of the week I’d put them in a
different order. So in at number four, “four,” we have English Animals by Laura
Kaye this is about a Slovakian woman called Mirka who moves to the UK and goes to
work in an English manor owned by a married couple called
Sophie and Richard who manipulate her and she in turn learns how to manipulate
them. It is just absolutely delightful and so vivid, then we have The Dumb House
by John Burnside which is also vivid and if you don’t like reading about dead
things, don’t read this… I don’t know what it says about me that this also includes
taxidermy which …reading it did make me squeamish but it it’s…
it so fit in with the plot and this has a lot of death in it, a lot of
violence, so this is not for the faint-hearted at all; this is about a man
called Luke who believes that maybe if he kills things and witnesses death he
will be able to see someone’s soul exiting their body, so as you might
imagine not very nice things happen to the people who surround
him. If that sounds like your cup of tea then you’re dark like me! Then we have this
which is A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza.
I recorded a podcast with Fatima which I’ll link down below, I’ll also link a
long written review that I did of this book. This is about an Indian American
Muslim family, five members of that family looking back on 20 years of their
lives, their relationships with each other and why one member of the family
is estranged from the rest. It is about all of the little moments that come
together to make up one catastrophic thing or something that isn’t that
catastrophic but it just becomes something huge that you can no longer
fix. And then in the number one, rightly or wrongly, I don’t know, as I said these
last four in a very very vague order… we have The Book of Strange New Things
by Michel Faber, now one of the reasons I’ve put this is number one is because
Michel has become one of my favourite authors; I have read all of his books, yes, all
of his books. I have recorded, a not a podcast because
I didn’t have the podcast at the time, but I recorded a video with him where I
spoke about his books, so I’ll link that in the description box down below, that
was back in 2015 and so we both look quite youthful, and this was the book
that first introduced me to his work. There were others like the Crimson Petal
and the White and Under the Skin that could easily have made this list, so for
that reason I’m putting this one at number one, even though I was pretty sure
it should be a number one. that is also why it’s there – apart from my love for this one thing it is a representation of my love for all of his
books. So this is about a man called Peter who was sent to the other side of
the universe to preach the Word of God to an alien life-form and I can’t
remember how much is revealed at the beginning so I don’t want to say why he
is sent but it is a dystopian book, it is about what makes us human, it is about
how damaging we humans can be both to ourselves and to other species, and I was
completely lost in it; I picked it up the day that it came out and I did not put
it down. So, those are all the books that I think
are my favourites since joining booktube five years ago. 11 books. I have
read lots of other amazing books in that time of course so as I said if you’d
like to see my full list of favourites from each year, I’ll link those videos in the
description box. What are your favourite books from the last five years? What do
you think? What’s top of your list? Also I want to know if you had guessed
what was going to be on my list because I think if you’ve been here a
while this list probably wasn’t that surprising to you, but it was fun to go
through everything and just to remember the books that I had loved and
potentially reread some of these in the future, that’s definitely something that
I would like to do. I’m going to leave it there, I hope you guys have a great week,
please subscribe if you’re new and I’ll speak to you very soon. Lots of bookish love. xx

78 thoughts on “Best Books of the Last Five Years

  1. Evening, folks! I decided to look back on my 'Best of…' book lists from the last five years, discuss whether I still consider those books favourites of mine, and then create a 'Best Books of the Past Five Years' list. I hope you like it! Links to everything mentioned can be found in the description box. x

  2. I don't know how many plays you read, but your mention of Peter and Alice has me wondering if there are any other plays you'd recommend? Great video!

  3. this is such a great idea! i hope more people do this 🙂 this video also made me realize how long i've been watching you! and also how long the crimson petal and the white has been sitting on my shelf unread…

  4. Please do a video on tips about how to read more 🙂 Also, great video idea.
    Another video that I'd love to see is what your favourite Classics are. Because sometimes Classics can be difficult to read, I loved your video about your favourite novels, but specifically I want to know which classics, in your opinion are worth Reading or a few books to get started for those of us that haven't read so much. For example Jane Austen, John Steinbeck, where to start? I suppose a video where you say which Classics you think everyone should read before they die! And of course what you thought of them! Thanks for the amazing content 🙂

  5. This list was brilliant … I do remember you talking about most of these . I bought and loved Don't Call Us Dead because if your recommendation. I definitely need to pick up more from this list XX ❤️ Thank you for sharing this with us Xxx

  6. Really loved this video, such a good idea!! Plenty of things to add to the reading list. I've never not loved a book I read due to your recommendation. Love the polar bear 🙂

  7. "If that sounds like your cup of Tea, then you're dark like me" – Ha Ha I think you've found the title for your next book.
    My recent favorites are The wind-up bird chronicle by Haruki Murakami – Flaubert's Parrot by Julian Barnes and Secret History by Donna Tartt.

  8. I am quite surprised by how clearly I remember you mentioning all these books in your videos! Admittedly, I thought your top 3 were going to be Autumn/Winter, The Dumb House and Grief is the Thing with Feathers, but I think I've come close enough, hahaha. This was such a fun video! It has been a great joy to follow your reading for the past years and also to see how it grew to pursue different interests and voices. Also: I'm ready for the Best Books for the Last Five Years' reread book club 🙂

  9. Such a great idea for a video and really enjoyed your retrospective analysis! I too enjoyed Faber’s Book of Strange New Things. As far as I remember, the central character is sent to the planet because the “aliens” request it, as part of the deal with the corporation that has set up a base there — they wish to learn about the book of strange new things aka the Bible.

  10. Oh gosh I have been watching this channel a long time. I remember you talk about all of these. I recently starting a reading club and the first play we read was Peter and Alice each member just read a page and pasted it on to the next member, and I had to read the last page and being so shaken I couldn't do it the first time around. I thought The Dumb House would have been your number one.

  11. When Jen brings up A Book of Strange New Things again and you know you haven't read it, and you wonder if you should just excuse yourself until you've finished that book. ha. Read (and loved) The Dumb House, though! I also enjoyed The Butcher's Hook. I remember feeling let down by the ending, but the character and the story has really stuck with me. I get when you mean; I read a lot of books that deal with dark things — murder, taxidermy (less the act itself, and more the death of animals), all of the bits of the Dumb House — and I absolutely LOVE them. I get uncomfortable, but in a literary work, it just fits for me!

    I also just finished Beyond the Pale and I quite enjoyed it! I was shocked to find out that it was so close to home: I live in Nova Scotia, which is just a hop and a skip from Newfoundland.

    Thanks for the lovely video 🙂 Great concept!

  12. Love this list. Great video concept. Alright, top ten of the last 5ish years in a vague order from least to most: Ayiti, Captain Marvel vol 1: In Pursuit of Flight, The Night Circus, Grief is the Thing with Feathers, Kipochicân (poetry), Fun Home, Dreadnought by April Daniels, Exit West, Lord of the Butterflies (poetry), and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.

  13. I think is a brilliant look back at how the stories we read linger over time. I was surprised not to see Arcadia by Iain Pears. I don’t remember which year it was but I could have sworn it was a favorite at some point. Or maybe it was just one you really liked. Lol. I wasn’t surprised to see the Tidal Zone or The Dumb House stay on! I was expecting The Crimson Petal and the White, but I had forgotten about The Book of Strange New Things. I also knew there would be Ali Smith, but I didn’t know if you would pick Autumn (which I haven’t read yet) or Winter (which I have read and really enjoyed). 😊😊

  14. I have a list called desert island books on Goodreads. I hate to call them my favourites as the list changes periodically. They are books that might only have gotten 4 stars but have stuck with me and I’d want them on a desert island to reread. I try to keep this list to 20 books. I have s couple on there that I read many years ago but still remember them and think of them. I like that you gave reasons for taking books off your favourite list. Books may be impacting when we read them but months later fall by the wayside.

  15. This is such a great concept Jen! I always enjoy watching favorites' videos, yours especially. This one made me want to pick up The Book of Strange New Things immediately. My favorite book in the past couple of years is the Remains of the Day and my recent favorite is My Year of Rest and Relaxation. 🙂

  16. What a brilliant video. I'm definitely going to have to do this and see how time has changed my view of all the books I've read.

  17. English Animals and The Dumb House instantly popped in my mind when I saw the title, mostly because I plan on reading them in the future after watching you recommend them.

  18. Hello Jen, thank you for the recommendations! I was especially interested by the English Animals, as the main character is from Slovakia and I come from the Czech Republic and we had been one country in the past. And, not wanting to be picky but not wanting you to think of it incorrectly, her name should be read with the R pronounced, in a rather more Scottish way, if you fancy 🙂

  19. So excited to see this video! Coincidentally I’m currently reading The Book of Strange New Things, and I’m loving it so far.

  20. I read my first Michel Faber ('Under the skin') last year and it was my best of the year, so this year I just have to read the 'Book…'. Also last year I read my first Ali Smith, but this encounter was not as satisfactory as with Faber. Maybe that's due to the choice of book – I read 'The Accidental', I'll give her a go with the quartet 🙂
    As for the 'Girl who circumnavigated…' , I liked it, but never felt compelled to continue the series. I've recently fallen in love with the Flavia de Luce series, it's absolutely brilliant and I recommend it to everyone!
    Thank you for this video, watching it was a pleasure!

  21. This was so cool🤓 A zombie Romp! 🤣 gosh you had to be ruthless with these but it was really interesting to hear you go through them all. My take aways from this to go get are Stone Gods ( loved OATOF, and always up for dystopian stuff). The dumb house (the title alone😂 but I’ve not actually read this yet and I am drawn to the dark😱), don’t call us dead- I’m still scared by poetry but feel like I should give it a go. Grief is a thing with feathers- we have the Ted Hughes Festival in Mexborough and this sound like and interesting contemporary twist
    English Animals which I recently put on my TBR because I want to know about the hidden queer rep you mentioned😄 I recently read the left hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin which sounds like you’d enjoy if you’ve not read. Similar themes to you Faber but it has an ambigendered race thrown into the mix 😅
    My book of last year was Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann. It’s a YA romance focusing on a Asexual lead character but it just made me feel warm and gooey inside ☺️

  22. I loved your description of Murukami – spaghetti, Jazz, women with no personalities, poor queer representation and talking cats 😂 so very true. Loved this!! Thanks lovely 💚

  23. That's so weird! Someone just asked me on my Books that made me 2018 vid if my favourite end of year books still held up today, and I have honestly never thought about it before. I had a look over mine, but thankfully mine all matched up still to this day. There are some classics, however, that I see I marked highly on my goodreads and I change the rating madly when I see my original rating (because what was I thinking?!)

  24. I love your videos!, I have been following you for years and I had the pleasure to enjoy many of your recommendations.
    Thank you for sharing content with such passion and joy!
    Im very excited to select my next reading from your list of favorites!.. Probably is going to be Michel Faber's: The book of strange new things.
    Sorry for my English, I am still learning, a big hug from Argentina!

    P.S. Love your necklace!

  25. I've been putting off The Book Of Strange New things for the longest time because I really want to love it and I think it's adding too much pressure to commit to! It's something I have to get to this year though!
    English Animals is currently in the post on the way to me now and I'm so excited to start reading it, especially after seeing it made your favorites of all time list!

  26. I got Don't Call us Dead for my sister this Christmas based on your positive review of it, and she loved it! I feel like I'd love Peter and Alice, since the whole child-story thing is so interesting to me, like with Christopher Milne as well. Loved The Dumb House!

  27. Great video, lots of books to check out. What did you think of The Handmaiden? You mentioned on Instagram that you'd be watching it.

  28. this is such a nostalgia trip for me! guess I've been watching for longer than I thought. 🙂 I've read so many of these books on your recommendation and loved them, so thank you. 🙂

  29. Cool video. It really makes one ponder the "reviews" we all give our books (or movies or games or what have you.)
    Like the review is more like a reaction. But then you come back to something and you've either changed or grown apart from it. Or it ages like fine wine and you enjoy it more.
    Everything we do has to be immediate. So it's important to pause every once in a while and reflect to see how something actually affected you.
    Also I really like your hair.

  30. "If that sounds like your cup of tea, then you're dark like me". That really cracked me up. This was such an interesting topic to watch and I'm going to shamelessly copy it with my own top books from the past years. Maybe even reread a couple of past favorites to see if they've stood the test of time. Off topic: that sweater is great on you and kudos for the matching lipstick! 🙂

  31. I love this video! I remember you raving about basically all of these books and so many of them are still on my wish list. What a trip down memory lane 🙂

    As short stories are my favourite genre, I'd love to hear some of your top short story picks. Not collections, but individual short stories that have stayed with you. That would be so fun if that's a video you'd want to make at some point!

    Also your jumper is a lovely colour!

  32. This just made me realise how many of my favourite books from the last few years were ones I heard about on your channel! So thanks 🙂

  33. Well I LOVED this. And I could see the agony of choice you had with the Faber books. I can’t wait to do this myself next year, I bet some of the first few years of books I picked I have forgotten big time xx

  34. I finally got A Place for Us! Looking forward to reading my first Michel Faber this year as well. Happy five years of fabulous books!

  35. This video made me realise just how long I've been watching your channel for!
    I am currently reading Sum on your reccommendation from 2015! I also STILL have The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland on my wishlist. Great video!

  36. I will echo what others have said: I really enjoyed this video — what a great idea! I have A Place For Us and look forward to reading soon. I bought English Animals because of your recommendation, which I look forward to reading very soon too! 👍 x

  37. Hello Jen! My friend just finished the Book of Strange New Things, a book that I recommended to her, and we were as touched by the book as you seem to have been. I actually came across your channel looking for contact information for Michel Faber and I was wondering if you had an email or P.O. box that we could use to give our thanks for his work (as I see you have interviewed him and therefore, presumably, have contact information for him). I don't know if there is a particular reason why his contact information is so difficult to find, and I completely understand if you or he does not feel comfortable sharing that information, but if you DO have an email you could share that would be greatly appreciated!

    (P.S. You've also gained yourself a subscriber! In looking through your channel it seems like content I'd really be interested in!)

  38. I really enjoyed seeing this and I did expect Ali Smith and Michel Faber to feature. I have had a look over my books since I started Goodreads in 2013 and am really surprised that so few are really memorable now, despite 4 and 5 star ratings. Thank you for a really interesting look at your reading tastes!

  39. I read The Book of Strange New Things some time ago after hearing you talk about it. I love the title, the premise of the novel and I can say that overall I enjoyed it but thought the ending was incredibly weak and disappointing… I loved the video and I've just extended my TBR for 2019 ;-))) Thanks Jen!!

  40. Love it <3 It's really interesting to see how quickly opinions of 'favourites' can change. I've just had a go at this myself and there are so many books on my top ten lists that I can barely remember now!

  41. What a fascinating process! I definitely need to do this. Looking back at my ‘all time favourites’ shelf on Goodreads I can see that many haven’t stuck with me as much as titles from each year’s favourites. Time for a reshuffle I think. Wonderful video Jen xxx

  42. Did you mention Arcadia on this list? I thought that would be in your favourites of all time. Did I blink and miss it?

  43. Very interesting video. Thanks!
    My favorite books from the last four years are:
    1. The series of novels A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin.
    2. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving.
    3. Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury.
    4. A Room for Sorrow (Кімната для печалі) by Andriy Lyubka.
    5. The series of novels Cemetery of Forgotten Books by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.
    6. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson.
    7. Flush by Virginia Woolf.
    8. The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett.
    9. Me, Pobeda and Berlin (Я, "Побєда" і Берлін) by Kuzma Skryabin.
    10. Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks.

  44. I loved this video! It was fascinating to see how your thoughts have changed over time and some books have waxed and others have waned. In terms of books that I think of regularly as my ‘favourites’ the top 5 of all time would probably be Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Gregory, The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry, The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber and The Accidental by Ali Smith. Which is interesting because I only read one of those in the last five years…

  45. Great video! I don't think the last five years have been great for me for reading. Just dealing with too much. I'm trying to get back into reading this year and make it more of a priority. I miss it a lot. I'm currently reading My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh. I added several books from this video to my TBR list. Thanks for sharing!

  46. Jen – I’m curious to know what ‘moments’ you would most love to see turned into prints or illustrations? I love your posts & the little details & hidden roots in fairytales etc are so inspiring that I’ve been drawing away while I watch but then I thought it might be nice to ask you to pick a few of your favourite paragraphs or scenes & see if I can ‘do them justice’? Please feel free to send anything you’d love to see to me & I’ll have a go! 💕✍🏻 if you want to see bits of my work I’m @theglasscabinet on insta xx

  47. This was fascinating. I'm with you about books that seemed great, but then receded rather dramatically. I've read five books on your list, and four are really great : Another Day in the Death of America, Don't Call Us Dead, Autumn/Winter, but I have to say that I just couldn't get into The Book of Strange New Things and rate the other Michel Faber books as much better. A matter of taste.
    Favourite books are so difficult, so I'll just mention one that had, and continues to have a big impact, that is Confessions, by Jaume Cabre, translated from the Catalan. It is challenging to read but rewards many times over. It takes an overview of 20th history through the eyes of a dying man, in a unique and unexpected way. I absolutely love it, but it might be a marmite book.

  48. i think i pretty much always know how i'll feel about a book in future, genre, fact, popular etc almost never register with me in the way 'great literary fiction' does, and i enjoy love and read all, i don't look down on 'popular', but i never pretend it means as much to me. It's like comparing orgasmic sex with passionate love affairs, you want different things from different books. And i'm a complete slut, i'm always off to the library and the shop.
    nb i totally agree with you about the book of new strange things, and i think crimson petal is dreadful in every way, except for chapter 1 and caroline. BNST is 1000% underrated

  49. The First Books I'm Reading in 2019
    "The Saxon Shore" by Jack Whyte
    "The Crimson Petal and the White" by Michel Faber<<<<< reading it now! So good!
    "Boudica: Dreaming the Eagle" by Manda Scott
    "Rules of Civility" by Amor Towles
    "The Last Dragonlord" by Joanne Bertin
    "The Lake of Dead Languages" by Carol Goodman
    "A Discovery of Witches" by Deborah Harkness
    "Sadie" by Courtney Summers
    "Bonfire" by Krysten Ritter
    "The Woman in the Window" by A.J. Finn

  50. The more I listen to Ms. Campbell the more I feel I understand what she likes. As much as I like her, and I sincerely do, her 'trajectory' and mine clearly diverge — literarily, morally, and politically. It is a credit to her, however, that I still enjoy her enthusiasm and her videos.

  51. If you loved dumb house, I would highly recommend The angel maker by Stefan Brijs. It reminds me a lot of dumb house but even darker…

  52. I can't get it down to 10, but my favourite reads over the last 5 years have been:
    Barnaby Rudge
    A Stranger in Olondria
    The Lost Words
    Vasilisa the Wise & other tales of brave young women
    Orphans of the Carnival
    Uprooted
    The Silver Metal Lover
    Blackthorn & Grim trilogy
    The Watchmaker of Filigree St/The Bedlam Stacks
    The Ghost Bride
    The Wild Girl/Bitter Greens
    The Turnip Princess & other newly discovered fairy tales
    Orlando
    The Miniaturist
    Fitz & the Fool trilogy
    The Ocean at the End of the Lane
    The Lies of Locke Lamora series

  53. My favorite book of the last 5 year is An Untamed State by Roxane Gay….talk about dark. I read The Book of Strange New Things but I found it too similar to The Sparrow. Two I would recommend to you for their sheer poetry are Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson and Circe by Madeline Miller.

  54. I bloody loved this! Such a great idea 🤓 it was so interesting to hear your thought process when deciding, particularly between books of the moment and those that last. Has this made you want to go back and read them all? Xxx

  55. You are exactly what I needed on BookTube! So glad I discovered your channel, these are amazing recommendations!

  56. Jen , Thankyou so much… I now want all of your favorites! Especially A place for us, sounds great!

  57. I think my favourite books are –
    'Exploring The Earth and Moon' by Patrick Moore.
    'Consciousness Matters' by Oliver Leech.
    'William McGonagall, Complete Works'.
    'Mr Men Books' by Roger Hargreaves.
    'The Sea to the West' by Norman Nicholson.
    But I am a poor reader.

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