2017 Reading Round-Up Part Two

I know we're now very much into 2018, but I thought I would put together the rest of my reading list from 2017. If you're interested in seeing the first part from last year you can see that here. I didn't do quite so well for the second half of the year with my reading, and only just about managed to make up my final count number by reading 3 books in very quick succession in the Christmas period. I love that in-between time of the festive season, where you can spend your days indulgently reading and snacking on leftovers.  

Wide Sargasso Sea, Jean Rhys

Plot:: This book tells the story of Antoinette Mason, Mr Rochester's first wife in Jane Eyre before she becomes the woman in the attic.
I read this one years ago but didn't remember much about it and decided to refresh my memory when I re-discovered it on my bookshelf. I enjoyed it and it gave me a lot to think about, I wish I had then read Jane Eyre soon after it to see how it might have impacted my reading of that. 

Conclave, Robert Harris

Plot:: In this story the Pope has died resulting in a conclave of cardinals who have to choose the next pope, resulting in drama and intrigue.  
Eh, this was ok. I normally really enjoy Robert Harris novels but this one was a little flat for me, but then that could be more to do with the subject matter. 

In Cold Blood, Truman Capote

Plot:: This non-fiction novel is an account of the murders of the Clutter family in 1959 in Kansas.
This was such a gripping read, I'm not sure how it's taken me so long to have read anything by Capote but now I want to read all his other books. 

Far From the Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy

Plot:: Bathsheba Everdene inherits a farm and is courted by three very different men.
Thomas Hardy is always a good read for me, and I loved re-reading this one, even if some of the characters do make me a bit mad. 

Mayor of Casterbridge, Thomas Hardy

Plot:: A man sells his wife and deals with the repercussions when she reappears in his life many years later. 
This was another re-read, and another one where the male characters romantic motivations are slightly irritating, but still enjoyable.

Outlander, Diana Gabaldon

Plot:: Second World War nurse, Claire, goes back in time to the 18th century where she encounters romance and adventure. 
After re-watching the first series of Outlander I decided to give the book a go. I'm glad I gave it a go as it was a good fun read and gave me a better understanding of some of Claire's motivations.  

A is for Arsenic: The Poisons of Agatha Christie, Kathryn Harkup

Plot:: Agatha Christie uses poison frequently to kill off her characters, in this book each poison is explored- its history, symptoms and real life cases where it's been used.
This was such an interesting and informative read and I just want to read all of the Agatha Christie novels now. Only one chapter gave a spoiler, which is clearly marked, so you can read this without having read anything by Christie (like I did). This is such an engaging book, and makes the science behind the poisons accessible. 

Dandy Silver and an Unsuitable Day for a Murder, Catriona McPherson

Plot:: Dandy Gilver is summoned to investigate a missing girl and instead finds a murder and families with secrets to hide.
After A is for Arsenic I really fancied reading a detective book and found this on my bookshelf which was a loan from mum. I enjoyed it but it wasn't quite as juicy on the detective front as I was hoping for.

Me and You, NiccolΓ² Ammaniti

Plot:: Misfit, Lorenzo Cuni, spends the week hiding in the basement, after lying to his parents that he was going on ski week, when his half-sister turns up. 
This was a quick read after Christmas, and although it's only short it packs a bit of a punch. I really enjoyed it and whizzed through it in barely a day.

The Master of Bruges, Terence Morgan

Plot:: This follows the life of Master painter Hans Memling in 15th century Bruges before he gets plunged into the War of the Roses.
I enjoyed this one, (it's a nice easy and engaging enough to keep you turning the pages) that was until the last chapter changed a fairly big part of the story line. 

Youth, J. M. Coetzee

Plot:: A young man's attempts to experience life to its fullest, whilst battling the reality of adulthood and his desire to be an artist. He leaves South Africa for London and a new life but struggles to shed his former self.
This was a really engaging read and much more absorbing than I thought it would be. It did give me some Catcher in the Rye vibes from the main character though. the few times I have read a Coetzee novel I always anticipate it to be difficult reading, but instead the prose seems to swallow you up and hold on to you.

Was there anything you really enjoyed reading last year? Any suggestions of books I should read? Let me know in the comments!