If my calculations are correct, I have recorded a staggering 43 audiobooks this year. That’s a LOT of talking. I started the year by completing two series: Lindsay Davies’ early Roman tales were great fun and appropriately my final book in the series was TIME TO DEPART. I also competed Peter Ransley’s Cromwell series (I recorded them out of sequence I think so that the first in the series was the last I recorded, PLAGUE CHILD). This year I recorded a batch of books from the 30s, the ‘golden age of crime’ which were successfully reissued by the British Library. Some of these writer were hugely successful (TS Eliot was a fan) but were largely forgotten until this series came out. Wonderful names some of them had too (Freeman Wills Crofts and Mavis Doriel Hay). I recorded two by the former (ANTIDOTE TO MURDER and THE HOG’S BACK MYSTERY) and one by the latter (THE SANTA KLAUS (sic) MURDER, as well as two remarkably detailed books by John Bude. For those who like whodunnits, these stories are incredibly complex but the solutions are forensically worked out.
I certainly recorded a wide variety of books in 2015 ranging from Andrew Roberts’ shattering and moving account of the first day of the Somme ELERGY to a daft and delightful tale in Michael Bond’s Pamplemousse series.
But, of all the books I recorded this year, here are my top 5.
5 THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES by Eduardo Sacheri (a dark and brooding novel of a policeman’s quest for justice set in Argentina)
4 THE MOTH SNOWSTORM by Michael McCarthy (a beautifully written homage to the natural world but an angry and reasoned essay on how we are destroying it)
3 TIGHTROPE by Simon Mawer (I loved this intriguing novel set in the world of espionage during the Second World War. Who do you trust?!)
2 THE NEW WOMAN by Charity Norman (I learned a lot from Charity Norman’s book about a transgender man and how he copes with his family when finally he comes out’ to them. It’s beautifully written and – in places – unbearably moving).
1 NINETEEN EIGHTY FOUR by George Orwell. (This would top the list of any year. One of the greatest novels even written in English. A privilege and a joy to record this classic novel)
My diary is filling up with some interesting books for 2016. Watch this space. Good listening!!!