This post comes with Added Extra Books, because in addition to telling you what my favourite new-to-me books were, I’ll also be recapping some of my favourite rereads of the year. A lot of my reading this year has been the revisiting of old favourites, and I would be remiss if I didn’t reflect that in my reading wrap-up post. To start, though, a list of favourite books (honestly, is there anything nicer?). Interestingly, 3 out of 5 are non-fiction. Also, I’ve already managed to review three of them and I’ve got a review for a fourth in the works. I don’t think I’ve ever managed that before. Very smug.

I reviewed this back in August, having read it just as I started my first Actual Professional Grown-up Academic Job. It was perfect timing. I’ve already lent it to a friend and I’m sure I will be passing it on to a few others as well. I am old now (er, 27), and all my friends are married with small adorable babies. I’m very happy to be single, but starting to feel left out and lonely now my friends don’t want to hang out with me. This book acted as balm, as well as giving me useful stats to repeat to anyone trying to pity me.

  • How Not to Be a Boy by Robert Webb

This is the review that I’ve currently got in the works, having only just finished the book. I already love a lot of what Robert Webb does (not Peep Show, which relies much too heavily on social faux pas for this faux-pas-prone person to enjoy it, but That Mitchell and Webb Look and Ambassadors). This memoir, in which he looks at the lies he was told about being a man when he was growing up and the way he unintentionally reflected them as a new father, is devastating and wonderful.

This book really broke me, but in the best possible way. I have recommended it to so many people already. It explores the social care system-flawed and broken and by far better than not having it-from the perspective of a seven-year-old mixed race boy, Leon, who is being bounced around the system. It really got inside my heart. Really an incredible book.

I reviewed this nonfiction book about blood transfusions relatively recently, so I won’t dwell on it too much. Medical history continues to fascinate me-I have enjoyed disgusting my friends with blood transfusion facts at Christmas parties-and this was told in a truly compelling way.

  • Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel

This book really lives up to the hype. A few years ago (2014?) it was all over the place, and I didn’t read it because I didn’t think it could possibly be as good as all that. Well, it is. Station Eleven is set during and after a plague apocalypse (you know how I love a plague apocalypse), but unlike most post apocalyptic fiction I’ve read, it is gentle and warm and kind. It focuses not on the characters grappling for survival-though there is some of that-but for reasons beyond survival, for joy and beauty even in the world that they find themselves in. One of the central tenets of the book is survival is insufficient, a quote from Star Trek Voyager. For a long time after I closed the book, I was thinking about what is precious enough to me that I would fight to regain it after the apocalypse. I love books that continue to sit with me for months.

In terms of rereads, you all know how I feel about Lord of the Rings, which I reread earlier this year. I also revisited The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4, which was a delight. I don’t think I’d reread it since I was about 13 myself, and I was relieved and delighted to discover how well it holds up. Lastly, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Code Name Verity, which I listened to a couple of months ago. It translates very well to audiobook, and I might even suggest that people listen to it rather than reading it–though there are a few things you might miss out if you did that. It would be even better as a film (not something I say too often!).

In short, I have had a great year’s reading-much better than 2016! What books have you most enjoyed this year?