No more book purchases then. Which is perhaps a good thing, given that there is a bookcase in the spare room stuffed with tomes waiting to be read. The epic hardback about the history of Jerusalem, some Stephen King pot-boiler a paperback about countryside walks in Palestine - some are new editions, others have mouldered on the shelves for years. Absolutely no reason to go out an buy more then.
If you don't want to wallow in sentiment, then a good alternative is David Park's The Light of Amsterdam. This is a tidy little tale of various people heading to the Dutch capital in December, all with their own hopes for Christmas but also with their own worries.
Looking back over the year's reads and I see a fairly mixed bunch. Three of my highlights feature authors whose use of language was at best, sparing. Denis Johnson's Train Dreams is the beautifully written story of a labourer living in the unforgiving American west, in the early twentieth century. Also proving that less-is-more was The Bookshop, a taut tale of small town rivalries in Suffolk, penned by Penelope Fitzgerald. Brevity of language was also what endeared Tobias Wolff's Old School to me. Again, we are presented with a story of competition but perhaps the outcome is a little more positive.
Otherwise, there have been one or two gems. In no particular order, here are ten that I have enjoyed in 2014:
Alan Johnson - This Boy
Peter Robinson - Abbatoir Blues
Kevin Maher - The Fields
J.L. Carr - A Month in the Country
A.M. Homes - May We Be Forgiven
David Sedaris - Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls
Armistead Maupin - The Days of Anna Madrigal
Bret Easton Ellis - American Psycho
Karl Taro Greenfeld - Triburbia
Just a selection then, but a few varied titles that have accompanied me on commutes into the City, holidays, train journeys and weekends on the sofa. Whether I attack the Mighty Unread in that bookcase next year remains to be seen.