OK, runners up first. Naomi Booth’s Sealed more than deserved its place on the Not the Booker shortlist and has an ending that will stay with me for at least an ever or two. Quesadillas by Juan Pablo Villalobos was funny and smart and angry in all the right ways. Lacey Noonan’s two novellas, I Don’t Care If My Best Friend’s Mom is a Sasquatch, She’s Hot and I’m Taking a Shower With Her and I don’t Care if My Sasquatch Lover Says the World is Exploding, She’s Hot But I Play Bass and There’s Nothing Hotter Right Now Than Rap-Rock, are brilliant on so many more levels than Bigfoot erotica has any right being. I’m not even going to begin telling you what happens in them, because spoilers, but I will say three things. One, maybe don’t read them on public transport because they do get a bit racy. Two, I would not be in the least surprised in Lacey Noonan turned out to be a pseudonym of a prize-winning writer (or if that isn’t the case, Lacey Noonan wrote a book with less fucking in it and she won a major prize). Because Lacey Noonan can write. Three, WHEN DO WE GET THE THIRD BOOK!? I need to know what happens next.
My favourite book I read last year (that wasn’t published last year) was Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple, which didn’t seem to get as much love as its predecessor, Where’d You Go, Bernadette, but should have because it is a bloody masterpiece. The set-up is relatively simple – a bad day gets progressively worse – but the execution is a masterclass in comic timing. It’s so well constructed. Each new terrible thing that happens to Eleanor is unexpected and yet, in hindsight, inevitable. I totally loved it. You might too. Buy it and read it why don’t you? Treat yourself.