New books are a joy. From the silken touch of a perfect cover and the scent of pristine pages to the intrigue of a blurb, the experience of handling a new book can’t be bettered. Books are my drug of choice: I am an addict.

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I don’t read new books exclusively. I can’t afford to and in any case, I derive pleasure from rereading books from my collection. (And secondhand books shops are my version of Aladdin’s cave.) There is, however, nothing as irresistible as the lush cover of a brand new book.

This year’s crop includes some pre-publication proof copies. I remain grateful to the publishers/publicists who gifted them.

In first name alphabetical order these then are the books that most captivated me this year.

The Bird Tribunal – Agnes Ravatn (Orenda Books)

The Darkest Secret – Alex Marwood (Sphere)

 In Her Wake – Amanda Jennings (Orenda Books)

The Little Red Chairs – Edna O’Brien (Faber & Faber)

 Different Class – Joanne Harris (Doubleday)

 The White Camellia – Juliet Greenwood (Honno Press)

 Gardening with Deer – Kathy Miles (Cinnamon Press)

 The Mountain In My Shoe – Louise Beech (Orenda Books)

 This Must Be The Place – Maggie O’Farrell (Tinder Press)

  Song of the Sea Maid – Rebecca Mascull (Hodder & Stoughton)

  Tastes Like Fear – Sarah Hilary (Headline)

  Where My Heart Used to Beat – Sebastian Faulks (Vintage)

  The Unravelling – Thorne Moore (Honno Press)

Other new books I read in 2016 include a couple more brilliant proofs: See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt (Tinder Press) and Su Bristow’s mesmerising Sealskin (Orenda Books), both due for release in 2017.

Thank you, dear authors for writing such an eclectic collection of juicy books. And equally, thank you publishers; not least the smaller presses who continue to produce stunning books in a hugely competitive market.

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