Best Books of 2012: 10 of 12

This was a book which, curiously, I was very glad to read but gladder still to have read after I wrote my own novel Rembrandt Sings which is about art forgery and a few other things besides. If I had read the book first I would have been influenced by it, which is fine in a way, but the biggest tribute my own book has been paid is by one of the main characters in book ten who said my novel gave “a remarkable insight into the work of an art forger”. It seems I was getting it right as Provenance confirms. Read more ...

Best Books of 2012: 9 of 12

In my 2012 list of best reads of the year, I’ve reached number 9, which is Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel. For Mantel fans, who are many, this was eagerly awaited and, for those who enjoyed Wolf Hall, it was the sort of sequel we had all hoped for. Justifiably, it won its author a second Booker Prize and set readers wondering not only when the promised third volume will appear but whether Mantel might even win again. (My bookmaker is not taking bets.) You can find extended reviews elsewhere so I am concentrating on my views. Read more ...

Best Books of 2012: 7 of 12

In alphabetical order of authors, I am posting the details every day, over twelve days, of the top 12 out of last year’s reading. Today we have reached #7 and it is a big book, so much so that in a short blog there is no point in trying to summarise the story.. As ever, last year was one of delightful discoveries and occasional disappointments. My reading included a couple of books from the dim and distant past as well as several hot off the press. Please comment and offer your own best reads of the year. Read more ...