Monday, 18 December 2017

Minerva's top picks for 2017

In what may become a new tradition, Minerva, in its 30th year, decided to try something different at the end of the year - ask each member to vote on her top three picks of the books we read as a group this year. Would there be definite winners we wondered? Well yes, there are, so read on...

All eleven of our currently active members voted, resulting in 32 votes cast. (One person nominated only 2). Here are the results:

1. Pachinko, by Min Jin Lee (our review) (7 votes)
2. The museum of modern love, by Heather Rose (our review) (6 votes)
3. Black rock white city, by AS Patrić (our review) (5 votes)

Highly commended were Nutshell, by Ian McEwan (our review) (3 votes), and Our souls at night, by Kent Haruf (our review) (3 votes).

Of course, this is not a scientific survey. Votes were all given equal weight, even where people indicated an order of preference, and not everyone read every book, which means different people voted from different "pools". If we'd all read every book Pachinko may have had even more votes!! (Seriously, because my suspicion is that every one, or almost everyone, who read it voted for it.)

Some observations on our votes:

Kate voted for the three books which ended up being our winners, while several of us voted for two of the top three, suggesting a high level of accord in our reading likes?

A few, including yours truly, tried to sneak in some extra "votes" but they were rejected by yours truly! The extra "votes" proposed were for Stan Grant's Talking to my country, Kent Haruf's Our souls at night, Kim Mahood's Position doubtful and AS Patrić's Black rock white city.

A few commented that there wasn't one book in our schedule that they didn't enjoy! Now, that's an achievement!

Some comments on our top five choices:

"the history of Korea and Japan and their people was so interesting and so unknown to me. The story was told so very well without pathos but with sympathy for the victims. Excellent read." (Sylvia)
"fascinating cultural stuff" (Celeste)
"I really enjoyed learning about the Korean/Japanese history" (Anne)
"for the insight into South Korea and Japanese history" (Kate)
"for the background into the Korean experience in Japan, so engagingly written" (Sue T)

"specially coupled with the movie which was rivetting" (Celeste)
"it was almost perfect. It satisfied on so many levels" (Deb) 
"A revealing look at Abramovic the artist and the relationship with her audience" (Kate)
"for so thoughtfully exploring the meaning of art, love and home" (Sue T)

"I wasn't really expecting to enjoy it but found I was totally absorbed very quickly" (Anne)
"a fabulous and quirky story related to the migrant experience" (Kate)
"I started with low expectations and his beautiful writing won me over" (Deb)

"beautiful writing and a very innovative theme, makes me look at foetuses in a different way" (Denise)
"clever, quirky and a lot of fun" (Sue B)

"a real gem" (Celeste)
"very moved" (Janet)
"deceptively simple with big themes and big heart" (Deb)

Let us know what you think, in the comments!