1. Murasaki Shikibu - The Tale of Genji 9/10. Long but worth it; I would have given it 10 apart from the ropey beginning and some off chapters in the middle.
2. J W von Goethe - The Sorrows of Young Werther 8/10. Been meaning to read this one for a while. Reminded me a lot of the style of Kafka/Hamsun. A sad but interesting read.
3. Joyce Carol Oates - Black Water 9/10. Joyce Carol Oates was one of the female writers I didn't get around to last year. Black Water is a poetic interpretation of the events leading to the death of Mary Jo Kopechne in the car accident with Teddy Kennedy, which I didn't know anything about. Names changed to protect the innocent, of course. A really beautiful, sad book. I loved it, and am keen to read more by Oates as a result.
4. Gunnar Gunnarson - The Good Shepherd 7/10. An odd, short little book about an Icelandic man who goes looking for lost sheep in a bad winter storm. Both his life and faith are challenged. I suspect there as a lot I missed about this one, so maybe a re-read would be in order at some point.
5. Salman Rushdie - Midnight's Children. Hmm, really torn on this one. It's a well written book, funny, interesting story, clearly Rushdie is an intelligent and creative writer but, well, really I found this one a chore. On technical skill I'd give it an 8/10 but on enjoyment/engagement I'd give it a 4/10. I just felt excluded, in every way, from the story. Glad to have finished it, to be honest.
6. Susan Hill - The Woman in Black - A real disappointment this one. Not scary, a bit boring. Nicely written, though. 6/10
7. Graham Greene - The End of the Affair - Really good book. Short and tightly written, it really packs a punch. 8/10
8. Koushun Takami - Battle Royale - gruesome J-pop kid killing spree. Interesting concept, clunky translation. 6/10
9. Anita Brookner - Hotel du Lac - absolutely perfect little book. Well written, surprisingly deep and very enjoyable 9/10
10. The City & The City by China Mieville - brilliantly odd little thriller. Loved it. 9/10.
11. The Angel's Game - Carlos Ruiz Zafón - really enjoyed this and interested to hear that it's not considered his best work (I believe that's The Shadow of the Wind). Beautifully written gothic / supernaturalish / bookish thriller. A bit saggy in the middle, but hard to put down all the same. 9/10.
12. The Prophet - Kahlil Gibran - a beautiful inspiring book. 10/10.
13. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov - oh, beautifully written conflicting little book. 9/10
14. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins - research, research. Not bad, when you get past the stolen concept (Theseus & the minotaur & Battle Royale) and bearing in mind it's a YA book. Not inclined to read any more though. 6/10.