My Favourite Reads of 2013


I welcome the new year yet look back on the past year with some sentimentality.

It's been a great reading year, as I say in my previous post. I've read a fantastic lot of books ... thanks to fellow book lovers/bloggers for their reviews and recommendations, to publishers and authors who pitch their books to me ... and to serendipity (because really, sometimes, I just have a gut feel about certain books)!

In no particular order, here are some of the books I enjoyed in 2013.

(I've reviewed majority of them, but there may be that odd one that I haven't so don't be too surprised if the link leads to a Friday 56 post!)

Oh, and let me know if you've read any of them, as I'd love to compare notes :)

Fiction

   
  • Some Else's Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson (romance): An atypical romance for those who gag (me) at typical romances.
  • Countdown City (The Last Policeman II) by Ben H. Winters (sc-fi): 74 days left for the asteroid to hit the earth, and Hank is still being the policeman! The anticipated second book in the trilogy, it exceeded my expectations! 
  • The Death of Bees by Lisa O-Donnell (dark comedy): Weirded me out that I liked it so much. 
  • Ru by Kim Thuy (essays based on true events of a Vietnamese immigrant to Canada): Stark, stripped, unsentimental writing. An immigrant story that hits really hard.
   
  • The Round House by Louise Erdrich (Native American lit): Hard-hitting. This book's story about the desecration of what is considered sacred in life and in the Native American culture is such a powerful read.
  • An Abundance of Katherines by John Green (young adult): Intensely smart, witty, and funny young adult lit.
  • The Tragedy of Fidel Castro by Joao Cerqueira (satire, alternate reality): Definitely out of my comfort zone, but so funny it felt good. A satire of the Cuban missile crisis.
  • Persephone's Torch: A Novel in Three Acts by freder (historical fiction): An homage to theatre and theatre professionals, this book is deliciously atmospheric. 
   
  • This is Paradise: Stories by Kristiana Kahakuwila (short stories): I had an affinity to the cultural context of these short stories about the gritty side of Hawaii. Loved every single story! A debut novel.
  • A Vision of Angels by Timothy Jay Smith (crime/suspense): An intense read, this humanizes and highlights the futility of war as depicted in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The author was a journalist who covered this area and he really breathes life into his characters. 
  • Loteria by Mario Alberto Zambrano (novel, but more like a novelette): A short quick read which has Mexican Loteria cards being revealed as the page turns, and slowly piecing together the tragic pieces of 11-year-old Luz. Yet another great debut novel!
  • The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro (historical fiction): A story that draws upon the powerful memories that scent triggers. Set in both the 1920s and the 1950s, this is about the mystery of identity. Intriguing and sensual. 


  • The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (mythology): A re-imagining of Homer's Iliad, this s a look into the life of Achilles and his friendship with Patroclus ... amidst wars, and the bickerings of gods and goddesses. Inventive, engaging, and makes mythology so damn sexy!
  • The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga (satire): Balram Halwai is "The White Tiger, a Thinking Man and an Entrepreneur," who in his autobiography announces he is a murderer. Apparently that's what it takes to move up in a corrupt India!

Non-Fiction

  • Mountainfit by Meera Sethi Lee: Essays ruminating about life and the sheer wonder of being out and interacting with the natural world. 
  • This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett: Essays about life, love and commitment. Funny, insightful, and oh-so-accessible.
  • However Long the Night by Amy Molloy: A biography about a woman and a group that put a stop to female genital mutilation in Africa. Amazing stuff. 
  • Pain, Parties, Work: Sylvia Plath in New York, Summer 1953 by Elizabeth Winder: A magazine-like compilation of Sylvia Plath as a young woman, pre-suicidal. Compelled me to read Plath's The Bell Jar. Such a provoking read!

   

Special mention

Uno Kudo Volume 2: Naked: I wasn't sure how to classify this book but it is unlike anything I have ever seen! It is the product of an art collective and draws in the best of art -- poetry, photography, essays, graphic art -- to explore nakedness. It is all around gorgeous! 

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Well, that's it for this round-up! Happy New Year! Have a wonderful reading year ahead!

9 comments:

  1. Uno Kudo looks awesome - on my wish list now :)

    I've read The Song of Achilles - loved it. A very well done piece of work!

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  2. Looks like you read some fantastic books in 2013. I haven't read any of them- but I have heard of some of them. :) I am most curious about The Death of Bees. Sounds interesting! An Abundance of Katherines is one I will have to pick up. :)

    Happy New Year!
    ~Jess

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  3. Happy New Year! Great list :) I haven't read any of these titles but I certainly have The Song of Achilles and The Perfume Collector on my want-to-read list :)

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  4. I have only read The Death of Bees. All the books look amazing, though. THANKS for sharing.

    ENJOY your 2014 reads.

    Elizabeth
    Silver's Reviews
    My Spread The Love Post

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  5. The Death of Bees, The Perfume Collector . . . soooo good! Song of Achilles??? A favorite of mine!

    Thanks for linking up to the Spread the Love Linky Party!!! I pinned this, too! :D

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  6. Such an array of choices! Most of them appeal to me! I especially want to read the book about Plath. I am reading the Bell Jar again and marveling at her prose....

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    1. It is quite the spread :) Feel really lucky to have discovered many of these through tours and recommendations. I hope you enjoy the Plath book -- very insightful!

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