The Halfway Point…

It is hard to believe but at midnight tonight we are technically half way through 2013! How on earth did that happen? It actually only occurred to me a few minutes ago despite the fact that myself and the lovely Gavin Pugh had recorded our biannual episode of the Readers where we look at the books we are excited about each half of the year earlier this very afternoon. As soon as the penny drooped and I finally realised the implications of this I had a little wobble, mainly thinking of all the books I had pencilled in to read in 2013 and so far don’t seem to have made much of a dent into…

Just some of the books I haven't got round to yet in 2013, oops!

Just some of the books I haven’t got round to yet in 2013, oops!

Instead of freaking out about the books that we haven’t read, as it only adds to the pressure and feeling of utter incompetence to my mind, I thought we could switch it and make it more positive. So I wondered if you would let me know which books are the best that you have read this year so far?

I am thinking of doing something along those lines myself next week with a ‘Savidge Reads Summer Reading Guide’ as I laid into the Guardian’s Summer Reading list over the weekend on Twitter, not to be rude but it is a bit generic in terms of titles I think with nothing a bit left field in sight. Anyway, I will be using it to recommend my favourite reads of the year so far and also to highlight some of the books I am most looking forward to over the summer months (if anyone else does this you know where they nicked it from, ha) which may include some you recommend, thank you.

I am also making a mini mid-year resolution with myself, apart from to go off the beaten track with books, as I am going to make more of a concerted effort to catch up with comments on this blog (thanks for the Amsterdam recommendations so far) and then go and catch up with some other blogs as I seem to have fallen off the wagon. In fact I nearly fell of my chair when I popped by Just William’s Luck and saw he has gone from blog to vlog, but it is equally brilliant to be fair and very well produced unlike my rubbish random attempts. Anyway, I have just about caught up with comments before June, so only a month behind now. I will keep at it, though I might not say thank you to all the lovely comments when Gran had her major decline, I hope I have made it clear to all of you how much your thoughts and support has meant. I am seeing her on Friday and will report back. Back to books though…

…What have been you books of 2013 so far? AND, without freaking yourself out of course, which are the books you are most looking forward to, or planning to read in the second half?

Note: They don’t have to be books published in 2013, just read in it!


Filed under Random Savidgeness

16 responses to “The Halfway Point…

  1. I don’t think I’ve read much in the past 6 months that was actually published this year. (eek!).. Just finished Alastair Reynolds’ Doctor Who novel ‘Harvest of Time’, which is a very funny, fast-paced and glorious SF romp. His up-coming novel ‘On the Steel Breeze’ looks good, too. Also I’m looking forward to ‘The Devil in Silver’ by Victor Lavalle (his last book ‘Big Machine’ was amazing), as well as ‘Member’ by the modernist weird-meister Michael Cisco.
    Still not got around to The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes, either.
    Other than that, I think I’ve been mostly reading books that were published pre-2013….

  2. Hannah Renowden

    So far this year I have completely loved, The Rosie Project, The First Book of Calamity Leek, Lamb, The Humans, The Heretics, Idiopathy, Be Awesome.

  3. Realized just this morning that it was already time to write up my annual “(Half) Year in Books” post!

    Favorites will certainly include The Observations, Wolf Hall, The Black Count (non-fiction), This is Life, HHhH, and Oliver Twist.

  4. Barbara B.

    My favorites so far this year:
    — Moonseed by Stephen Baxter (thrilling)
    — The Busy Body by Donald E. Westlake (funny)
    — Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear (historically interesting )
    — Past Tense by Stephen Greenleaf (good P.i. story)
    — Defending Jacob by William Landay (intense page turner)
    — Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith (my most favorite – riveting!!)
    — Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay (sad and chilling)

  5. Thanks for the prompting to look back and evaluate!:
    -Seraphina by Rachel Hartman (YA Fantasy, fantastic characters, fascinating story and society)
    -Quiet by Susan Cain (Non-fiction, made me accept that it’s okay to be someone who frequently likes to hide away and read books)
    -The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton (Because Edith Wharton rocks the house. Period.)
    -The Rook by Daniel O’Malley (Spy fiction, Fantasy – cheeky, suspenseful and so much fun!)
    -The Native Star by M.K. Hobson (Historical Fantasy, a romping adventure across an alternate history American Wild West)
    -The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz (Mystery, a well crafted and chewy “new” Sherlock Holmes mystery)

    Things I’m looking forward to during the second half of the year:
    -Case Histories by Kate Atkinson
    -The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
    -The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
    And that’s about it. I read by whim pretty much exclusively and don’t plan out too much what I want to read. Hopefully I’ll run into some more awesome reads like those encountered in the first half of the year!

  6. Ana

    Questions of Travel by Michelle de Kretser has been my stand out so far as an important Australian novel. But my heart says The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout. A wonderfully immersive and satisfying read.
    And on queues for Burial Rites which I heard Hannah Kent discuss at Sydney Writers Fest and The Woman Upstairs by Messud. Also on line for Kate Atkinson but progress there is glacial.

    It’s been a good reading half year, not as much knitted as last year, but way more read!!

  7. If you have had a chance to read my discussions with Litlove on “Tales from the Reading Room” you will see that I was very enthusiastic about the autobiographical “Black Milk” by Elif Shafak.

  8. David

    Firstly, I’m very jealous of all those new books you have there to read (of the ones I can make out in the photo I do recommend Nicholas Royle’s ‘First Novel’ which I think you’d love – very clever writing, a bit experimental but with real heart too).

    Favourite reads of the year so far:

    ‘The Mountain and the Valley’ by Ernest Buckler (1952) – not only my book of the year so far, but possibly destined to be one of my all-time favourites, Buckler’s writing on nature and the solitary life is just incredible and really resonant. He puts words together in completely unique ways that both surprise you with their accuracy but also make you see the world through fresh eyes. This is considered a modern classic in Canada but seems to be largely unknown elsewhere – well worth seeking out a copy though.

    ‘One Fine Day’ by Mollie Panter-Downes (1946) – just exquisite, perfect, jewel-like.

    ‘Benediction’ by Kent Haruf (2013) – fantastic to return to Holt, Colorado again after a nine year wait. A beautiful story.

    ‘Lost Voices’ by Christopher Koch (2012) – a dual narrative set in Tasmania with the two storylines echoing each other across time. Why this wasn’t even longlisted for the Miles Franklin is a mystery to me.

    ‘The Lion Seeker’ by Kenneth Bonert (2013) – Lithuanian jewish boy growing up in South Africa in the years leading up to the second world war: it’s a take on the war that I hadn’t come across before but a brilliant one. This is proper ‘widesceen’ fiction – sweeping, touching, funny, it really does have it all.

    ‘Fallen Land’ by Patrick Flanery (2013) – for the first 100 pages or so I wasn’t at all sure about this. It felt a bit safe and conventional after ‘Absolution’ but then it really takes off. A fabulous literary thriller.

    ‘Little Raw Souls’ (short stories) by Steven Shwartz (2013) – best story collection I’ve read this year.

    ‘Clever Girl’ by Tessa Hadley (2013) – I’d not read Hadley for quite a few years, but this has reminded me just how good she is. No tricks, just really classy, perceptive writing.

    ‘May We Be Forgiven’ by A.M. Homes (2012) – absolutely bonkers but wonderful. And even the bonkers-ness makes sense as a way of showing just how mad the modern world is.

    ‘Nostalgia’ by Jonathan Buckley (2013) – a veritable cabinet of curiosities of a novel, this one was really odd. Not much plot to speak of but layer upon layer of little stories and histories and ‘facts’ building up to create a vivid picture of an Italian town.

    Plenty of others I’ve really liked a great deal too, but those above are the stand-outs for me so far. As for the second half of the year, the book I’m most excited about is Simon van Booy’s ‘The Illusion of Separateness’: his ‘Everything Beautiful Began After’ is still my favourite book of the last five or six years.

  9. Victoria

    Books I have read this year and recommend:
    Life after life Kate Atkinson
    Flight behaviour Barbara Kingsolver
    Red Joan Jennie Rooney
    The Forrests Emily Perkins
    I am looking forward to reading Madd Adam Margaret Atwood and the new Jonathan Coe later this year.

  10. I am a very slow reader usually, so I am thrilled at having managed to read so many books this year.

    About what I plan to read during the next 6 months? I have no plans really. I love to wing it. I will definitely be reading some books for my Classics Club, also something from my Man Booker reading list, and some Japan-related books for the Japanese literature reading challenge.

    I haven’t the foggiest which specific ones though 🙂

  11. I’ve read a lot of crime novels this year – especially enjoyed the first two of Susan Hill’s Simon Serrailer books and looking forward to reading the rest.
    I’ve recently enjoyed Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane.
    Otherwise, my faves this year have been Farewell Summer, Ray Bradbury, The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Orwell’s Down and Out in Paris and London, and JK Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy. I also read Susan Hill’s Howard’s End is on the Landing and absolutely LOVED it.

  12. e

    Letters from Skye – Jessica Brockmole
    Capturing the Light – Helen Rappaport and Roger Watson
    The Blue Castle – L M Montgomery
    London Belongs to Me – Norman Collins
    Children of the Archbishop – Norman Collins
    The Lost Boy – Camilla Lackberg
    Serving Victoria: Life in the Royal Household – Kate Hubbard

    And what am I looking forward to next? Anything from my To be Read shelves which are rapidly approaching the size of yours Simon!

  13. for some reason I am identified as ‘e’ above – just to let you know Simon that it is me – Elaine from Random!

  14. Thanks so much for showing us your TBR shelves. You’ve made me feel much better about my own! My best reads for 2013 in no particular order are:
    Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
    Accabadora by Michela Murgia
    Dirty Work by Gabriel Weston
    Mateship with Birds by Carrie Tiffany
    In the Sea There are Crocodiles by Fabio Geda
    Alice by Judith Hermann
    Y by Marjorie Celona
    The Cave by Ron Rash
    1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
    Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
    The President’s Hat by Antoine Laurie – the best so far.
    Reading plans for the next six months are to get the TBR shelves under control while no doubt being distracted by new arrivals.

  15. I’m doing amazingly well for the volume of books read this year especially when I’ve encountered a few books that I’ve just got stuck on. I’ve loved The Light Between Oceans for pure escapism however, I was rather disappointed with Though the Mountains Echoed:Khalid Hosseini .

  16. Louise Trolle

    My 4 best reads this year are:
    The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
    by Rachel Joyce

    Cloud Atlas
    by David Mitchell

    Phoenix Rising (Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences #1)


    Pinball, 1973 (The Rat #2)
    by Haruki Murakami

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