Your Books of 2013 So Far…

So I thought today, whilst I am busy playing catch up with comments from the last few months, we could have a catch up post on the blog about what you have all been reading and particularly what your highlights of 2013 have been book-wise so far. You see I discovered rather alarmingly this morning that it is the end of 2013 in exactly seven weeks, which is most unnerving. This was then highlighted by an email asking me what my book of 2013 has been so far and what I am most looking forward to in 2014. Where does the time go?

I am still torn on what my ‘very favourite’ book of 2013 is, but I will get mulling it over. What I did wonder is which ones I might have missed, which asking you what all of yours has been might make me spot some to squeeze in over the next seven weeks. So, I throw a friendly gauntlet down to you all… What has been your favourite book, or what have been your favourites, of 2013 so far and why? They don’t have to have been published in 2013 by the way! I wonder if there will be any books that appear a few times, will be interesting to hear your thoughts.



Filed under Book Thoughts, Random Savidgeness

83 responses to “Your Books of 2013 So Far…

  1. No.1 favourite definitely has to be ‘Night Film’ by Marisha Pessl. I haven’t read such a rich, surprising, inventive novel in years. I’ll also be including ‘Orkney’ by Amy Sackville, ‘First Novel’ by Nicholas Royle and ‘Cooking With Bones’ by Jess Richards in my Best of 2013 list. ‘The Engagement’ by Chloe Hooper was also pretty amazing, though it only counts as a 2013 release if you ignore its original Australian publication date.

    • I have yet to read Pessl but I do feel that I really should read her as have heard so many good things about books. I also like any book deemed inventive. First Novel has been on my shelves for too long, thank you for reminding me to dust that off along with the next Jess Richards, Snake Ropes I have read twice and will finally be reviewed in the next few weeks.

  2. Marte

    Kate Atkinson – Life after life
    Susanna Kearsley – The firebird
    Beth Gutcheon – Still missing
    Patrick Rothfuss – The wise man’s fear
    Donal Ryan – The spinning heart
    Hugh Howey – Wool omnibus
    Connie Willis – Doomsday book
    Laski – To bed with grand music
    Jojo Moyes – Me before you
    Simon Garfield – Just my type (non-fiction)
    Martin – A game of thrones (re-read)
    Monica Dickens – Mariana

    • Mariana & Life After Life have also been two of my favourites this year Marte, what wonderful taste you have. I have yet to try Game of Thrones, I think I am worried I would be addicted and I have so much else to read.

  3. A rough(ish) list of my maybe 10 faves in no particular order and including lots of pre-2013 books would be…

    Thaliad- Marly Youmans,
    The Book of the New Sun – Gene Wolfe,
    Cities of the Plain – Cormac McCarthy,
    The Devil in Silver – Victor LaValle,
    The Dispossessed – Ursula Le Guin,
    The Lathe of Heaven – Ursula Le Guin.
    On The Steel Breeze – Alastair Reynolds,
    Celebrant – Michael Cisco,
    Jack Glass – Adam Roberts,
    Iron Council – China Mieville,

    • Tom, I never cease to be jealous of your wonderful reading and how eclectic it is. I almost hate you for it hahaha. I don’t though, honest. Gav has raved to me any a time about Adam Roberts so I must try him, and I need to read more Cormac. I am reading Ursula Le Guin finally as Gav has chose The Left Hand of Darkness for Hear Read This next month.

  4. LauraC

    My “Five Star’s” on Goodreads for this past year are:
    Crusoe’s Daughter – Jane Gardam
    A Month in the Country – J L Carr
    The Sweet Dove Died – Barbara Pym
    Life After Life -Kate Atkinson
    Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier
    The Saffron Kitchen – Yasmin Crowther
    The Railway Children – E. Nesbit
    The House of Mirth – Edith Wharton
    I also have many “Four Star” reads and am presently reading The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt which, so far, may earn a five star rating too.

    • Oh the fact you gave Rebecca five stars makes you my commentor of the day, ha. I love that book so much as indeed do I The House of Mirth which I read for the first time only this year too.

  5. Victoria

    I don’t know where the year has gone:

    My books of the year are:

    Kate Atkinson Life after life
    Margaret Atwood MaddAdam
    Emily Perkins The Forrests
    Chimanda \ngozi Adichie Americaah
    Jennie Rooney Red Joan
    Rachel Kushner The flamethrowers
    Edith Pearlman Binocular vision
    Alison MacLeod Unexploded

    • I started Americanah and didn’t get on with it initially so stopped. I have kept it, is it worth me giving it another whirl? I also must read Maddadam too before the year is through.

      Life After Life is proving very popular.

  6. kaggsysbookishramblings

    Wow -that’s difficult and none of mine are published this year – far from it!
    I would say:
    The Brothers Karamazov – Dostoevsky
    Merry Hall – Beverley Nichols
    The Hopkins Manuscript – RC Sherriff
    Pnin – Nabokov
    Manuscripts Don’t Burn – Bulgakov
    The Gambler – Dostoevsky
    Travels of a Capitalist Lackey – Fred Basnett
    Mr. Skeffington – Elizabeth von Arnim
    plus the whole of the Dance to the Music of Time sequence! Phew!

    • Hahaha nothing wrong with non of them being from 2013. I have made a resolution with myself that I will be reading a lot less 2014 books in 2014 and reading more underground books from the last year or two and much older books, some classics, some forgotten.

      • kaggsysbookishramblings

        Good plan! Variety is the spice etc etc – although my list doesn’t necessarily have that much variety, being rather full of Russians!

  7. David

    So far (and I hope to fit in a good 15 or more books before the year’s end) my favourite novel of the year has been Ernest Buckler’s ‘The Mountain and the Valley’ (1952). Other novels I’ve loved this year (and given a Goodreads 5 stars to):

    Kenneth Bonert – ‘The Lion Seeker’
    Christopher Koch – ‘Lost Voices’
    Lea Carpenter – ‘Eleven Days’
    Patrick Flanery – ‘Fallen Land’
    Kent Haruf – ‘Benediction’
    Mollie Panter-Downes – ‘One Fine Day’
    Michael Winter – ‘Minister Without Portfolio’
    Richard Flanagan – ‘The Narrow Road to the Deep North’
    Simon Van Booy – ‘The Illusion of Separateness’
    Alex Miller – ‘Coal Creek’
    Joyce Carol Oates – ‘My Sister, My Love’

    And my favourite story collections so far this year:

    Jodi Angel – ‘You Only Get Letters from Jail’
    Théodora Armstrong – ‘Clear Skies, No Wind, 100% Visibility’
    Steven Schwartz – ‘Little Raw Souls’
    John Burnside – ‘Something Like Happy’
    Raymond Carver – ‘What We Talk About When We Talk About Love’

    And although I haven’t rated anything by them as a full-on 5 star read (yet), the two authors I’m most excited about having ‘discovered’ this year, and want to read everything by would be Charles Baxter and Olivia Manning.

    • David, I can always, always, always count on your for a brilliant comment and book recommendations as you have done here. I am going to have to look all of these up. I am particularly thrilled to see you mention Mollie Panter-Downes in your list as I have fallen in love with her writing after re-reading Good Evening, Mrs Craven.

      • David

        I really must get around to reading her short stories, especially as they are in the lovely Persephone editions.
        What I loved about ‘One Fine Day’ (apart from the exquisite writing) was how incredibly fresh it felt – each year I’ll read a handful of new novels set in and around the second world war and sometimes they can feel over-researched, too much like they’re straining to capture an era that the authors (usually) haven’t themselves lived through, and often they slip into a kind of ‘historical’ style of writing, as though the 40s were as far removed from today as the reign of Queen Victoria or the Regency. What Mollie Panter-Downes reminded me is that, for all society has changed a lot – some for the better, some for the worse – how close that era actually is (‘One Fine Day’ is set in the year my parents were born). The novel has an immediacy about it and is surprisingly modern. It also made a lot of the new books I was reading around the same time (I read ‘Instructions for a Heatwave’ directly after it) seem banal and ephemeral.

  8. a few of my faves (only published this year):
    Bear is Broken, by Lachlan Smith
    Point Doom, Dan Fante
    Schroeder, by Amity Gaige
    Stuart Nadler, Wise Men

  9. gaskella

    My Five star reads out of 84 and excluding re-reads are:
    – Mrs Bridge by Evan S Connell
    – The Explorer by James Smythe
    – Diary of a Provincial Lady by E.M.Delafield
    – Magda by Meike Ziervogel
    – Tigers in Red Weather by Liza Klaussmann
    – The Cleaner of Chartres by Salley Vickers
    – Alex by Pierre Lemaitre
    – Glaciers by Alexis M Smith
    – The Humans by Matt Haig
    – Mr Loverman by Bernardine Evaristo

    • Great selection of books there Annabel. Magda is amazing isn’t it, you must listen to the latest episode of You Wrote The Book, Meike is on it and the discussion is fascinating.

      I completely agree about The Explorer and Alex, those are both corkers and am looking forward to both follow ups in 2014. There is one book on your list I desperately wanted to read but the author is such a self promoter on Twitter and Facebook it killed the desire to read it completely.

      I have chosen Mr Loverman for my next ‘in the flesh’ book group at the start of December so am thrilled to read it is a corker.

  10. Frenchie Caro

    My favorite of 2013 is “Blackout/All Clear” by Connie Willis, hands down !

  11. Kindred – Octavia E. Butler
    The Sense of an Ending – Julian Butler
    The French Lieutenant’s Woman – John Fowles
    We Need New Names – NoViolet Bulawayo
    Lamb the Gospel According to Biff – Christopher Moore
    The Cutting Season – Attica Locke
    Cutting for Stone – Abraham Verghese
    Relish My Life in the Kitchen – Lucy Knisley

    Not so much an intellectual list but it’s what I enjoyed that I read so far this year.

    • I don’t think you can rate enjoyment intellectually and those who say they can are big snobs 😉

      I really, really want to read Attica Locke, I have had Black Water Rising on my bookshelves for far too long.

      • It’s been on my shelf since March. I hope to get to it at the beginning of 2014. I really enjoyed the mysterious spooky ambience of The Cutting Season.

      • Mysterious spooky ambience… I am totally sold.

      • Yeah I think you’ll like the Cutting Season. If Blackwater Rising is anything like The Cutting Season we should love that one too. I’m just surprised more people are talking about Attica Locke. I did a review on it and it sparked interest with some of my subscribers here and over on You Tube. Speaking of you Tube… Why aren’t you doing more videos? I like them. You make me laugh.

  12. Surprising myself, most of my top reads thus far were non-fiction – won’t give you a complete list because like you, I’m still pondering on it, but here’s a few:
    The Magic Apple Tree by Susan Hill (LOVED this one)
    A Thatched Roof by Beverley Nichols
    How the Heather Looks by Joan Bodger
    The Grand Tour Around the World with the Queen of Mystery Agatha Christie by Mathew Prichard
    Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain

    As for fiction, I very recently discovered Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear (a good fiction follow-up to the Brittain book), and Baking Cakes in Kigali by Gaile Parkin (reminded me a little bit of A. McCall Smith’s Mma Ramotswe).

    Fun to see everyone’s lists!

    • You have mentioned a Susan Hill I have not yet read and nor do I own so that is one I need to get around to hunting down. I have the Agatha Christie non fiction and have been saving that for the festive season, not sure why but I have.

  13. I think two of my favourites this year have been Z A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler and Life After Life by Kate Atkinson.
    I loved Z because it is about a time and people that I have always found fascinating and the book was wonderful.
    Life After Life I loved so much and have read it twice within as many weeks,always enjoy Atkinsons writing and this was wonderful.

  14. My fave books are:

    A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R.Martin
    Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
    One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
    Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami
    Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
    The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng
    Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy by John Le Carre
    Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
    The Signature of all Things by Elizabeth Gilbert
    Night Film by Marisha Pessl
    TransAtlantic by Colum McCann

    More than 10, but I really liked these books a lot.

  15. Interesting question, thus far I would say my favourites are:

    Never Mind by Edward St Aubyn
    Fifty Shades of Feminism
    Maggie and Me by Damien Barr
    I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
    Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
    Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
    The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks

    Most of these either made me cry, or I couldn’t stop thinking about them for a time after. St Aubyn and Vonnegut are my favourites of this list, beautifully written and difficult topics.

    • Alice, you are my favourite person today for saying Rebecca, it is one of the best books in the world isn’t it? (Just say yes in your head as it is rhetorical hahaha.) Though I have to admit I did do a double take then as I thought you had put Fifty Shades of Grey in your list and I would have disowned you!

  16. Ann

    Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty and Perfect by Rachel Joyce…The first has stayed with me for months…and the second made me cry…just like The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry did the year before…Novels that do both of these things for me mean I have read a good book which then becomes a favourite!

    • The Beards mother has been raving about Harold Fry to me recently, I need to get to that book at somepoint! Apple Tree Yard is on the TBR. I am quite in love with the paperback though, have you see it yet? Stunning.

  17. The mirror of beauty Faruqi
    A man in love Knausgaard
    The parrots bologna
    I was Jack Mortimer Lernet-Holenia
    All is silence Rivas
    Needless to say all in translation

  18. Top 10 of the year so far:
    Anna of the Five Towns — Arnold Bennett
    Light — M. John Harrison
    Now All Roads Lead to France — Matthew Hollis
    The ‘Sword of Honour’ trilogy — Evelyn Waugh
    Arabian Sands — Wilfred Thesiger
    The Player of Games — Iain M. Banks
    Out of Sheer Rage — Geoff Dyer (a re-read)
    Turtle Diary — Russell Hoban
    Blindsight — Peter Watts
    The Mystery of Edwin Drood — Charles Dickens

    • Apart from the Dickens (who sadly I do not love), the Waugh (who I must read more of) and the Banks (who I must also read more of) I know none of the authors mentioned. I have a delightful list of books to discover thanks to this post.

  19. This year I loved:
    The Prisoner of Heaven – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
    Howard’s End is on the Landing – Susan Hill
    Diving Belles – Lucy Wood (on your recommendation)
    The Falcons of Fire and Ice – Karen Maitland
    Walking Home – Simon Armitage
    Rivers of London – Ben Aaronovitch

    I also re-read The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon and absolutely loved it the second time. It’s a brilliant book.

    • Hoorah for Lucy Wood and that INCREDIBLE collection, I cannot wait for her forthcoming novel – though I think the wait may be a little while yet. It is such a glorious book though Diving Belles. I have never reviewed Rivers of London and I am not sure why!

  20. Ben

    My favorite book for 2013 is “Traveler of the Century” by Andres Neuman.

  21. janakay

    My fiction reading has, alas, slowed down considerably in the last few months, but I did have some outstanding reads. Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch is at the absolute top of my list — it is an truly fabulous read and more than makes up for the disappointment I felt with her second novel, The Little Friend. My second favorite read for 2013 was Peter Cameron’s The City of Your Final Destination, a tale of a young Canadian graduate student and his adventures in Uruguay, where he’s traveled to secure permission to access biographical material from the literary executors of a famous expatriate writer. The executors are the dead writer’s wife, mistress and gay brother, who all co-exist more or less peacefully in a crumbling but fascinating mansion in the countryside. I loved the idea, implied by the title, that one’s final destination isn’t always where one thought it would be! I also greatly enjoyed Atwood’s MaddAdam and (a little to my surprise) both Five Star Billionaire, by Tash Aw (a writer whom I promptly placed on my “to be explored further” list) and Colm Toibin’s Testament of Mary, which I had to force myself to start but which was really quite gripping. A great debut novel was Peggy Riley’s Amity and Sorrow, a dark and harrowing tale of a mother and two daughters escaping a polygamous cult. Pessl’s Night Film was a near miss for me—although I literally couldn’t put it down once I started reading it, I must say I found it ultimately a little disappointing. She’s a great writer, however, and I intend to check out her first novel (I believe it’s called Special Topics in Calamity Physics) when I have a bit more time.

    • So many differing reviews of The Goldfinch, how intriguing. I guess I am just going to have to bite the bullet at some point and read it and make up my own mind, people are very polar about it though.

      Riley, Atwood and Cameron (the latter which I hadn’t heard of so thank you) I need to get to.

  22. sharkell

    I have read quite a few great books this year. In no particular order:

    Under the Skin, Michel Faber
    Burial Rites, Hannah Kent
    All the Birds, Singing, Evie Wyld
    The Book of Fate, Parinoush Saniee
    The Burial, Courtney Collins
    Stay Alive, My Son (non fiction), Pin Yathay
    A Perfectly Good Man, Patrick Gale
    The Fine Colour of Rust, Paddy O’Reilly
    The Rosie Project, Graeme Simsion
    The Regeneration Trilogy, Pat Barker
    The Quiet Earth, Craig Harrison
    The Railway Man’s Wife, Ashley Hay

    • I must, must read Under the Skin before the film comes out, I need to see if the library has it and if so I shall pick it up. Have heard such good things about it from the guys I was in a book group in London with who all LOVED it even though they said it was utterly bonkers. Evie Wyld is amazing, that will be in my top ten I am sure.

  23. My reading year has been really slow this year, I have only 2 five star reads on good reads;

    Badgerlands – Patrick Barkham (The Butterfly Isles is also amazing, but I read that a couple of years ago) and
    The Crossing Places – Elly Griffiths

    Both very different from each other, but both great reads.

  24. I loved the Love Affairs of Nathaniel P by Adelle Waldman. Describes young men and their hearts pretty perfectly.

    I’m 50 pages from the end of The Goldfinch. Another book about a man by a woman. It’s one of my favourite novels written since 2000, maybe ever. Occasionally he feels more female than he should (never true in Nathaniel P), but I love it and wouldn’t have minded if it had been twice as long. So erudite, covers so many subjects and milieus, describes all of them perfectly. Essentially a novel of loss and sadness, it never becomes maudlin. The more I think about it, the more I love it. Extraordinary achievement.

    • That is another great recommendation for The Goldfinch there Simon, I am really struggling with whether I want to read it or not over the forthcoming months. I guess I need to just get on with it.

  25. Oh, how could I have forgotten another great book, a memoir. Reading the other comments reminded me how wonderful Maggie and Me by Damian Barr is. Brilliant.

  26. My favourite reads of the year are (in no particular order):
    The Casual Vacancy by J K Rowling
    Wonder by R J Palacio
    The Help by Kathryn Stockett
    A Place For The Time Being by Ruth Ozeki
    Bellman & Black by Diane Setterfield
    The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

  27. Pierre Lemaitre’s Alex. Tremendous French police procedural/thriller which breaks all the crime fiction ‘rules’ and is all the better for that. Brilliant tho downbeat ending.
    I also listened to the audiobook of Kate Atkinson’s Life after Life and was captivated.

    • We are on a wavelength here then Janet as both of those are two favourites of mine. I can’t believe we have to wait so long for the next Lemaitre, I am almost tempted to try and read it in French.

  28. My top reads this year (and only one of these was published this year) have been:

    The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood
    On the Road by Jack Kerouac
    Black Vodka by Deborah Levy
    The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
    Dan Yack by Blaise Cendrars

    Thanks for asking! Interesting to see everyone else’s picks.

    • Black Vodka is very, very good isn’t it? I wanted to write some thoughts on it today but I think I need to go back and read them all over again first, I love Levy and really want to do her book justice. I have never heard of Dan Yack.

  29. The Drowning of Arthur Braxton, Caroline Smailes
    A Monster Calls, Patrick Ness
    The Hare with Amber Eyes: A Hidden Inheritance, Edmund De Waal
    The Industry of Souls, Martin Booth
    The Luminaries, Eleanor Catton

    • The first mention of The Luminaries which I was expecting to see mentioned a lot more than it has been, which is until your comment now Claire, maybe like me everyone else is slowly getting through it still.

  30. The Night Rainbow, Claire King and The Drowning of Arthur Braxton, Caroline Smailes.

  31. My favourite books of the year? I would say…

    The Luminaries – Eleanor Catton
    Cooking With Bones – Jess Richards
    Letters of Note – Shaun Usher
    All the Birds, Singing – Evie Wyld
    How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia – Mohsin Hamid
    The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine – Alina Bronsky
    The Twelve Tribes of Hattie – Ayana Mathis
    Communion Town – Sam Thompson
    Address Unknown – Kressmann Taylor
    This isn’t the Sort of Thing that Happens to Someone Like You – Jon McGregor

    Phew! I hadn’t meant to list as many as ten, but once I start thinking of favourite books, it’s hard to stop…

    • Aha, there is the second mention of The Luminaries, I was expecting more. I have to admit I am struggling with it. The latest Jess Richards I really need to read, why have I never reviewed Snake Ropes? Evie Wyld as I mentioned above in another comment is AMAZING. So understated, I want that to win the Women’s Prize next year. The Jon McGregor is also on my periphery.

  32. Louise Trolle

    My favourites this year are:

    Pinball, 1973 – Haruki Murakami
    Libriomancer – Jim Hines
    Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
    Joyland – Stephen King
    Phoenix Rising – Philippa Ballantine
    The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry – Rachel Joyce

    • Rachel Joyce is getting lots and lots of mentions, must read that. Stephen King I have on the TBR and meant to read ages ago, tut to me. Pinball, 1973 I haven’t heard of. or Phoenix Rising.

  33. Whitney Suarez

    This has been a year of non-fiction for me and top spot would have to go to What’s Next? by Joy Chudacoff
    Hugely inspiring and empowering for business women with excellent advice throughout. I haven’t read anything better in it’s category.

  34. Pingback: Some Books of 2013 | Savidge Reads

  35. Hannah

    My top reads of this year are …

    3 Persephone books:
    – Still Missing, Beth Gutcheon
    – The Crowded Street, Winifred Holtby
    – Someone at a Distance, Dorothy Whipple

    – In the Woods, Tana French
    – The Red House Mystery, AA Milne (his 1 and only detective novel!)
    – A Kind Man, Susan Hill
    – Joyland, Steven King
    – The Ridge, Michael Koryta
    – The Pursued, CS Forester
    – Ed King, David Guterson
    – The Shock of the Fall, Nathan Filer
    – HHhH, Laurent Binet
    – The Card, Graham Rawle
    – Tigers in Red Weather, Liza Klaussmann

    Not sure many were published this year but I’ve had a good year personally for 5 star reads! And hopefully there will be some more.

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