I participate in Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, and this week the theme is Top Ten Books I Read in 2013.
Wow! I’m pretty sure this year has been the quickest yet. It doesn’t feel too long ago that I was writing my top ten books read in 2012. I’ll have read 63 books by the end of 2013 and luckily, like last year, I gave the majority of books four stars, meaning ‘I really enjoyed this book. It wouldn’t have had many things, if any, that I didn’t like about it, so I would definitely recommend it’. It’s once again pretty difficult to pick just ten, but here’s the list of books I’d most likely jump up and down to recommend to you. And I actually do not give out my five stars very easily!
Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys
Let’s face it, Ruta Sepetys was always going to end up in my top ten. Nonetheless, I was quite nervous about reading Out of the Easy because I thought Between Shades of Gray was perfection and even though I read it over two years ago, I am still constantly telling other people to read it. What if Out of the Easy just didn’t make me feel the same way? But I had nothing to worry about because I loved it just as much, even though they couldn’t be more different. I loved the characters, the mystery, the bookishness, being transported to the gritty New Orleans’ French Quarter in the 1950s…. all of it.
Shelves without books were lonely and just plain wrong.
Geek Girl & Model Misfit by Holly Smale
I had no idea back in February that Geek Girl would take off as much as it did, but I’m incredibly happy for Holly Smale. I am ashamed to say that I originally gave Geek Girl four stars, but after reading the sequel, I decided it definitely deserved five. Geek Girl and Model Misfit are probably the two most enjoyable books I’ve read this year. Harriet Manners is a wonderful character with a distinctive voice and both books are just plain fun. Why be miserable when you can have fun in Japan? I cannot wait to see what happens in Picture Perfect.
1. You left a multipack of Mars Bars on top of your wardrobe. Can I have one? Dad x
2. I had three. Hope that’s OK. Dad x
3. I’m just going to have one more. Dad x
4. Harriet, your Dad’s made himself sick on an entire multipack of Mars Bars again. Please don’t leave sweets where we can find them. A x
Heart-Shaped Bruise by Tanya Byrne
I find that if I’m going through a tough time, there’s no better way of dealing with it than reading about someone who’s going through an even tougher time than you. Enter: Emily Koll. Tanya Byrne is a brilliant writer who enables us to get into the fictional minds of fictional characters. If it were a true story that I read about in the newspaper, I doubt I’d have felt sympathy for Emily, but Heart-Shaped Bruise is so utterly brilliant that you do not know what to feel.
I look at myself sometimes; at the broken lines across the palms of my hands and the creases in my elbows, and I can see myself coming apart at the seams.
Matilda by Roald Dahl
Matilda was another book I was slightly nervous about reading. I knew I loved the film adaptation, but what if I didn’t love the book that everyone else loved? But reading Roald Dahl was one of the best choices I made this year. (It even encouraged me to write about why you’re never too old to read children’s books!). I was surprised to see how dark it was and of course I adored Matilda herself. I then went to see Matilda the Musical with a bunch of blogger friends, which we all loved. I urge you to pick it up if you haven’t yet!
I’m wondering what to read next.” Matilda said. “I’ve finished all the children’s books”.
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
I was incredibly excited about reading I Capture the Castle, originally published in 1949, after purchasing my beautiful Vintage Children’s Classics edition and it didn’t disappoint. It’s very much a character-driven novel and the Mortmain characters are among the most eccentric you’ll read about. I said in my review that ‘each person, for they jump out of the page too much to be called characters, in I Capture the Castle adds a little more colour to the already dazzling story’.
I write this sitting in the kitchen sink.
Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
Oh what a perfect book this is for the book lover. I loved our protagonist, Clay Jannon, who is witty, intelligent and just as confused as the reader as he goes on a completely unexpected journey after getting a job at Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. You will never feel the same way about Google again.
Some of them are working very hard indeed. “What are they doing?” “My boy!” he said, eyebrows raised. As if nothing could be more obvious. “They are reading!”
The Complete Maus by Art Spielgelman
If you’ve not yet read a book about WWII or the Holocaust, then please do pick up Maus. I reserved The Complete Maus at my library on a whim because it had been sitting on my Goodreads wishlist for a little while and I wanted to read more graphic novels. It’s an incredible true story and an honest portrayal of Vladek and Anja Spiegelman, living and surviving in Hitler’s Europe.
Angelfall by Susan Ee
If you told me last year that I will include an ‘angel book’ on my list next year, I probably wouldn’t have believed you. But Angelfall is so wonderfully written, with its brilliant characters – Penryn and Raffe, among others – and incredible (terrifying and brutal) world-building, it deserves to be here. And I don’t know what, but something about it appeals to people who rarely read, as I have successfully managed to get several non-bookish friends to read it – and they loved it.
I never thought about it before, but I’m proud to be human. We’re ever so flawed. We’re frail, confused, violent, and we struggle with so many issues. But all in all, I’m proud to be a Daughter of Man.
The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham
How do you fancy having Triffids, walking poisonous, flesh-eating plants, who shoot to kill, sitting in your garden? No, not for you? I picked The Day of the Triffids to be my third classic novel of the year and it constantly had me on the edge of my seat. Against all the other post-apocalyptic novels being published at the moment, it still stands out as being among the most creepy! I’m looking forward to reading The Chrysalids and The Midwich Cuckoos next year.
When a day that you happen to know is Wednesday starts off by sounding like Sunday, there is something seriously wrong somewhere.
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
And lastly, I am happy to say that yes, Eleanor & Park has made it into my top ten. I only finished it last night and it’s probably the book that has left me the most sad. It’s just so incredibly sad. I’ve seen a lot of people refer to it as ‘cute’ and so I expected (especially after reading Fangirl), somewhere, that it would overcome its sadness. I can see why people love it so much; it’s authentic and realistic, right down to its teenage awkwardness. And once again Rainbow Rowell successfully transports us to a slightly different time, this time 1986.
I want everyone to meet you. You’re my favorite person of all time.
Trouble by Non Pratt
What is this, you say? You have already given us ten books (well, eleven, technically)! Trouble is not yet published – it’s due March (UK) and June (US), but I have to include it here. If you love YA contemporary, you will want to read Trouble next year. Trouble stands out because it does not shy away from the awkward, uncomfortable and often harsh reality of teenage life, but it’s still funny and touching, with two endearing characters – Hannah, who becomes pregnant at 15 and Aaron – that you’ll enjoy spending time with. (Psst. You can head over to the Trouble Tumblr for a chance to win a copy!).
And the ones that got away: The Savages, More Than This, Attachments, Every Day, Fangirl, The 5th Wave, Prodigy, Mary-Mary, Anthem for Jackson Dawes, Will Grayson, Will Grayson, The Storyteller, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Rules of Summer, Speechless, The Light Between Oceans, When You Reach Me, Stay Where You Are and Then Leave, Picture Me Gone. But even then there’s many fantastic books that I equally enjoyed that I’ve left out because I can’t very well include every book, so head over to my Goodreads Challenge to see the books I read this year.
What are the top ten books that you read this year?