2013 was a mixed year. I think I’ll always remember it as the year I lost my grandma, so it probably won’t go down in memory very well. But that’s the only bad thing that happened; I started a job that I actually might like back in March and just got promoted in December, we finally sold the flat which had been preventing us from gaining substantial savings after over 3 years of trying, and everything in a relationship and friend direction has been positive.
My reading year went well. I set myself a goal of 150 books, as I’d read 138 books in 2012 and wanted to do slightly better than that. I ended up finished 160 books, which is great; I found reading much easier to fit in when I started commuting as I’d read a guaranteed 50-100 pages per day just sitting on a train. Commuting itself is not that pleasant, but I like the reading benefit.
And I read some great books this year. Now that the year is finally over, I can finally sum up my favorites. So, without further rambling, my top ten of 2013 (not in any particular order, or in any particular genre or type of book):
- Vanished Kingdoms, Norman Davies – This book stands out so strongly in my memory, because it filled in so many gaps in what I already knew and spurred me on to learn more, the perfect combination for a book about history. I’m now just waiting for Davies to pick up his pen and write about vanished kingdoms in the rest of the world!
- The Spirit Keeper, K.B. Laugheed – For some reason, I fell in love with this book – the historical setting, the romance between two unlikely characters, and just the surprise that I enjoyed a book in this setting so much. It still lingers in my mind. I think I might need to buy a paper copy.
- The Truth of Valor, Tanya Huff (and the rest of the series, all of which I read this year) – I loved these books. I’m sorry that I didn’t rave about them individually, but I loved so much about them. Strong yet imperfect Torin was the star of the show for me, but all the books also had that epic, no-holds-barred feel about them that I adore.
- Daughter of the Sword, Steve Bein – This was my favorite new urban fantasy of the year. I think I’ll be getting myself the next for a birthday present this month. I loved the way this book intertwined history with a modern fantasy; either storyline could have stood on its own.
- Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie – I didn’t manage to even review this book – plenty of stellar reviews out there already, anyway – but I loved the way it subverted gender expectations, made me feel sympathy for a ship, and ultimately confused me until suddenly everything popped into place. So much good about this book – if you haven’t read it already, you should make it a 2014 priority.
- Eleanor and Park, Rainbow Rowell – I didn’t review this one, either, but I never caught up with November’s reviews. I loved the way that Rowell created two imperfect characters whose love for each other shone through the pages. She perfectly captures what it’s like to be a teenager but still made me fall in love with these two. There will be more books by Rainbow Rowell in my future.
- Carter Beats the Devil, Glen David Gold – This was one of 2013’s long-awaited reads and it was definitely a book I should have read sooner. Fantastic characters, a whirlwind story, a perfect conclusion, with an unusual historical setting and magical focus that helped it stand out.
- Proust and the Squid, Maryanne Wolf – I loved this in depth look at the reading brain and how complex it is, plus an overview of the history of reading and alphabets. Not to be missed.
- The Wild Girl, Kate Forsyth – Another historical novel that I adored this year. I can’t believe I hadn’t discovered Forsyth earlier; this is something I’m going to look to remedy in 2014.
- Cooked, Michael Pollan – Taking a look at each type of cooking, Pollan goes on another journey through food that inspired me to think about what I could create. A lot of things have contributed to me becoming more conscious of what we’re eating and cooking from scratch more often, but this book is definitely up there.
I should also mention Chasing Magic by Stacia Kane, Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews, and Chimes at Midnight by Seanan McGuire for continuing series that I love with solid, wonderful books. I can only hope for the same this year.
Here’s to a happy and healthy 2014, everyone!