How do you sum up a whole year of reading? It is so difficult with moods and whims taking my reading one way and book club choices taking me another. Then there are all the lovely copies of books which arrive from publishers and I have discovered authors who I would not have even considered before. Oh the beauty of reading.
So time to deliver what I think was my year of reading, what I enjoyed and what I did not.
So for some facts and figures if you will:
100 was the aim.
105 was the final tally.
Less than last year, more than previous but actually it is about the books read (though I admit the number does become a problem when Goodreads tells you how many you are behind!)
25 read on my kindle, which is about a quarter of the reading. (Less than the year before; 29) I would have said it was more but there you are, and as I harp on about Kindles and ‘actual’ books have a place together, certainly in my reading world.
5 books were borrowed from the library, the same as 2012. Mainly when I have wanted to find a particular title the library has been very useful. I know I should use it more but I have a lot of books on my shelf!
This was the first year that I gave up on some books and did not record them on my list of 2013 reads as unfinished. It was a cathartic process and one I will be taking into 2014.
So down to some books that stood out for me:
Kate Atkinson – Life after Life, it seems years ago I devoured and immersed myself in this book. So different from her Jackson Brodie novels but one you need to read to understand the complex nature of life. It does not give you any answers just merely options.
Whilst this book did surprise me I was even more surprised by Suzanne Collins – The Hunger Games. Books that are science fiction, fantasy and future themed novels are certainly not my cup of tea. It being a book club choice I gave it ago and was blown away by how good it was. It has led me to reading the second Catching Fire and I have the third Mockingjay waiting to go, now that I have seen the film.
Other surprises in the year were ; Lisa O’Donnell – The Death of Bees which just proves that quirky novels work. Maeve Binchy sadly passed away in 2012 and I had never read any of her books until I picked up Minding Frankie. Plenty for me to read now. Jo Baker – Longbourn. I have never read Pride and Prejudice but this did not stop me reading this wonderful novel about the ‘downstairs’ staff of the Bennet household. Delighted to see it has been picked as a Richard and Judy read and somewhat smug that I have already read it! Sebastian Faulks – Jeeves and the Wedding Bells, it could have failed miserably, another author takes on one two of the most classic comic characters in literature. It did not just pass, it exceed expectation, I loved it.
Enough surprises what about classic comfort reads? Well I think the following authors that I have read this year, Joanne Fluke, Debbie Macomber, Katie Fforde and Trisha Ashley by the number that I read means I enjoy going back to their work again and again. Discovering Rosie Goodwin and Carole Matthews means I can see their work being books I go to when feeling I need to escape and cheer myself up.
Historical fiction has played a better part this year, The White Queen and The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory were both excellent and I endeavour to read more of this series. Louise Levene – Ghastly Business, Elizabeth Gill – Miss Appleby’s Academy, Maggie Joel – The Second Last Woman in England and Wendy Jones in The Thoughts & Happenings of Wilfred Price, Purveyor of Superior Funerals all were based in times gone past and these particular books stood out for me in 2013.
I had some thrilling reads with Gillian Flynn – Gone Girl and S.J Watson – Before I Go to Sleep, both read after the hype had died down, sometimes the best way to discover a book. I don’t think 2013 was as crime heavy as 2012, if it was then it was of the gentle cosy variety and I could have sworn I read more than two Agatha Christie. No matter I have 2014 to get on with reading some more.
I think if anything 2013 was the year I embraced the short story. I read eight books, and was surprised by the quality and depth of them, so much packed in to so few pages, I wanted nearly all of them to be full novels I could lose myself in.
As for books that left me feeling a bit bleurgh: Nick Alexander – The French House could have been so much more than it was and Mary Simses – The Irresistible Blueberry Bakeshop & Cafe the title was only relevant for the last couple of pages and then was not the interesting. I finished them so they could not have been that bad?
Going back over my list, I have not mentioned Rachel Joyce – Perfect or Judith Kinghorn – The Memory of Lost Senses. I just know I should have done but there are so many books to mention, I am trying not to just simply regurgitate back all my monthly round-up posts. Which is probably why I do not have a runaway favourite. So many are just so good!
Happy New Year, readers. Thank you very much for stopping by in 2013 and I hope you continue to do so in 2014, please comment, even if I do not reply (due to commitments) to all of them, I do read them all and appreciate them.
Who knows where my 2014 reading is going to take me?