Thursday, 12 December 2013

My Favourite Books of 2013

Every year should have a top 10 list, ne c’est pas?  Alors, here are my 10 favourite books of 2013.

1.       The Shining Girls / Lauren Beukes
A wonderful combination of two of my favourite things:  serial killers and fantasy.  (The mechanism of the time travel is never actually revealed, so I can’t really classify it as science fiction).  I don’t know why I’m twisted enough to enjoy books about serial killers, but I certainly do.  Punch-drunk on time travel, I found myself desperate to finish the novel, my feet making little running motions as I read.  And even when I reached the end, there was a feeling that I didn’t quite understand the ramifications of it all and the time travel paradoxes lingered in my mind for several days.  That’s the sign of a good book!

2.       My Beloved Brontosaurus / Brian Switek
A non-fiction pick for the year.  An easy, painless way to get caught up on the latest in dinosaur research in recent years, written by an author who obviously loves the subject matter.   I think all those of us of a certain age who love dinosaurs have fond memories of Brontosaurus. 

3.       Watership Down / Richard Adams
A bunny book!  Part of my science fiction/fantasy reading project and a true classic.  I have owned pet rabbits and appreciate the accuracy of bunny behaviour, as well as the epic nature of the story.  Adams doesn’t make them little humans in fur suits; they are definitely rabbits, engaged in life’s struggles on their own terms.

4.       The Mists of Avalon / Marion Zimmer Bradley
Also on my reading project list.  A wonderful reminder of how much I love the King Arthur cycle and how much I appreciate a female perspective on the tale.  MZB wrote some amazing stuff and I plan to track down more of her work in the future, especially the follow-up books to Mists.

5.       Hild / Nicola Griffith
Best historical fiction that I have read this year.  I’m in love with Old English and the Middle Ages and this books indulges my preferences so well.  I adore the dreamy feel of the language and find myself happily immersed in Hild’s world for hours.  A book that I will take to the nursing home with me if I still have my marbles!

6.       Food for the Gods / Karen Dudley
Best use of a classical education by an author.  Full disclosure, Karen is a friend of mine, but I would praise this book whether I knew her or not.  It treats the ancient Greeks like the fun and interesting people that they were, weaves in mythology in ways that make perfect sense to the plot and provides many giggles along the way.  Celebrity chefs meet ancient Athens!

7.       Fuzzy Nation / John Scalzi
The best re-boot of a beloved original.  I have adored H. Beam Piper’s books about the Fuzzies since I first discovered them in the late 1980s.  When I realized that Scalzi had penned a new version of this classic, I had to read it and I was pleasantly surprised.  Scalzi’s Fuzzies have considerably more edginess than Piper’s and there is considerably more snark in this incarnation, but somehow it works.

8.       The Juggler’s Children / Carolyn Abraham
The brave new world of combining genetics and genealogical research.  An engaging description of the author’s research into her own family tree, trying to sort out all the cultural heritage issues.  This book made me want to go right out and buy a genetic testing kit!

9.       Pride and Prejudice / Jane Austen
Best new discovery of classic literature.  I can’t believe that I had never read this book before this year.  It entertained my on the plane on my way to Japan and I can see myself reading it again at some point in the future.  I love Austen’s style.

10.   What’s Bred in the Bone / Robertson Davies
The most enjoyable re-read of my year!  I adore Davies’ writing and I consider this book to be his masterpiece.  Probably also the best Can Lit that I read this year.

Which were your best reads of 2013?


  1. Did you review any of these this year? If so, you should post a link for them!

  2. That's a great idea, Braedonnal. Thank you for the suggestion & for stopping by!