Total Reading: 163
Nongendered (multiple authors): 2
Non Fiction: 41
French (Quebecois): 2
My Own Books: 78
Library Books: 85
Review Copies: 16
(Last year I was feeling that I'd taken on too many review copies, as I feel obliged to read all of the books I ask for ... this is nearly half of last year's total & much more manageable!)
As usual, I seem to have twice as many female authors than male; a balance between library books and my own; a handful of rereads; and I heavily lean toward fiction. Not many surprises there! I have fallen in the number of translations I read this year, and have read fewer e-books as well. Not sure why for either of those things -- just the way things fell out this year.
And now for my Best Reads of the Year! This year I found a widely varying range of reads. I read some that I've owned for years, some new releases fresh from my library, and a few 'required reads' for various projects that were a mixture of good and meh.
Here are my favourite reads of the year, based on my personal enjoyment of them. Whether it was the writing, the characters or some special element of the story, each of these books was memorable in its way. They are not ranked in any order, except for order of reading.
|Okay, these were my 2 absolute faves!|
I love Flavia de Luce and this volume of her adventures was particularly thrilling -- I am so eagerly anticipating the next one in this series, out shortly, to follow up on the cliffhanger ending of Speaking From Among the Bones!
Sir Charles Grandison / Samuel Richardson
I finally read this door-stopper of a novel, inspired by my Postal Reading Challenge to take it down off the shelf. Despite its excessive size, it turned out to be one of my very favourite reads of the year. It had humour, adventure, great characters, astonishing relevance (despite its 1753 publication date), and was such a great read! Since it was so very long, I wrote about it in segments: First Thoughts, and then Second Thoughts, and lastly, Final Thoughts!
Astray / Emma Donoghue
I don't often love short story collection; admire, yes, find interesting, yes, but this collection I really did love. Donoghue writes tales sparked by historical incidents and with the exception of one story, I was drawn in and dazzled by this collection.
When I Was Young and In My Prime / Alayna Munce
This was my most unexpected discovery of 2013, and a wonderful one. A poetic and highly individual narrative about a girl, her family, and memory, this packed an emotional wallop and beautiful writing as well.
A Tale For the Time Being / Ruth Ozeki
This was probably tied with Sir Charles Grandison as my favourite read of the year. It's great, everybody says so ;) After a bit of a slow start, I couldn't stop reading this and was surprised and astonished by how it all turned out. Excellent, excellent book.
Life After Life / Kate Atkinson
I'm in the camp of those who loved this book. One to read all in one go, I think, to get the full immersive experience of Ursula's birth, death, rebirth, death, etc. etc. Even with its flaws, I thought this was a masterful tale and extremely memorable too.
An Unsuitable Attachment / Barbara Pym
My favourite Pym from a year of multiple Pym readings. This one was just my thing, as much of it takes place in a library, and the action, characters, and sly wit all amused me greatly.
The Golem and the Jinni / Helene Wecker
A book recommended by bloggers, I enjoyed this long, imaginative novel about a golem and a jinni in turn-of-the-century New York. It brought up issues of identity and belonging along with its fantastical premise, blending it all into a thoughtful story.
The Antagonist / Lynn Coady
A modern epistolary novel told in emails, this screed by Gordon "Rank" Rankin to an old friend, now novelist, who has co-opted his life story (as Rank sees it) crackles with energy, angst, pathos and a touch of aggression as well.
My Ghosts / Mary Swan
I'm actually quite surprised that I haven't heard more about this Canadian novel yet -- published in September it seems to have just quietly appeared. It's an excellent, thoughtful look at families down the years. Who are we and what part do our memories play in our identity? And what happens when you don't know your forebears but you are so much like them? It is beautifully written, a slow moving study of the tangled branches of a family tree.
Brown Girl in the Ring / Nalo Hopkinson
For sheer imaginative power I think this tops nearly anything else I've read this year. Apocalyptic Toronto, magic, spirits, street kids, gang members, drugs, unhealthy love... while it might sound like the headlines this year, this book was a fascinating imaginative journey.
Threading Light / Lorri Neilsen Glenn
Such a gorgeous, tiny read. Grief, poetry, carrying on; all are themes in this powerful book.
Comfort Food for Breakups / Marusya Bociurkiw
This set of essays really caught me this year; all about food, family and identity, they reveal a reflective mind at work, capturing big ideas in small, daily moments.
An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth / Chris Hadfield
I worried needlessly that this would be a fluff book -- instead it turned out to be a solid read with great life advice: work hard and enjoy the journey. While not perfect, it was still a great read by a fascinating character who we all wanted to know more about this year.