2013 in Books – The Good, the Great, and the Amazing

2013 was a good year for books. Not as great as the previous couple of years but still okay. Out of the thirty books I’ve read, these are the ones I enjoyed the most.

Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Novels and Stories, Volume II by Arthur Conan Doyle
Although I’m not a great fan of detective stories, I love Conan Doyle’s most famous character and his trusted sidekick. The fact that the action is set during the Victorian period also contributed a lot to making me like this book. Hopefully I’ll get to read volume I this year. And everything else Sherlock Holmes.

Dracula by Bram Stoker
I have wanted to read this book for a long time and when I did it was amazing. Gothic horror novel, three impossible words to resist. It is very likely that I will read it again.

Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman
As short stories go, this one is a treasure of a book. I particularly liked Other People because the end was perfection and unexpected. All I can say is that it starts with a demon and it’s not a happy story. Also the poem The Day the Saucers Came, which is not about saucers but something else entirely, left me in a melancholy state. There are also notes about how Gaiman got the idea for each story. I’ve always liked those.

Give Me Your Heart: Tales of Mystery and Suspense by Joyce Carol Oates
My first Joyce Carol Oates book, and it was a pleasure to read. Love gone wrong, suspicions, murder, all blend together in these tales that shine a light into the darkest corners of the human heart. I will definitely read more books by this author, perhaps The Accursed although it’s a huge book and I’m not particularly fond of huge books. Unless they’re written by Stephen King.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
This is a book that melted my heart. Gaiman’s story of a childhood revisited is nothing short of wonderful – there’s magic, a great friend, and a black kitten. I loved that kitten.

In One Person by John Irving
It took me a while to get used to Irving’s slow pace – this book taught me patience and given its subject, the journey of a man who tries to come to terms with his sexuality, it was an interesting read. I also liked A Widow for One Year, maybe a little bit better. I think A Prayer for Owen Meany should be next on my list.

The Observations by Jane Harris
A Victorian adventure imbued with humour, wit, and secrets, Bessy’s tale is nothing short of entertaining, while her distinctive voice gives the book a truly Victorian feel. One of the most enjoyable books I’ve read this year.

The Road Home by Rose Tremain
The story of Lev, an East European trying to find a better life in London grabbed me from the first page. It brought back memories, and it’s one of the things I loved this book for. A bitter-sweet tale about fighting for your dreams. Inspirational.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
The best book I have read last year. The kind that breaks your heart but you love it anyway. The kind that makes you want to start re-reading again because you just can’t accept the fact that it’s over. It combines a heart breaking story with incredible story-telling and superb writing. And stories within stories. And the narrator is Death, how amazing is that?
Zusak’s tale of an orphan girl trying to survive during World War II is not just a story of survival but one of love, and an ode to books everywhere. If you liked Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 you’re going to love this. I stopped many times and just stared at the words and marked the pages which had the most beautiful paragraphs. And I put those beautiful words together. I call it “The Book Thief Poem”.

Fragile Things
Give Me Your Heart
The Ocean at the End of the Lane - Neil Gaiman
In One Person
The Observations - Jane Harris
The Book Thief

What amazing books did you read in 2013?

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13 Responses to 2013 in Books – The Good, the Great, and the Amazing

  1. Athira says:

    I loved some of the books you’ve mentioned here but there are lots I need to read and haven’t. The Book Thief especially. Love your list!

  2. Fragile Things is a great collection, one that I personally enjoyed even more after I read it for the first time when I later listened to the audio, which Neil reads. There were stories I thought were okay when reading it that came alive and made a different impression when Neil was reading his own work.

    I haven’t read much of Doyles’ Holmes canon, but I have enjoyed what I’ve read.

    I am of course over the moon to see Dracula on your list, as it is my favorite novel. It always makes me smile when people finally read it and like it.

    • Delia says:

      Ah yes, I remember listening to Neil read The Day the Saucers Came. He was really good, I enjoyed that. His short stories are truly special.

      I think I might get one of those “complete works” for Doyle’s work, saves me the trouble of asking myself, did I read that story? And they’re beautiful as well.

      Dracula is your favorite novel, well, I didn’t expect that. I thought your favorite would be a science fiction book. 😉
      I loved reading Dracula but I have a suspicion I got the abridged version, because nowhere in the book I have is there a reference to Dracula being in love with Mina or thinking she was his reincarnated lost love. He was just evil and used her whenever it suited him.

  3. Vishy says:

    Wonderful list, Delia! Enjoyed reading about your favourite books of the year. I read ‘The Ocean at the End of the Lane’ after I read your review of it and I loved it. I enjoyed ‘Dracula’ and ‘Sherlock Holmes’ when I read them. After reading your post, I am inspired to read the Sherlock Holmes stories again. Out of your favourite books, I want to read ‘The Observations’ and ‘The Book Thief’. Especially ‘The Book Thief’. I can’t wait to read it.

    Hope you have a wonderful reading year in 2014 with many new wonderful books and beautiful reading moments.

    • Delia says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed The Ocean at the End of the Lane – I am happy that my review made you read it. 🙂
      The Book Thief is the kind of book you want to make all your friends read because it’s that good. I hope you get to read it this year. It’s one of those books that is very difficult not to like.
      The Observations was a lot of fun. I hope you get to read that too.

  4. Brian Joseph says:

    These are some great books. I share your feelings on Dracula. It was such an effective and atmospheric novel.

    I want to get to both The Book Thief as well as Sherlock Holmes myself. Hopefully sooner rather then later.

    • Delia says:

      Dracula is a great book, I’m glad I finally got around to reading it.
      Do read The Book Thief. It’s wonderful.
      We should do a Sherlock Holmes month. 🙂

  5. Rowena says:

    Great booklist! Happy reading in 2014:)

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