five favourites for 2013

Okay. Look. Yes, I know I said in my previous post that I wasn’t going to do this…but I couldn’t help myself.

I might not have read or written much this year – but that doesn’t alter the fact that some great books came my way in 2013. So, with nothing to do on New Year’s Eve other than ordering takeaway and watching Sherlock on DVD, I thought I’d put together a last-minute post and ramble a little about five of my favourite books for the year. Grab a seat!

(Due to my…ahem…near complete lack of reviews for the books I’m about to mention, I’ll post a link with each book where you can find out more. Then, ideally, purchase a copy to add to your 2014 reading list!)

Ready? Let’s get started.

seaheartsSea Hearts ~ Margo Lanagan

This book. It’s a bad influence. It made me want to run to the ocean and throw myself into the waves; feel the squelch of sand between my toes and take sanctuary from the biting cold of the wind in the warm, salty water – but all that would have meant I’d have had to stop reading Sea Hearts. And there was absolutely no chance of that happening. I wasn’t putting this book down for anyone.

Sea Hearts enchanted me completely. And I’m not the only one. Take a look at this year’s Meanjin Tournament of Books!

Click here to find out more about Sea Hearts

if_nobody_speaks_of_remarkable_things If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things ~ Jon McGregor

Completely irresistible. From the first sentence to the last, I was utterly hooked. Reading this book is the literary equivalent of stuffing your face with chocolate mud cake. It’s dense and lavish and delicious. But at the same time, there’s a rawness about Remarkable Things that will catch you unaware; it will overwhelm you. It’s sad and sweet and almost impossibly intricate. It burns with an intensity that hurts – but in the best possible way.

Click here to find out more about If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things

rosieThe Rosie Project ~ Graeme Simsion

Yes, The Rosie Project. I know – it was everywhere this year.

You know what? This book is everywhere because it’s actually really good. Popularity isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The Rosie Project is simply delightful. You’d have to have a heart of stone not to love Don.

Sequel, please.

Click here to find out more about The Rosie Project

darknessDarkness on the Edge of Town ~ Jessie Cole

From a book that was everywhere, to a book that’s slipped by with little fanfare (as Elizabeth Lhuede has already pointed out). Which is a shame, because it’s such a tense, thrilling read. And that ending! I still haven’t recovered.

My first New Year’s Resolution is to review this book. I will I will I will. But the thing with writing reviews is that sometimes, the books you desperately want to tell the world about aren’t always the books that are easy to write about, for whatever reason.

Click here to find out more about Darkness on the Edge of Town

girl just_a_girl ~ Kirsten Krauth – reviewed here

I was nothing like Krauth’s Layla when I was fourteen. I read lots of books – usually ones about dragons and wizards and spent most of my time listening to unbelievably awful pop music. I was still a child. Layla and I have nothing in common. But still, there’s a connection. Or is it just that I’ve become one of those sad thirty-somethings who thinks they still have what it takes to get Kids These Days? Who knows.

After reading just_a_girl, I’m unable to forget Layla. She’s left a piece of herself behind. I commute from Western Sydney to the city every day and I see echoes of her. The closing image of just_a_girl left me with a chill that’s settled into my bones. I find myself wondering about Layla all the time – and wishing her a little warmth.

Click here to find out more about just_a_girl

Honourable mentions? Don’t mind if I do! I loved all the short story collections I’ve read this year. Ryan O’Neill’s Weight of a Human Heart, Cate Kennedy’s Like a House on Fire, White Light by Mark O’Flynn (reviewed here!) – all brilliant.

Another exciting collection of short stories – The Great Unknown – is next on my reading list, and I’m really looking forward to getting into it.

In fact, my To Read pile is getting seriously out of control. I’d better get on to that tomorrow.

That’s it for me for this year. Another year of literary adventure beckons.

Happy new year – and even happier reading!

Michelle

Author: Michelle

Reader, writer, wannabe. Literary critic (with training wheels on). Blogging my way through the 20th century’s classic novels in chronological order.

12 thoughts on “five favourites for 2013”

  1. I agree with you on The Rosie Project – people too often reject mainstream for the sake of it. I heard Simsion talk about the book and he suggested that there was a sequel and a prequel in the works. He mentioned how difficult sequels to rom-coms actually are – do people want to know about the everyday routine of married (or otherwise) life? No! Anyway, he assured his audience that he had found a way to make more Don Tillman work. http://booksaremyfavouriteandbest.wordpress.com/2013/06/28/graeme-simsion-and-the-rosie-project/

    I’m about to start Just_a_girl – pleased to see it on so many ‘best’ lists.

    1. Generally speaking, I’m not a fan of sequels, but I really think a sequel to Rosie would work. At least, I have my fingers crossed that it works. Hope you enjoy just_a_girl as much as I did!

  2. Thanks so much for championing just_a_girl, Michelle. I am really grateful for your continuing response to it. From your list I have read Rosie Project (thought was good) but Jessie Cole’s book really impressed me. Great debut novel! Sea Hearts is sitting my bed at the top of the pile. Something tells me I am going to LOVE Margo Lanagan’s style.

  3. I was really surprised by how much I liked The Rosie Project as I often DON’T connect with the books that ‘everyone’ is reading. But it was so much fun. If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things is a beautiful book and quite underrated I think. I must read Darkness on the Edge of Town – it’s been on my list for a while now. I’ll get there eventually.

    1. I’d never heard of “If Nobody Speaks…” until last year, when two people with great taste in books mentioned it and the name stuck in my head. Why isn’t this book everywhere? I hope you get to “Darkness…” eventually! I know how it is, though – my To Read pile is out of control this year.

Something to say?