Just before I push on with this, I just want to take the opportunity to say Happy 2014 to all. I hope the coming year is filled with plenty of reading and the discovery of new books. In this countdown of mine, even if I have read them over the past year they may not have been written in the past year. I would also love to read some of your top 10 reads of 2013. Please write them in the comments below.
MY TOP 10 READS OF 2013.
1. The Green Mile by Steven King – I think everyone knows this book, so there’s no need to explain the plot. A fantastic multi-layered story (originally published in volumes) about a guard who works on the area of America’s death row known as the Green Mile. The film adaptation of the book is top class, and the only book I can think of which has a very faithful film adaptation.
2. The Uninvited by Liz Jensen – I suppose you could call this book ‘dystopian’, where children go around killing adults and Hesketh Lock, an anthropologist with Asberger’s Syndrome, has to solve the case while also trying to have a good relationship with his stepson, Freddie. This is a very topical book covering a range of subjects such as child culture, hysteria, relations with Chinese powers, homosexuality and pandemics. I read it while on the motorway all the way from Winchester down to Southampton and home to Guernsey again. Some bits in the book were rather awkward but other bits of the book gave me a chill down my spine.
3. Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella – An offering from the author of the Shopaholic series. This is about a girl, Lara, whose great-aunt Sadie dies, but returns to haunt her in the guise of her 25-year-old self. She requests that Lara return a dragonfly necklace that was lost and along the way Lara learns a lot about her aunt’s past. A lovely book about family and discovery, it will make you shed a few tears along the way. However, this won’t be the same for everyone as I lent it to my 15-year-old sister and she didn’t react in the way I did. Maybe I’m just incredibly mushy, who can say?
4. Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux – People are probably more likely to know this book from the musical by Andrew Lloyd Weber. If that is what you seek, then you may be disappointed. It is the story of Erik, the ‘Angel of Music’ who abducts a young beautiful chorus singer called Christine and decides that she will marry him. That is as best as I can sum it up without writing a complete sypnosis complete with quotes. It has a lot to say about inner beauty and forgiveness, but it is not as overtly romantic as the film or the play is. Still, a lovely little gem of a book.
5. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott – The story of an American family around the time of the American Civil War, this is another little gem of a saga. Maybe because I come from a big family myself, I can identify with certain parts of it but it was a rather fun, harmless book. However, the only downside I can think of to do with it would have to be that it can be a bit preachy at times.
6. Filth by Irvine Welsh – The book is much darker than the film. It is written in the typical Glaswegian dialect which make the reader feel as if they are in the proverbial shoes of the narrator. Bruce Robertson is an alcoholic, drug-addicted policeman desperate for a promotion while also trying to deal with his inner demons, profound schizophrenia and a tapeworm in his gut which takes over large parts of the text. All of the story arcs come together disturbingly at the end.
7. The Founding by Cynthia Harrod Eagles – It’s the first book of the Moreland saga, about a family spanning from the 1440s right down to 1930s+. This is the first book, when the main matriarch, Eleanor Courtenay, married Robert Moreland and founded the (fictional) dynasty of the Morelands. It covers historical dates and eras succinctly and with fluid panache, making characters who we can sympathize with and even identify with. I hate to admit it but I am a sucker for family trees in sagas and it is all laid out so readers can easily follow the characters throughout their story arc.
8. Lord of The Flies by William Golding – A book about some boys stranded on an island after being involved in a plane explosion. Without the guidance of adults, they soon turn to savagery and violence. You could draw many parallels with modern society but it always reminds me of what happens to my brother and sister when they are left unsupervised. That being said, they don’t resort to worshipping pigs heads. Not yet, anyway.
9. Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie – Another offering from Christie, one of the greatest crime novel writers of all time. The way the story is written, it gives everyone involved a motive and some of the story arcs go in interesting directions.
10. Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky – A man commits a murder and spends the rest of the novel justifying it. I think Russian authors write some of the best literature of all time. People should really start reading more foreign authors because they often have a lot to say about the topics within their books.
Thanks for reading my list. What are your Top 10 reads of 2013?