Elena’s top reads of 2013

This year I’ve picked my very  favourite 5 reads and then a smattering of other recommended reads. I tried and tried to come up with a top ten but it was much too hard to trim it down this year!

lifeLife after life by Kate Atkinson

If I had to pick my top book of the year, I would be terribly torn between this and the George RR Martin book. This is a structurally brilliant novel giving an account of life from 1910 to after the second world war. I haven’t read anything else quite like it. 


thronesA song of Ice and fire by George R R Martin 

The book which introduced me to the wonderful, awe-inspiring Game of Thrones series. I took book one on holiday with me, became so savagely addicted I had to buy book two while I was away and then read all the remaining published titles over a few months. I cannot wait for the next installment in the series.

orkneyOrkney by Amy Sackville

Mysterious and unsettling tale of the honeymoon of an older professor and his very young, just graduated wife. Best described as a mash-up between Nabokov’s Lolita and T. S. Eliot’s The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.

jonmcgThis Isn’t The Sort of Thing That Happens To Someone Like You by Jon McGregor

Simply the best collection of short-stories I’ve ever read. All set in the flat-lands of East Anglia and Lincolnshire this wonderfully written & subtle collection repays careful reading.

Gone girlGone Girl by Gillian Flynn

The link above isn’t my review- someone else got there before me- but I too loved this twisty, nasty, thriller with its perfectly evil villain.

Other books I particularly enjoyed:

The Panopticon by Jenni Fagan– hard-hitting, heart-breaking, bleak, funny and even hopeful; Diving Belles by Lucy Wood– a magical collection of short stories;  The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith– J K Rowling’s crime debut under an assumed name; The marrying of Chani Kaufmann by Eve Harris– a really affecting book with great characters, set in the Ultra-Orthodox Jewish community of London; discovering the marvelous Georgette Heyer some years after everyone else; The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan– another book with a very interesting structure; and When nights were cold by Susanna Jones– a dark and sinister tale of repression and obsession, set in Edwardian England.

And finally, 3 non-fiction picks: Chavs by Owen Jones– an insightful look at the class system of the UK; Feral by George Monbiot– on the successes and failures of conservation; and Fifty shades of feminism, compiled by Lisa Appignanesi, Susie Orbach & Rachel Holmes– a very readable series of essays on feminism.

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