Top 10 Books I’ve Read So Far This Year


By this point last year, I’d read The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach. Had I not read another good book for the remainder of the year, I would have been satisfied that 2012 had been a ‘good reading year’. In fact, 2012 got even better when I read Lisa Klaussman’s Tigers in Red Weather.

But 2013 is another story.

When I saw this week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic – best books read so far this year – the first thing I thought was ‘This year, I haven’t found ‘the one’.’ I’ve read some great books (as the list below demonstrates) but I haven’t found the one book that I press onto everyone I meet.Yet.

So this list of excellent books comes with qualifiers – I loved all of these novels but I’m not necessarily recommending them to ALL THE PEOPLE (although The Rosie Project comes darn close).

1. Foal’s Bread by Gillian Mears – this is cheating because I read it at the end of last year, too late to make my 2012 ‘best of’ lists. But it is breathtaking.

2. 99 Reasons Why by Caroline Smailes – like nothing I’ve ever read before (and I still haven’t looked up the alternative endings!).

3. A Thousand Pardons by Jonathan Dee – Dee does the family in crisis and #firstworldproblems so beautifully.

4. The Gourmet by Muriel Barbery – for lovers of a punchline ending.

5. Little Known Facts by Christine Sneed – this book took me by surprise – I was expecting fluff but got excellent, compelling writing instead #huzzah

6. Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead – for characters you love to loathe.

7. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion – so, so funny.

8. The Middlesteins by Jami Attenberg – need more families in crisis? This one’s a winner.

9. The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell – if all the people just read this book then we could have a sensible and open discussion about the ending. Until then, sorry, no spoilers here.

10. Big Brother by Lionel Shriver – the ending will make some people scream and throw the book across the room. I thought, Shriver, you’re brilliant because I never saw that coming.

23 responses

  1. I have several of these on my list – The Rosie Project, which doesn’t come out until fall, Little Known Facts, and A Thousand Pardons. You know I enjoyed Seating Arrangements and The Other Typist (4 searches for ‘The Other Typist ending’ today).

    I agree, I haven’t found ‘the one’ this year yet, but NOS4A2 and Double Feature come close for me. Last year I had Tell the Wolves I’m Home and Seating Arrangements (which, incidentally, you got the short end of the cover stick) as runner up.

    And you show more restraint than me re: the alternate endings. Nicely done.

    • Five searches for Other Typist ending so far today…

      I’m looking forward to Double Feature and of course, Tell The Wolves I’m Home is lurking on my list somewhere… 😉

      The other covers for Seating Arrangements were more appealing – certainly more ‘New England’. I think it’s interesting how they change covers for different countries – I mentioned that very issue in this post – Carrie’s latest book (Mateship with Birds) has a brilliant cover featuring a section from an original oil painting. The cover the publishers gave it for the UK edition is weak – two kookaburras on a branch (apparently they wanted to use owls, more familiar to UK readers, which is ridiculous because the book is about kookaburras). Not sure if this book has made it to the US – apparently there were censorship issues – two particular scenes were deemed too offensive for US readers!

      • It doesn’t look like it has been released here (it’s not available to purchase at any rate, though I can have it shipped from the UK). I’m very curious about the two scenes now. Do they have to do with sex somehow? Because violence does not seem to phase Americans, but heaven forbid there’s sex (no one ever has sex here before 18 or marriage, of course 😉 ).

        I liked the US hardcover edition of Seating Arrangements and thought the paperback was decent. The Norwegian cover was also quite fun too. Actually, The Rosie Project cover would look good on Seating Arrangements.

      • Yes, both scenes involve sex – one is near the end of the book and telling would be spoiling but the other, at the very beginning, involves a guy exposing himself to a child. I’m sure if you ever get to read it, you’ll know exactly the scenes I’m talking about when you read them.

        I do always find the US ‘standards’ and censorship a little odd in relation to violence and sex… *still trying to get over reading a scene in Brett Easton Ellis’s ‘Imperial Bedrooms’*

        The Aus cover of Rosie Project was far less pretty than the lobster design I included for this post – ours was orange and black and featured a cyclist. I used the lobster one because I figured people would then recognise it when it hit US bookstores (and buy Australian authors….)

  2. I’ve heard a lot of good things about The Middlesteins, but haven’t been able to bring myself to read it. Maybe I should. A couple of your others are already on my TBR list, but thanks for pointing out some new ones.

  3. 99 Reasons Why sounds FUN! I love choose your own adventure type books and this sounds pretty similar.
    I also have yet to find ‘the one’ this year although Life After Life by Kate Atkinson came pretty darn close. I still have hope though. 🙂 Hope you find yours.

  4. This list has a lot of books I’m interested in… The Other Typist sounds great. I haven’t read any of these. I sympathize with your “I haven’t found the one yet” idea. I think Where’d You Go Bernadette and Eleanor & Park may be “the ones” for me.

    • I haven’t read Where’d You Go Bernadette but have heard great things about it. I read Eleanor & Park last year – I enjoyed (!) it but not as much as some people have…(I’m not a huge YA reader).

      The Other Typist is GRIPPING.

  5. I still need to read The Middlesteins. I had heard of it before the book was published and always intended to read it… and then it slipped my mind. I’m no less interested in it now than I was before — it sounds like a great novel.

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