Top Ten Books for 2013

top ten books 2013

It’s that time of year (the last reading day of 2013) where I pick my favourite and bests. The first nine are in no particular order:

Barracuda by Christos Tsiolkas – a sure-fire conversation starter.

The Last Banquet by Jonathan Grimwood – it’s melodramatic, it’s over the top, it’s a brilliant read.

99 Reasons Why by Caroline Smailes – truly creative writing and clever publishing. It’s a reading ‘experience’.

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion – yes, it’s pure rom-com but the characters linger, unlike other books in the same genre.

A Thousand Pardons by Jonathan Dee – I always enjoy the way Dee balances the ludicrous with the everyday.

The Gourmet by Muriel Barbery – best read in one sitting to truly appreciate the punchline ending.

The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell – if there’s one book that has frustrated the shit out of readers this year, it’s this one. But boy, what a page-turner.

Message From an Unknown Chinese Mother by Xinran – traumatic, heartbreaking, unforgettable.

Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead – at first you laugh… But there’s depth in the story that stays with you.

My favourite book of 2013Burial Rites by Hannah Kent – beautiful, memorable.


I’m exceptionally bad at sticking to the rules. Honourable mentions to:

My Notorious Life by Kate Manning (like The Last Banquet, it’s an action-packed page-turner).

The Post Office Girl by Stefan Zweig – unexpected gem.

Little Known Facts by Christine Sneed – Sneed is one to watch.

The Middlesteins by Jami Attenberg – best ‘family drama’ I read this year.

What Nora Knew by Linda Yellin – not released until 2014 but it’s chick-lit perfection.


19 responses

  1. A great and worthy list! Thanks for linking back to some of your reviews here too. I look forward to reading your thoughts on some of the ones I haven’t read yet! I’m a big fan of Christos Tsiolkas but I just haven’t found time to read Barracuda yet. It’s high on my list for early 2014. Happy new year 🙂

  2. Burial Rites made mine as well. The Other Typist didn’t, but could’ve. I (of course) loved Seating Arrangements and it made my 2012 top ten list. Have you started on Shipstead’s new one? Also, as an aside, have you been getting a lot of search terms looking for a comparison between Amber Dermont and Donna Tartt? I’ve gotten a bunch over the last few days…

    • Haven’t started Astonish Me yet – it’s burning a hole in my pocket (so to speak) but I have a few other ARCs to read first. Really trying not to request as many this year but NetGalley is very, very seductive.

      Oddly, I’ve had a few visits on Dermont and Shipstead as well (not heaps) but also a few visits for people looking for ‘boarding school dorms’ – which I think leads them to Dermont here.

    • Have you read Sneed’s short story collection? I haven’t yet, but it’s in my summer TBR stack.

      On Twitter yesterday, Sneed told me that there’s another book in the pipeline, this one set in Paris. Oh-la-la! Scheduled for publication by Bloomsbury in 2015. Hooray!

  3. The Rosie Project really is a lot of fun – I absolutely loved the characterization. Also, I’m incredibly intrigued by The Last Banquet. I’ve heard good things about it several times over the past few months. I may have to pick it up soon!

  4. I’ve got What Nora Knew lined up and ready to go, and a coworker has been raving about My Notorious Life — really looking forward to both! The Rosie Project just made me so happy. Great list!

  5. Oh my gosh, I am so excited to read The Rosie Project!!! I can’t believe I haven’t read it yet esp because I was excited since last MAY, haha. I need to get on it.

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