Saturday, 11 January 2014

Best of 2013

I'm reading a lot of different book blogs at the moment and everyone seems to be putting out some thoughts on their favourite reads of 2013, or best books, or something along those lines, so I'm jumping in on the action since the year has drawn to a close. I was reflecting on all the posts I made in 2013 and making a list on my phone of some of the books I wanted to mention, and I thought to myself, 'I'll keep it to around ten books or so, that should be a nice round number. After all, I only read 52 books last year.'

For my top books of the year, I have 20 out of 52.

So I guess I'll start out this way - I really enjoyed a lot of the books I read last year, and that warms my cockles because I'm all about the enjoyment. However for the purposes of this post I would like to single out the books that really obsessed me this year. I recently came across from Nora Ephron which I think sums up the way I feel about reading books like this perfectly:

“There is something called the rapture of the deep, and it refers to what happens when a deep-sea diver spends too much time at the bottom of the ocean and can't tell which way is up. When he surfaces, he's liable to have a condition called the bends, where the body can't adapt to the oxygen levels in the atmosphere. All of this happens to me when I surface from a great book.”

Here are the books which rapture-ised me this year:

Wild by Cheryl Strayed - I absolutely loved this memoir and everyone who I've passed it onto has also really enjoyed reading it. I just loved it. There's a film out later this year, so hopefully they do a good job with it.

20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill - this book of short stories blew my mind. I read the majority of it on a car journey to France with my family. Normally I get terribly car sick and can't read at all in the car, so it's a testament to how good these stories are that I just couldn't stop myself reading them.

Tampa by Alissa Nutting - this book kind of crept up on me, and I didn't realise just how addictive it was going to be, until I started reading it and then couldn't tear my eyes away. Much like 29th Century Ghosts, I had to sacrifice some sleep to get deeper into this book. Totally worth it.

Joyland by Stephen King - I really enjoyed this book for the story and the characters and all the usual reasons, however I also find myself looking back at this book with a particular fondness because of the circumstances under which I read it. It was perfect. I was in the gorgeous Cornish countryside, in pretty much total solitude with Luke. Totally at peace and the perfect circumstances under which to fully immerse myself and enjoy this book.

Honourable mentions go to: The Vanishers by Heidi Julavits; The Round House by Louise Erdrich; We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver; N0S-4R2 by Joe Hill; Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk and Doctor Sleep by Stephen King. I loved all of these books but they didn't quite suck me in as much as the books above, for whatever reasons.

I'm feeling really excited about reading in 2014 - I've received some wonderful books for Christmas and my birthday, and there are some really great new books that I'm looking forward to getting my hands on, as well as some older books that I'd love to re-visit. So many books and so little time! If there was a job out there where I could become some sort of professional reader, I'd be set for life. I'd love to take a year off work and spend it caught up in my own rapture of the deep...

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