Friday, 20 December 2013

My Top Ten Books of 2013

I've kept it to a final list of ten..! (I realise that overall this week I've flagged up 34 books in all - out of about 106 I've read this year...which sounds like a high proportion but, whatever else it's been, 2013 has been a good year for books.)

Here's my top recommendations:

Tarnished – Julia Crouch (A really very dark thriller indeed – about violent death and de-cluttering a bungalow.)

Heft – Liz Moore (A beautiful novel about redemption and drawing people together and being trapped in the house for years.)

Light Between Oceans – M.L Herdman (A hideous mistake has huge repercussions and lots of lovely stuff about lighthouses.)

The Hour Between – Sebastian Stuart (Hilarious, warm, - how to grow up clever and queer. Another one of my favourites from 2013 that I feel like rereading right now.)

The Paris Wife – Paula McLain (I never thought dreary old butch Hemingway would interest me as much as he did in two books this year (the other being Humphrey Carpenter’s group biography.) This is a fabulous novel about the neglected first wife and the vivid, dramatic life she hung onto.)

Briefs Encountered – Julian Clary (More touching and strange than I was expecting. A genuinely haunting and self-mocking novel.)

The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris – Jenny Colgan (Brilliant and funny and I believe in absolutely everyone. The most persuasively romantic novel of my year.)

Longbourn – Jo Baker (Probably the best written book of my year. It’s a wonderful literary game. Deadly serious and wounding. A lovely counter-argument to recent, stupidly nostalgic celebrations of class inequalities.)

Calling Mrs Christmas – Carole Matthews (My favourite Matthews yet. Properly festive – and all about the possible cost of suddenly finding yourself on the brink of getting your heart’s desire.)

The Irresistable Blueberry Bakeshop and CafĂ© – Mary Simses (It looks like cosy New England romance and just stuff about cakes. But it has some hilarious moments of people making wassocks of themselves when they really don’t want to. It’s fairytalish, sentimental and all about finding home again – but who cares? I loved it.)

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