A Year of Reading

I won’t lie… this week inspiration fled for pastures new, probably with a good bottle of gin, some fancy tonic, some chilli chocolate and a stash of good books.

So I decided to let you into my book stash.

This year I’ve read quite a few books that I haven’t worked on, and as I work mainly in non-fiction I tend to read fiction when I get the chance.

First up here’s my stash of favourite books this year.

fave books 2013

I’ve blogged about all but the top one. The one I didn’t blog about is actually a play – Dunsinane by David Greig (available from faber.co.uk). I went to see the play while it was on tour with the National Theatre of Scotland & the RSC, catching it at Eden Court Theatre. For those of you who’ve probably never heard of it, it’s a sequel to Macbeth (or should I say “the Scottish Play”? eek… this blog will probably now self-destruct in 60 seconds). The National Theatre website describes it thus:

Macbeth is dead. Under cover of night, an English army has swept through the landscape, killed the tyrant and taken the seat of power.

Attempting to restore peace and put in place a new ruler, Siward, the commanding officer, is beset by a brutal guerrilla uprising. Increasingly isolated from his own men and Scottish allies alike, his efforts to restore order appear futile as the situation spins out of control.


Now, I love the theatre, it takes up a large part of my life, but I can’t remember the last time I went to see a production and was moved enough to buy the playscript. This one is special… it takes all that is great in a Shakespeare play, continues with the story and with wit and wisdom takes us back into the ravaged Scotland of the original. I really wish they had filmed this play for Digital Theatre.

But anyway, there you go…my favourite books of 2013. I have also just realised that I left out one amazing book from the pile….Jo Baker’s Longbourn which is just out in paperback…if you are quick it’s on offer at Amazon.

You may have noticed I tend to blog about the books I like, and not the ones I don’t. There are two reasons for this.

  1. I really don’t like offending people who have put their heart and soul into their literary creations. Unlike many readers I’ve seen the other side of the coin… the work that goes into a book, the hours and hours, the blood, sweat and tears. I’ll happily praise a book that I love (for whatever reason), but sometimes it’s best to say nothing.
  2. If I don’t have something nice to say, I tend to try not to say it. I will give constructive criticism when it is asked for, but if it isn’t asked for I won’t spend hours on breaking down why I don’t like a book. That’s a paid reviewers job.

So here are the two books that I tried last year and just didn’t like:

worst books 2013

Mantel’s… well I just could not get on with the writing style and as a result I felt no love for the characters. The second is not a new book, but I thought a book on the Resurrectionists would be good reading. It started well, I liked the characters… then everything slid, lost its way and ended as though the writer just ran out of steam. Shame.

Finally…the Tower.

book pile

Here is my current “to read” pile. Not in the order that I’m going to read them, I’ll pick whichever I fancy at the time. Although I actually need to buy the first Deborah Harkness book A Discovery of Witches… I thought I had it, then realised I don’t. Barbara Erskine is a favourite author of mine, so I shall probably read that next, then Cronin, then Herbert. Or I may change my mind. And there are other books that must be added to the pile. Lloyd Shepherd’s upcoming new novel for a start.

So there you go….my book piles.

Are yours bigger and better, are you on top of your reading or are you a rare creature that doesn’t have a book pile?

6 Comments on “A Year of Reading

  1. Oh I loved Blood in the Glen, nonf iction but well done and much fun and enough detail to make you go , really! but no enough to yuck! 🙂 I also want to read the fitzgerald pair! mind you I have them at work 😉

    • I got that off the author Ruan…and it’s been sitting in my pile for AGES.

      I’m sure you’ll find time to read the Fitz books…eventually!

  2. You know, it took me a while to get into Mandel’s writing style, probably a good 70 pages but, once I did, I was hooked and devoured both Wolf Hall and Bring up the bodies and now I am itching for the third volume. On the other hand, I always felt Life of Pi was hugely overrated – interested to know what you think once you get done with it.

    • For me it was all those damn semi-colons. I may go back to Wolf Hall at some point, but I got just over halfway through before I ditched it.

      I’ll admit I got Life of Pi cheap…once I’ve read it I’ll put a review up 🙂

  3. My fiction pile is very small. I tend not to commit to even making a pile because so much time is used up in reading non-fiction for work. But thank’s to Gaiman, I am back into sic-fi and fantasy. I actually read Gaiman’s American Gods last year. Just now finished a fantasy novel by a local author here in Houston, Texas, the one that features Tarot reading and parallel worlds of fantasy and gritty reality (The Hanged Man’s Wife, by Artemis Greenleaf).

    For 2014, I can think of about 20 Tarot books I’d love to read, but in the fiction department, I received Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane, and so that one is next. No spoilers,now! 😉

    • Go read Ocean NOW!!! 🙂

      I never mean to have a pile, but I’m a serial book buyer…I cant help it, it’s an affliction (but one that I enjoy).

      As for the Tarot books… I don’t have a pile any more 🙂

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