I read two or three books a week and I keep track of everything I read in a small, alphabetized notebook… a handy reference when I browse the shelves of the library, The Book Man, or the internet.
Here, in no particular order, with a pint-sized comments about each, are my favorite fiction reads of this year:
- ANGELA’S ASHES, ‘TIS, & TEACHER MAN by Frank McCourt. The voice of the first book drew me into the world of sadness and loss. I read nothing else until I had finished the trilogy… and wished for more when I was done.
- OLIVE KITTERIDGE by Elizabeth Strout. I felt so close to Strout’s characters that I could hear the thump of their hearts.
- THE THIRTEENTH TALE by Diane Setterfield. A trek back into the world of nineteenth century literature… Jane Eyre style. A haunting story.
- FALL ON YOUR KNEES by Anne-Marie MacDonald. Dark. So dark. A cavern, spiralling down, down, down. I couldn’t stop reading.
- THE NEIGHBOR by Lisa Gardner. On the surface, the family was perfect. But the wife disappears… My heart was pounding from beginning to end. Gardner is a master of suspense.
- FREEDOM by Jonathan Franzen. Powerfully-written epic of contemporary life. Funny and tragic.
- THE GLASS CASTLE by Jeannette Walls. A memoir of survival and resilience, remarkably told.
- MY SISTER’S KEEPER by Jodi Picoult. Sensitive and inspiring story told by the characters. Stunning ending.
- THE PILOT’S WIFE by Anita Shreve. Enjoyable, absorbing read. Great plots turns. Details drew me into the story.
- THE ACCIDENTAL TOURIST by Anne Tyler. Very real, touching moments. Have to admit that there was one character I hated… but the writing was superb.
- THE LOVELY BONES by Alice Sebold. Stunning, haunting tale. Drawn in by the first paragraph.
- THE POISONWOOD BIBLE by Barbara Kingsolver. The individual voices of the family members were magnetic. A powerful story that stayed with me for a long time.
- MADAME BOVARY by Gustav Flaubert. An old favorite that I revisit from time to time. An immortal story.
- TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee. An unforgettable story about the nature of human kind.
- THE CRIMSON PETAL AND THE WHITE by Michel Faber. A lugubrious crawl and salacious romp through the streets of Dickensian London. Nearly 900 pages… yet I did not want it to end!
- WHO HAS SEEN THE WIND by W. O. Mitchell. A stunning story of a young boy’s search for meaning in life, told in simple, musical language. I felt the vastness and loneliness of prairie and the omnipresence of the wind…
All done… except for the fact that there appears to be a hierarchy to this list after all. My top two favorites are THE CRIMSON PETAL AND THE WHITE (I had so much fun reading it) and WHO HAS SEEN THE WIND (can’t figure out how I got this far in life without having read this book!)
That’s it. All done. Maybe you will add some of these to your reading list. Any suggestions for my 2013 list?