I usually do this a little later, just before New Year, but I thought what the hell. If you’re online right now, what does it hurt, eh?
I read a lot of books this year. As you can see by the list on the right. It wasn’t the amount I WANTED to read, but there you go. Some of those I didn’t get around to will make it to next year’s list. Others . . . well, there’s probably a psychological reason they didn’t get read so they’ll no doubt stay that way.
Here’s my Top 10 of 2013. Some are Indie efforts. Others traditionally published works. Of all the books I read this year, these were my favourite. The first 9 are listed in no particular order. They’re all equally cramazing ( < Court – ha!) but the last one takes the top prize.
I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream by Harlan Ellison
Grifters Game by Lawrence Block
Wounded Prey by Sean Lynch
(re-read) Blaze by Stephen King
The Machinist, Part One: Malevolence by Alexander Maisey
The Wind Through The Keyhole by Stephen King
The Girl From Tenerife by Bernard Schaffer
Superbia 3 by Bernard Schaffer
NOS4A2 by Joe Hill
…and drumroll please…
TOP DOG THIS YEAR . . . The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes
There’s not a bad book on this list. Finally sitting down to read Ellison was a truly mind blowing experience. And of all the King I read this year (including his Doctor Sleep) I still think The Wind Through The Keyhole was his strongest effort. There’s just something about Roland and his Ka-Tet that’s like slipping on a pair of old slippers. King’s never been more comfortable writing than when he’s telling stories in the Dark Tower universe. Sean Lynch published the first entry in a new crime series, and I was thrilled to read an ARC from the publisher – and similarly thrilled to find it was a fantastic book. I hope to read another one very soon (you hear me, Mr. Lynch???)
My friend Bernard gave a solid third entry in his Superbia series, however his literary novel The Girl From Tenerife was his best work of the year. A moving, thoughtful piece about a man finding his place in the world – even if it means stepping into the ring with some of history’s greats. Every time I read a new Schaffer work, I think “Bastard! He’s done it again!”
But of all of them, The Shining Girls takes the prize for me. It was a kind of impulse buy at the time. I wasn’t too sure what to expect, but it totally blew me away not only by its intricate plot, but by the beauty and crisp sharpness of Beukes writing. With one hand she can deal irony and humour, and with the other swiftly knock you down with tragedy and hurt. Truly amazing – and a great example of writing in the present tense. I will be buying Moxyland, Zoo City and Broken Monsters (when its out) in 2014. Of all the books I read in ’13, Beukes is the standout effort.
Out of all of them, it shone the most.