Since 2013 is about halfway gone, it’s the perfect time for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic. Unfortunately, I haven’t read any books this year that really blew me away; while I’ve had several good reads in 2013, I didn’t fall in love with any of them. Still, here are ten books I enjoyed reading this year, in the order in which I read them:
1. Anna Gavalda, Hunting and Gathering — A beautifully written novel set in contemporary Paris. I really liked the romance in this one, but I also loved the contemplative, philosophical tone of the novel. I also enjoyed the movie, “Ensemble, C’est Tout,” which stars Audrey Tautou and Guillaume Canet.
2. Gail Carriger, Etiquette & Espionage — The first book in Carriger’s new series about a finishing school that trains young ladies to be extremely well-mannered spies. It’s a lot of fun, and I love the steampunk elements of the setting. Plus, Carriger has a light, breezy, tongue-in-cheek style that’s very easy to read.
3. Jonathan Eig, Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig — I don’t often read biographies, but this was a very well-written and well-researched look at one of baseball’s greatest legends. I really got a sense of Gehrig’s personality and felt the impact of his tragic death. The book also gives a lot of interesting background on the evolution of baseball in the early 20th century.
4. Rainbow Rowell, Eleanor & Park — A poignant coming-of-age novel about two outsiders who fall in love. I tend to gush when talking about Rainbow Rowell, so I’ll just say that this book is totally swoonworthy and romantic! Loved the ’80s setting as well.
5. Jude Morgan, A Little Folly — A comedy of manners set in Regency England, reminiscent of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer. While many authors attempt to imitate a 19th-century style, Morgan is one of the few who succeed.
6. Diana Wynne Jones, Fire and Hemlock — A retelling of the folk ballads “Thomas the Rhymer” and “Tam Lin,” with a really interesting twist: the heroine is a seemingly ordinary girl with two sets of memories. A couple aspects of the plot didn’t sit well with me, but overall I loved the writing style and was entranced by the magic of the story.
7. Robin LaFevers, Grave Mercy — First in a YA series featuring convent-trained assassins in medieval Brittany. I loved the world of this series, especially the historcial elements of political intrigue, and there’s a good romance too. Not great literature, but certainly a fun read!
8. Patricia Wynn, The Birth of Blue Satan — A mystery that basically combined everything I love in a novel: an interesting historical setting (Jacobite rebellions in the 1800s!), a dashing hero, a slow-building romance, and a murder mystery all rolled into one!
9. Alexandre Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo — A classic story of revenge, but also a brilliant satire of Parisian society in the mid-19th century. This is a huge book that took me forever to read, but it was definitely worth it!
10. Ben Macintyre, Operation Mincemeat: How a Dead Man and a Bizarre Plan Fooled the Nazis and Assured an Allied Victory — An incredibly fascinating (and true!) account of a British intelligence operation that helped turn the tide of World War II. I can’t believe I have two nonfiction titles on this list, but this book is so interesting and easy to read! Definitely recommended for anyone at all interested in espionage or WWII.
As I said, none of these books will make my list of all-time favorites, but there are still some really good reads here! If you’re curious, reviews of all these books can be found on the “Review Index” page.