It’s that time of year again… time to review the books I read in 2013 and choose my favourites! Started last year, Julia and I have decided to turn our “Favourite Book of…” posts into an annual tradition. In January 2013, I chose my five favourites from the books I read in 2012 (post here). This year I found it a little more difficult, despite the fact I actually read fewer books, so I have chosen my six favourites.
So without further ado, my favourite books from 2013 (based on what I read, not on the year they were published):
Our Daily Bread by Lauren Davis – I actually chose this book as my book club pick in January 2013 (full review here), and the other girls were equally as impressed with the novel as me. Our Daily Bread is a gritty and sometimes depressing novel that deals with such issues as poverty, isolation, incest, child abuse, drug use, division within society and communities, and how we treat our neighbours in the context of an inbred family living on the outskirts of a small town. Davis dealt with a sensitive subject without being graphic; creating a powerful story through insinuation and inference. This was one of the most captivating novels I have ever read, I did not want to put it down.
Life After Life by Kate Atkinson – Our main character Ursula Todd is born in Feburary 1910… over and over again. This novel follows Ursula’s life, or lives I should say, as she lives them out. Each one ends differently due to different choices that are made by her and those around her. I had never read Kate Atkinson before, but this novel immediately drew me in and left me wanting to read more of her novels. It was inventive (I have never read a story like it before) and a poignant reminder that even the smallest of choices can have far-reaching consequences for others, both tragic and satisfying.
Winter of the World by Ken Follett – As discussed in this post, Ken Follett is one of my all time favorite authors. He has the ability to write a 1,000 page novel and make it feel like you are only reading 200. Winter of the World is the second book in Follett’s Century Trilogy, which follows five families (English, American, German, Russian and Welsh) through the 20th century. It follows the children of the characters of Fall of Giants. As per usual Follett’s character development was exceptional and the cast of characters was diverse and relatable. I cannot wait for the third installment!
Me Before You by JoJo Moyes – Kristy’s pick for the month of June (review here and here) left me with tears streaming down my face and a stuffed up nose for at least an hour. The story is that of Will Traynor, a quadriplegic who prior to his accident had his dream life, and Lou Clark, a small town girl who works at the local coffee shop and has never left her home town. After Lou is given the position as Will’s caregiver the reader is taken through the emotional rollercoaster of their relationship over the next year. Note to potential readers – have Kleenex nearby.
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed – I have mentioned this book in previous posts here and here, and it was an obvious choice for this list. I think the loss of my own mother at a relatively young age made Strayed’s story relatable to me and gave me a greater understanding of some of her struggles. I found the story exciting and the book hard to put down. It almost made me want to do a 1,100 mile trek myself… almost. I especially enjoyed reading about the people she met and how they helped her along the way.
When God Was a Rabbit by Sarah Winman – This novel was one of the first I read last year, and it still is one of the most memorable a year later. It follows Elly from childhood through adulthood, focusing on her relationships with the various people in her life, in particular her brother and her childhoodbest friend. It has themes of love and friendship, violence and tragedy, and weaves them into an amazing story of one family’s trials from the 1960s through 2001. The characters are wonderful, the story is engaging, and the writing is honest and magical at the same time. Winman transports you into a story that you don’t want to leave until the last page.