Alice Soon

My Literary Life & other obsessions…


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Another good year for reading books! Hurray!
Though I had started out the year intending to read *fewer*, but more difficult/challenging/lengthy books (35 was the goal), I found that the plan quickly faded through mid-year…I’ve learned that aside from 2-3 books MAX that I can force myself to read in a year (AKA books from the literary canon that every writer might not want to read, but simply must read), for the remainder, I just like to read what I bloody well want! Plus, they keep printing new books – I can’t keep up! 😛
Reading is sexy

Thus, with no further ado, here’s the list of books I read in 2013:

1) “The Testament of Mary” – Colm Toibin
2) “Anna Karenina” – Leo Tolstoy
3) “Sutton” – J.R. Moehringer
4) “The Imposter Bride” – Nancy Richler
5) “The Bluest Eye” – Toni Morrison
6) “The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire: Harnessing the Infinite Power of Coincidence ” – Deepak Chopra
7) “White Rajah” – Nigel Barley
8) “Enchantments” – Kathryn Harrison
9) “The Cat” – Edeet Ravel
10) “The Constant Gardener” – John Le Carre
11) “The Round House” – Louise Erdrich
12) “To the Lighthouse” – Virginia Woolf
13) “The Curious Incident of a Dog at Nighttime” – Mark Haddon
14) “What Tears Us Apart” – Deborah Cloyed
15) “Little Bee” – Chris Cleave
16) “The Song of Achilles” – Madeleine Miller
17) “The Book of Secrets: Unlocking the Hidden Dimensions of Your Life” – Deepak Chopra
18) “The Feast of the Goat” – Mario Vargas Llosa
19) “Friend of the Devil” – Peter Robinson
20) “The Sense of an Ending” – Julian Barnes
21) “The Orchardist” – Amanda Coplin
22) “Maidenhead” – Tamara Faith Berger
23) “Gone Girl”- Gillian Flynn
24) “Buddha in the Attic” – Julie Otsuka
25) “Red Sorghum” – Mo Yan
26) “The Talent Code” – Daniel Coyle
27) “The World As I Found It” – Bruce Duffy
28) “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” – Ransom Riggs
29) “The Handmaid’s Tale” – Margaret Atwood
30) “Sula” – Toni Morrison
31) “The Cuckoo’s Calling” – Robert Galbraith
32) “Natural Order” – Brian Francis
33) “The Year of Magical Thinking” – Joan Didion
34) “The Hypnotist” – Lars Keplar
35) “A Visit from the Goon Squad” – Jennifer Egan
36) “We Wanted to be Writers” – Eric Olsen
37) “A Passage to India” – E. M. Forster
38) “Why We Write” – Meredith Maran
39) “The Wars” – Timothy Findley
40) “Spiritual Solutions” – Deepak Chopra
41) “A Touch of Darkness” – Moss & Casale
42) “The Art of Being Rebekkah” – Karoline Barrett
43) “The Dinner” – Herman Koch
44) “One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich” – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
45) “The Twin” – Gerbrand Bakker
46) “The Seduction of Miriam Cross” – Wendy Tyson
47) “The Airmen and the Headhunters: A True Story of Lost Soldiers, Heroic Tribesmen and the Unlikeliest Rescue of World War II” – Judith Heimann
48) “Fever” – Mary Beth Keane
49) “Look At Me” – Jennifer Egan
50) “The Ghost Bride” – Yangsze Choo
51) “Killer Image” – Wendy Tyson

That’s it, that’s all! 

Also read a lot of random short stories scattered here and there from numerous collections, but not enough to include the entire book lengths here.

Best surprise I discovered this year was Jennifer Egan. I had never read any of her books prior to 2013, and in fact, for some baffling reason, I kept mixing her up with Jennifer Weiner??? Weird.

Anyway, I find Egan’s writing to be very, very good & though you may not appreciate/understand/agree with her narrative structure at times for various books, there is no denying she can write. This is my favorite part about reading: discovering new voices or new authors I had never been exposed to or just didn’t have the time to get to yet…So Egan was a nice discovery. As was Morrison. (Last year my ‘new authors read’ list included Timothy Findley, A.S. Byatt and Michael Cunningham.)

There were, of course, several books on this list that we also very disappointing, or what I would call the typical case of “overhype”, but I won’t list specific titles here.

Also, I read many more new or ‘newish’ releases this year than I’m typically used to…Just couldn’t help myself. Hopefully next year I’ll have more time and patience to read a few more classics. Currently I am reading about 4 books at the same time. Here’s to more great books in 2014!


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