The Books I Missed in 2013

I didn’t read a lot of new books in 2013. Not at all. I did buy some but not as many as I had hoped. So to remember the books I really wanted in 2013 and inspired by Kerry at Entomology of a Bookworm, here are some of the books I wish I had bought and/or read.

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  1. Robert Calbraith: The Cuckoo’s Calling. This was of course one of the important books of the year. It was interesting to see how this book got good reviews but didn’t sell – until it was revealed that it was actually written by J.K. Rowling. And then it ended the year on several ‘Best of 2013’ lists. If someone can get me to read crime novels, I think it’s J.K. Rowling. I’m at least willing to give this one a try.
  2. Dan Simmons: The Abominable. Ever since reading Drood, I’ve been wanting to read more by Dan Simmons. It’s about adventurers traveling to the summit of Mount Everest – or possibly running from something on Mount Everest. I’m sure it’s creepy!
  3. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Americanah. I loved Half of a Yellow Sun. Not just because of it’s compelling story, but because it taught me things I didn’t know. I think it will be the same with this one.
  4. Joe Hill: NOS4A2. This book is an example of a book where the title alone sells it! And I’ve heard nothing but good about it so I need to get this one.
  5. Hannah Kent: Burial Rites. This book about the last woman to be sentenced to death in Iceland, sounds amazing. It reminds me a bit about Margaret Atwood’s Alias Grace and I really want to read this one!
  6. Eleanor Catton: The Luminaries. The 2013 Man Booker Prize winner. It sounds intriguing and fascinating but with the way it’s written, it also runs the risk of being a bit gimmicky – so far, the reviewers seem to agree that it’s absolutely amazing.
  7. Cassandra Rose Clarke: The Mad Scientist’s Daughter. Cat’s tutor is a robot who is perfectly happy to just teach her. But then the government grants rights to the robot population and suddenly, Finn has to find his own place in the world. Another great sounding novel!
  8. Amish Tripathi: Immortals of Meluha (Shiva #1). This is the first book in the Shiva trilogy, a fantasy series about hindu gods. How cool does that sound?
  9. Carlos Ruiz Zafon: The Watcher in the Shadows. I really liked The Shadow of the Wind and this book about a mysterious toymaker who lives as a recluse in an old mansion surrounded by his magical beings sounds so amazing.
  10. Ma Jian: The Dark Road. The tagline of this novel reads ‘If a panda gets pregnant, the entire nation celebrates. But if a woman gets pregnant she’s treated like a criminal. What kind of country is this?’, how can I resist that?
  11. Matt Bell: In the House Upon the Dirt between the Lake and the Woods. A young couple is unable to have children so the husband takes it out on every animal living in the lake and the woods. The wife somehow learns to sing objects into being. It sounds like a fascinating book about what happens when you so badly want children but is unable to have them.
  12. Stephen King: Joyland. King has two books coming out this year and this is the first one. It’s about amusement park serial killers and I don’t t need to say more because if you like King, you will get this!
  13. Douglas Lain: Billy Moon: A transcendent Novel reimagining the Life of Christopher Robin Milne. This is one of the books I’m probably the most excited about. I think it’s some kind of twisted look at Christopher Milne’s childhood and on the Winnie the Pooh stories and I can’t wait!
  14. Andrew Pyper: The Demonologist. This sounds like some kind of Da Vinci Codebook but taking Paradise Lost as it’s starting point. And that’s is it’s selling point to me.
  15. Warren Ellis: Gun Machine. A detective finds an apartment filled with guns. Each gun leads to a different, previously unsolved murder. This book sounds just so cool.
  16. Sonali Deraniyagala: Wave. This woman lost her husband and sons in the 2004 tsunami in Sri Lanka. This is a book about grief. I am sure it will be almost unbearable to read but still, I want to.
  17. Helen Wecker: The Golem and the Jinny. This seems to be a very interesting book which combine Jewish and Arab mythology. It’s about two supernatural creatures in New York – and of course they are drawn together.

It’s funny – some of these were on my list of books to watch out for in 2013 but for some reason or another, they have dropped completely from the radar – or at least from my radar. I heard a lot about the Warren Ellis book – but I don’t think I’ve read a single review… I know I’m not even close to listing all the books that I could be interested in reading but still, I think I will print this list and take it with me whenever I happen to be somewhere with a decent bookstore and hope to pick up some of these amazing sounding books!

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Top Ten Most Anticipated Books For 2013

So this week, the Top Ten Tuesday is looking forward. Which books are the most anticipated books for 2013? I remember doing such a list in January 2012 – and I don’t think that I knew that both Salman Rushdie, J.K. Rowling and many many more great authors would publish books this year. So there’s no guarantees that these ten are my most anticipated books for 2013 – but they are the most anticipated that I know of! As always, the Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and here is my list for this week.

  1. Neil Gaiman: The Ocean at the End of the Lane. I’m falling in love with Neil Gaiman. I have liked the The Sandman and Death graphic novels for years. I liked The Graveyard Book a lot. And I just loved Neverwhere. So I’m so looking forward to not only reading American Gods and the other books I have yet to get around to but also this new one, coming out in June.
  2. Stephen King: Dr. Sleep. This is the sequel to The Shining. Set about 20 years later, the protagonist of this book is the son from The Shining, Danny Torrance. Well, need I say more? It’s Stephen King for crying out loud. Definitely very anticipated!
  3. Donna Tartt. Yeah. This was on my list of most anticipated books of 2012 as well. I haven’t been able to find a title or a publication date so I don’t know if there’s any chance it will be coming out in 2013 but I’m keeping my fingers crossed since her first two books – The Secret History and The Little Friend – were both so good. 
  4. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Americanah. I absolutely loved Half of a Yellow Sun. It was such an amazing novel and I learned so much about the history of the Nigeria-Biafra war 1967-70 by reading it, a war that I didn’t even know existed before reading this book. I’ve been waiting for a new novel from her and it’s finally here!
  5. Khaled Hosseini: And the Mountains Echoed. I loved The Kite Runner! Again, such a great novel. I haven’t read A Thousand Splendid Suns yet but I have been told that it’s just as good. And now, finally, a new book from Hosseini, 10 years after The Kite Runner and 5 years after A Thousand Splendid Suns. I’m looking forward to this one too!
  6. Joyce Carol Oates: The Accursed. Of course there’s a new book out from Joyce Carol Oates. Nothing surprising there. And of course I’m anticipating it. Nothing surprising there either!
  7. Philip Pullman: The Book of Dust. A companion novel to the His Dark Materials trilogy. Count me in! I’m definitely looking forward to this one. Maybe I can squeeze in a reread of His Dark Materials before this one comes out? And maybe read Lyra’s Oxford too…
  8. Brandon Sanderson & Robert Jordan: A Memory of Light (Wheel of Time #14). Finally. The last book in the Wheel of Time series. Will it come out? Will this series finally be finished? It has been dragging out for so long that I have to see it before I believe it and even though I have only made it through the first 4 novels in the series, this is one of my most anticipated novels, simply because I don’t believe it will actually be published but that the Wheel of Time curse will stop it instead…
  9. Diana Gabaldon: Written in my own heart’s blood (Outlander # 8). I’m slowly getting into this series. I have really liked both Outlander and Dragonfly in Amber so even though I’m so behind on reading this series and therefore can’t pay too much attention to the publication of new books in the series, I’m still anticipating this one.
  10. Adrian Tchaikovsky: War Master’s Gate  (Shadows of the Apt #9). I’ve read the first 4 of this series and I’m so fascinated by the world, Tchaikovsky has created. I own 6 of these and I hope to get some time to read more of this series next year.

I couldn’t find anything about any Terry Pratchett books coming out in 2013 but I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

And I cheated and here’s a list of some other books I’m also interested in but not quite as much as those mentioned above:

  • Patrick Rothfuss: The Doors of Stone (Kingkiller Chronicles #3)
  • Marisha Pessl: Night Film
  • Charlaine Harris: Dead Ever After (Sookie Stackhouse #13)
  • Gail Carriger: Prudence (The Parasol Protectorate Abroad)
  • Jim C. Hines: Codex Born (Magic Ex Libris #2)
  • Paolo Bacigalupi: Water Knife
  • Freda Warrington: Grail of the Summer Stars (Aetherial Tales #3)

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Top Ten Books That Make You Think

Fourth week in a row participating in the Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and the Bookish! I’m having so much fun with these Top Ten lists still so even though I found this week’s theme a hard one, I’m still game. Apparently, books don’t make me think. At least not when I’m put on the spot and told to come up with a list of 10 who did. So this has actually taken a bit of effort to come up with 10.

Well, I could have taken the easy way out and just written a list of books I read when I studied for my Master’s Degree in Philosophy, but to me that felt like cheating. I mean, of course reading Locke, Heidegger, Sartre, Plato will make you think! But to me, the challenge lies in coming up with 10 novels that made you think. Non-fiction, all non-fiction, tend to make you ponder it’s subject but not all fiction do – so here’s ten novels, that has made me think.

Here’s my list:

  1. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Half of a Yellow Sun. This novel taught me about a country and a war I had never heard of: Biafra and the Nigeria-Biafra war 1967-70. This is a book about what life is like when you live in war times – how life in some ways are just the same and in other ways, very very different. I think books about war often make you think because it often shows what it means to be human, both good and bad, and you question what you would do if you were put in the same situations and had to struggle for your survival.
  2. Agatha Christie: And Then There Was None. This is crime fiction and I guess the nature of crime fiction is to make it’s reader think when we try to figure out who the killer is. I know who the killer is in this one – it’s my favorite Agatha Christie novel and I’ve read it several times so now, when I read it, I try to figure out what clues she drops along the way and if it’s possible to figure out who kills them all. Especially, since every person on the island end up dead…
  3. Jonathan Franzen: The Corrections. This was one of these books that just hit close to home. It’s a book about an elderly couple, Alfred and Enid. Alfred is suffering from beginning Alzheimer’s and Enid is struggling to get their children to come home for one last christmas. For me, this really made me think about my own family, my father having been ill for most of my life and my mother struggling to keep everyone happy and keeping up appearances. My review here.
  4. Georges Perec: Life, a User’s Manual. This is a strange book. It’s about all the people who live in an apartment building and how their lives overlap, how the thing uniting them all is this building. It’s about what makes life life. It’s not a book for everyone – but I love it. It made me think just to be able to get it – and it made me think about how our lives are made up of tiny details as well as huge events. I read it 5 years ago – I really need to read it again!
  5. Jodi Picoult: My Sister’s Keeper. Well, this is what Picoult does, isn’t it? She writes novels that makes you think. This one really grasps at the heart strings of any parent. How far would you go to save your child if she’s sick? Would you have another child and use her to get the things your first child need to survive?
  6. Kurt Vonnegut: Slaugherhouse-Five. It’s been 4 years since I read this and I really liked it. I saw it as a discussion of free will v. determinism – among other things – and that always fascinates me.
  7. Will Self: How the Dead Live. This book made me think because I just didn’t get it. I felt it was really difficult to follow and really understand what it was that Will Self wanted with it – but even though it’s been 4 years since I read it, I keep thinking about it from time to time. I’ve since read that Self doesn’t write books for readers and I can believe that! Still, Self is on a quest to find and write the truth and he doesn’t believe that it can be found in conventional linear structure. I don’t necessarily get what he intends – but it makes me think. I need to read more of his novels!
  8. Steven Hall: The Raw Shark Texts. Say the title out loud and you get the first clue that this is a special book. This is a book which toys with the idea of what a book can do. This is a book where the protagonist keeps finding letters written by his former self, trying to explain why he’s been chased by a word shark and almost drowning in his living room… This is a highly original book! And it really makes you think about what makes a book and stop fearing about the future of books!
  9. The same can be said about Jonathan Safran Foer: Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close. An amazing book about how a young boy deals with loosing his father in the 9-11 attacks. Foer does things in this novel that I at least haven’t seen before. My review here.
  10. John Steinbeck: The Grapes of Wrath. I loved this book! It’s just such an amazing book, although very depressing. The Grapes of Wrath is sadly becoming very current at the moment with the economical crisis. Both then and now, people borrowed money from the bank and lost their homes. This is a story of one of those families and how much they have to endure to try and find a way to survive. But it’s also a book about how people sometimes help each other when they are struggling and sometimes do even more than can be expected. Again, it’s a book about what it means to be a human being.

I thought this would be a hard list to make but actually, doesn’t most books make you think in one way or other? Isn’t that why we read? To learn about the world, to know more about how other people think and feel and live. When I look at the books I’ve read, a lot of them could be put on this list. I’ve chosen mostly books from before I started blogging to give them their due, both well-known and lesser known books. And I could have made the list much longer. These ten made me think, yes, but they are not necessarily the ten who made me think the most. Because how do you determine that? Almost every book makes you think – that’s the wonder and beauty of books.

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