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!

Who is Robert Galbraith?

So do you know the author Robert Galbraith? Even if you don’t think you do, chances are you probably do anyway. Because Robert Galbraith is not a man. Robert Galbraith is not a debut author. In fact, Robert Galbraith is none other than one of the world’s best selling authors – J.K. Rowling.

9171165-1J.K. Rowling has surprised us all by publishing a crime novel under a pseudonym. Isn’t that incredible? And no wonder she chose to do this. No one could review The Casual Vacancy without referring to Harry Potter. Of course. So it isn’t all that surprising that Rowling wanted to see what people really think of her writing abilities without having them compared to Harry Potter all the time. Or that she has enjoyed being able to write and publish a book without any expectations from the public and without all the hype.

As far as I can tell, no one knew. The news broke today and have become quite the story. Of course. A new series from J. K. Rowling! Even though I don’t care about crime fiction, the fact that it is J.K. Rowling makes it interesting. And it makes me consider reading the book. And there’s nothing wrong or bad about that. We don’t only read books because their covers are pretty or their blurbs sound good – we choose books because of the person who wrote them. I haven’t read The Casual Vacancy yet but I own it and intend to read it. For the same reason. It’s J.K. Rowling and I want to see what she’s up to – and if she can write something else than Harry Potter.

And a lot of other people feel this way too. The book was published back in April and had sold only 1500 copies – but after the news of it’s real author broke, it’s Amazon sales apparently have gone up more than 150,000%! Wow! I’m not sure I’m really surprised or impressed by this new number but it is a helluva lot of more books sold because the author name has changed! And it is #1 on the Kindle bestseller list. And I guess on every other bestseller list out there.

What I find really interesting is, that this time Rowling has gotten reviews based on skill alone and not on reputation or previous bestsellers. And it seems that the book has actually gotten very good press. The reviews have been extremely positive and apparently, it was discovered that it was Rowling because a journalist thought the book was way too good to have been written by a new writer and a ex-British army officer at that. So after a real life detective story, Rowling was found out…

About the book – from Amazon:

When a troubled model falls to her death from a snow-covered Mayfair balcony, it is assumed that she has committed suicide. However, her brother has his doubts, and calls in private investigator Cormoran Strike to look into the case.

Strike is a war veteran – wounded both physically and psychologically – and his life is in disarray. The case gives him a financial lifeline, but it comes at a personal cost: the more he delves into the young model’s complex world, the darker things get – and the closer he gets to terrible danger . . .

A gripping, elegant mystery steeped in the atmosphere of London – from the hushed streets of Mayfair to the backstreet pubs of the East End to the bustle of Soho – The Cuckoo’s Calling is a remarkable book. Introducing Cormoran Strike, this is a classic crime novel in the tradition of P. D. James and Ruth Rendell, and marks the beginning of a unique series of mysteries.

And about it’s (fictional) author – from The Huffington Post:

Born in 1968, Robert Galbraith is married with two sons. After several years with the Royal Military Police, he was attached to the SIB (Special Investigation Branch), the plain-clothes branch of the RMP. He left the military in 2003 and has been working since then in the civilian security industry. The idea for protagonist Cormoran Strike grew directly out of his own experiences and those of his military friends who have returned to the civilian world. ‘Robert Galbraith’ is a pseudonym.

So what do you think? Are you going to read this new J.K. Rowling book?