Because so much of this year has been spent traveling, we’ve had plenty of 28 hour bus and train rides that is obviously best spent reading. And read we did.
Top Five Reads of 2013 : Rachel
1. Nine Lives by William Dalrymple. Over the year, I read about five Dalrymple books and seriously considered giving every single one of them a spot on this list. He’s that good. Nine Lives won purely because it gives the broadest, most complex view of the very broad, very complex subcontinent.
2. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. Patrick Rothfuss has a smashing beard and a couple of equally smashing books. It’s all about magic, dragons, and demons, but the writing is awesome enough to make up for it.
3. Perdido St. Station by China Mieville. I just noticed that Perdido St. Station only has 3.96 stars on Goodreads, which pretty much just tells me that the word is a stupid, stupid place. Mieville is an intimidatingly good writer, and this is an engaging, satisfying read. Oh, and unlike Ahimsa (below), I most certainly do want to be a Mieville fanboy. Or girl.
4. On the Road by Jack Kerouac. When we left New Zealand almost a year ago, my lovely mother gave us an On the Road key-chain, so I thought I’d better actually read the book. It’s a bit mad and a lot rambly, but is so completely itself that I couldn’t leave it off the list.
5. The Glass Palace by Amitav Ghosh. Oh my golly Ghosh, this book’s great. (Honestly, I can’t really remember exactly why I loved this book so much, so I just made a lame pun instead. Cool? Cool.)
Top Five Reads of 2013 : Ahimsa
Mine are in no particular order.
Unlondon by China Mieville. It’s not that I want to be a Mieville fanboy, it’s just that he’s so damn good. This endlessly inventive urban fantasy/YA is so head and shoulders above the competition that it’s not even fair.
The Croning by Laird Barron. Spooky, subtle horror that actually gave me nightmares. Barron is a craftsman who chooses each word with methodological precision, and the plot spans over 1000 years and features the scariest fairy tale character you’ll ever encounter.
Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy. Utopian/dystopian fiction from the 70’s slightly reminiscent of Ken Kesey and a whole host of other influences. A classic and one with a lot of resonance.; I can’t forget a lot of the scenes in this book.
Burmese Days by George Orwell. No secret that he’s a good writer, but is as readable as anything he had written, with memorable characters and a inexorable doom lurking a tragic Greek.
Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch. After some well-publicized delays, Lynch is back and his books are up there with Martin, Rothfuss, and Abraham as the best ongoing series in spec fic. Great writing, truly memorable characters, and an immersive world are some of the highlights in this Republic.