Thursday, December 19, 2013

The best book I’ve read in 2013

In the spirit of the end of the year, I take a break of the list of the 100 best books Shorter made in 1898, and look at what I’ve read this year. It turns out to be a woefully few books. I’ve been so busy writing that I haven’t had time for reading. It seems I won’t even make my Goodreads reading challenge of thirty books. I’m still three books short.

Most of what I’ve read does not merit a place in any top of the year list. I’ve mostly caught up with all the urban fantasy series I’ve followed for years. I listed the top ten of those on my other blog.

I did read some meatier fiction too. I wrote about re-reading Shikasta earlier this year, but I’m not entirely sure I’d name it my top read of the year. Interesting though it was, it didn’t really excite me the way some other books did.

I read other sci-fi too – however you want to define the genre. I read the second book in Lessing’s Canopus in Argos: Archives series, also a re-read that felt like I was reading it the first time. I read the critically acclaimed Dark Eden by Chris Beckett that I found slightly dull for some reason. In addition, there was This Land by L. S. Burton, an independently published book I enjoyed very much.

Great though all of those books were, they aren’t my top readings this year. I’ve written elsewhere about the Lover at Last by J. R. Ward. It’s a strong book in a long-running UF series, but what makes it stand out is that its romantic focus is two men, fierce vampire warriors one doesn’t usually see in the same-sex romance in urban fantasy. I thought Ward’s book was important, but it fell slightly sort on my expectations. Another interesting read was The City & The City by China Mièville. It’s unique enough to stand out among my otherwise mainstream urban fantasy readings, but I wasn’t entirely satisfied with it either. I constantly kept expecting it to become something ‘more’.

So, it would seem that my top read for the year is a book I haven’t actually finished reading as I write this. The City’s Son by Tom Pollock is a young adult urban fantasy set in London. It’s adventurous from the beginning, it has a unique world, it’s narrative doesn’t follow the conventions – one character is described from the first person point of view while the rest are in the third person – and it doesn’t shy away from the difficult topics like sexual harassment. I found the book captivating from the start and the only reason I haven’t managed to finish it yet is that I’ve been insanely busy doing other things. Those are done now and I can concentrate on the fantastical London of Tom Pollock.

It’ll be Christmas next week so I’ll retire for the holidays and return in January. Merry Christmas and Happy New year to you all.

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