Sunday, December 29, 2013

Sunday Salon - Favourite reads of 2013

As the turning of the year approaches, people and organizations are putting out best of lists.  And book bloggers are no different, putting out their favourite reads during the year.  And this book blogger is feeling the pressure to do this as well.

As I look on my favourite reads board on my Pintrest page (and yes this is a bit a plug for my Pintrest page), I realize that there were a number of books that I read that captured my imagination this year.  It was a surprising mixture of books that were my favourite books and there were books that while I quite enjoyed them and would recommend to other people, they weren't exactly favourites.  So without further ado, here are my favourites:

The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag by Alan Bradley - 2nd in the Flavia de Luce series. Didn't like it as much as the first book, but once one got into the story, it was quite enjoyable and didn't want to put it down when reading it.

The Giver by Lois Lowry -  Second read of this particular book, as I read it when I was in my late teens. Felt that it was a lot like The Hunger Games, but better written.  I am curious to see how the movie adaptation compares to the book.

A Red Herring Without Mustard by Alan Bradley - 3rd book in the Flavia de Luce series.  I think I liked this book more than the 2nd book and like how the author integrated characters from the 2nd book and how one got to explore more around the area Bishop's Lacey.

A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin - 1st book the Song of Fire and Ice series.  I can see why people like this series so much.  I particularly like how the TV series incorporates a lot of what goes on in the book (the author actually has written an episode in the first season of the TV show and apparently is a fan of the show himself).  Surprisingly I gave up on the book 200 pages in about a year earlier, but once I discovered the audiobooks, there was no looking back.

Dearie : the remarkable life of Julia Child  by Bob Spitz - I had tried to read this book in 2012, but for some reason just was unable to do so.  And it was well-worth the wait to read this book.  I know that some people don't like reading biographies or memoirs, but this is one of the better books out there and even if you not the biggest foodie out there, you would be aware of Julia Child.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling - Of all the books in the Harry Potter series, this is my least favourite of the books.  I think the reason is that you have a brooding Harry Potter and a world that seems to get worse and worse over time.  But overall it was an enjoyable book and I know that the book will eventually pay off.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak - Loved, loved, loved this book.  I had heard that this was an excellent book and it really did live up to the hype.  I loved it so much that I finished it within 3 or 4 days.  Still haven't seen the movie adaptation of the book, but I will have to wait for the video to come to see how it was done (from some critics, it wasn't as good as the book, but it had a lot to live up to).

The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck - This one took me about half the book to get the point of the book, but once I was able to get the point of the book, I really quite enjoyed it.

I Am Half-Sick of Shadows by Alan Bradley - 4th book in the Flavia de Luce series.  As one can tell, I am a big fan of the series.  One of the things that I enjoyed about this particular book is the fact that it takes place primarily on the de Luce estate and not really anywhere else.  It was a nice break from my usual reads and got me into the Christmas spirit.

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell - I had hear lots of talk about this one earlier in the year and was not disappointed (there were a number of books that I had heard about in 2012 and early 2013 that seemed not to live up to their hype, at least according to me).  Even though I have never had a boyfriend, I could quite easily put myself in Eleanor's position.  I really enjoy Rowell's writing of the book and am looking forward to Fangirl, which I heard is really good as well.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens - Until a few years ago, I had never read straight through this book and this re-read only confirmed the fact that I enjoyed it the first time I read it.  Considering that there are only 5 chapters in the book, it is quite detailed and you can almost feel the panic that Scrooge experiences and you realize how good a writer Dickens was.

Reviews:
1) The Winter of Red Snow by Kristiana Gregory (review)
2)  A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (review)
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