Fiction read in 2013

Well, I read a lot of good stuff, but there was no overall winner or book I want to marry this year. I was a jury member for the City of Calgary book prize, so I had to read everything submitted for the prize. I also finished a major non-fiction project, so my reading was influenced by that as well, and I read a great deal about the partition of India. I read many novels with domestic themes. This is not surprising as I am fascinated by the family unit and childhood.

Right now I’m into reading short stories and books about creativity, anxiety, writing, resistance etc.

Here are my fiction pics, in no particular order-

1. A Tale for Time Being by Ruth Ozeki- I was in awe of the way that Ruth constructed this book, and the book’s story.

2. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell- A beautiful YA romance about a half Korean boy and a misfit girl. Really gorgeous and sweet book that made me tear up.

3. Sorta like a rock star by Matthew Quick- Matthew Quick wrote Silver Linings Playbook. I read three of his books this year, and Sorta like a rock star was my favourite. It was a great story and made me cry.

4. Wonder by RJ Palacio- This was a children’s book about a boy born with a deformed face. The book is told from the various perspectives of the people around him. It’s about how the people react to him, and how he develops friendships and a sense of self. One of my favourite books this year.

5. Bone and Bread by Saleema Nawaz- Nawaz’s story about two sisters stayed with me this year.

6. The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey- This is one of those stories I love; a book that is a fairy tale, magical realism and reality. I found this to be haunting and moving and I loved the pioneering theme that resonated throughout the book.

7. The Dinner by Herman Koch- I loved the creepiness of this book and the way the elements of the story unfolded. I thought it was a gutsy and daring book. I love a good unreliable narrator.

8. Big Brother by Lionel Shriver- A woman reunites with her brother. In the two years they’ve been apart, he has gained over 200 pounds and has become obese. This is a story about how they get along and the effects that his weight has on their relationship. It’s black, it’s dark, and it has a wicked plot twist. It’s a genius satire and I devoured it.Another unreliable narrator.

9. Roost by Ali Bryan- What surprised me about this domestic tale was how fresh it felt. It’s really a novel about a woman, her children and her ability to survive and it’s damn funny!

10. Our Daily Bread/The Empty Room by Lauren B. Davis- I discovered her work this year and loved it. Both of these books were quite different. I like Davis’ writing and the stories she chooses to tell.

11. Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld- Another story about domestic life, sisterhood, belief and the mundane nature of domestic life. This book wouldn’t appeal to everyone, but there was something about it that just resonated with me.

12. The Work of Sharon Butala- I rediscovered Sharon Butala and fell back in love with her.

13. The work of John Avide Lindqvist- I think Lindqvist is an extremely underrated writer and everyone should read him. He’s a true master of horror. His work is brave, new and terrifying. I read all of his books this year and want more people to read him even though his books actually scare me quite a bit. Whenever someone mentions Stephen King, I tell them to read Lindqvist.

This year’s total- 166. Non-fiction, poetry, graphic novel post forthcoming.

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