Saturday, December 21, 2013

Sox Knockers 2013

I've read 58 books this year that were not client books or manuscripts on submission.  I keep a list of those books at LibraryThing in case you're interested. I only post titles for books I finish.  I started a LOT more than 58! The post dates are generally the date I finish reading.

Here are the books that knocked my sox off in 2013. They're not posted in any kind of order.

Lawrence In Arabia by Scott Anderson
I posted about this book earlier in the year and it took me a couple weeks to finish it but it was well worth the investment of time. Absolutely required reading for people interested in the Great War, the history of the Middle East, and the impact those century-ago events and decisions have on current events.

As She Left It by Catriona McPherson
I bought this at Bouchercon after seeing the author and it was stunning. Absolutely memorable world building, and yes, I was surprised at the end.

Directions to the Beach of the Dead by Richard Blanco
I'm a fangirl of the poet. I carried this book around with me for weeks, reading one poem on each leg of the subway trip to work and back.  Then I read them all again.  I retained some semblence of dignity by reading them aloud only when I was safely tucked in my own apartment.  If you think you don't love poetry, or poetry is too hard to understand, I challenge you to read this book and retain that opnion.

Loyalty by Ingrid Thoft
This is a stunning debut. Absolutely required reading for every writer trying to get a debut novel in front of an agent. There's nothing new or zany here. It's just absolutely solid work.  I'd have signed this book in a heartbeat if I'd seen it but I didn't.  She's with Robert B. Parker's agent.  I'm still weeping.

Five Days at Memorial Sheri Fink
When I posted about this book earlier in the year, I predicted it would be on this list. It is.

Devil In the Grove Gilbert King
Everyone in America should read this book. It's the true story of what it was like to be a young poor Negro in Florida before the Civil Rights era.  One of the very small details of this book that haunts me is the fact that the NAACP, located on Fifth Avenue here in NYC, had a banner they hung out the window periodically.

I had the pleasure of meeting the author Gilbert King at Bouchercon this year. 

Ghostman Roger Hobbes
He's represented by Nat Sobel who is famous for discovering new writers with talent by reading periodicals. I'm still gnashing my fangs that I didn't do that.

Garden of Stones Sophie Littlefield 
There's nothing to say about the astonishingly talented Sophie Littlefield that I haven't said already (and FIRST!)


Lance said...

These all look interesting. Particularly Loyalty. And thank you for the link to LibraryThing where one can get lost for days and days.

Sophie Littlefield said...

i *still* heart u, jr :) 4-ever

Bill Scott said...

I don't judge a book by it. But I do judge them. Covers. Some great ones here. Thanks for the list.

Michael Seese said...

So, gift idea for Janet: tighter socks.

Anonymous said...

I'm happy to say I have at least one of these (DEVIL IN THE GROVE). But now, I've got my eye on AS SHE LEFT IT, LOYALTY and GARDEN OF STONES.

New Year's Resolution - Finish the doggone TBR pile before buying any more books!!! (that is, after the ones I mention above)

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

I didn't keep numeric track of the books I read this year (I used to), but I've read a few of the same ones: A Dangerous Fiction (my first Barbara Rogan), Gone Girl (I love Gillian Flynn), Doc (I also love Mary Doria Russell, and a cousin removed of mine is friends with her, so The Sparrow and Children of God both got passed around the family several years back), and Matterhorn.

I should start keeping track again next year. Between taking my writing more seriously and having a dog, my reading volume dropped off considerably. Several years running, I read more than 200 books. And I work at the library, so it's like a free candy store that doesn't make you fat.

BP said...

Uhoh - I didn't have enough fabulous books TBR or time to read them or money to buy them and now this solves everything!!! *weeps quietly in lone sar-chasm*

In other news ;) this is the best early Christmas gift! Thank you!

Dor said...

Oooh, yes, I second Gillian Flynn. I'm saving Gone Girl, but her other two are the kind of thing to give to people who don't get voice.

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce is a brilliant book. It's funny, and sad, and emotionally true.

The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett is an older book (novella, really), but I read it this year - It's the perfect stocking filler/secret Santa gift for the type of person who reads this blog. It begins with Queen Elizabeth II finding a mobile library behind Buckingham Palace...

I'm also planning to reread John Harding's Florence and Giles this week (because I'm British and we do spooky stories at Christmas). It's an homage to The Turn of The Screw, and I *really* liked it first time around.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I've added AS SHE LEFT IT to my TBR list.

One of my favorites of 2013 is Joshilyn Jackson's new one - SOMEONE ELSE'S LOVE STORY.

And I am so looking forward to all the new books coming out next year! Can't wait!

Sunny Acres said...

As always, thank you. I have picked up so much great advice from your blogs. I got a copy of LOYALTY, read a bit, and immediately rewrote my first chapter.

I have always felt that great authors are the best writing teachers. Far better than classes, writing groups, or seminars. So long as you know which authors, of course. Your guidance there is fantastic. Thoft showed me how I could make improvements in several areas.