Saturday, January 4, 2014

{misc.} 2013 in review



2013 in numbers: 145 books read

Kindle: 110 ~~ Tree-books: 35
Crime/mystery/espionage: 63
Other fiction: 59
Fiction for younger readers: 18
Non-fiction: 10 (needs work)
Australian writers: 9 (hang head in shame)
Graphic novel: 1 (not my thing)
Short story collections: 2
Christmas-themed books: 4 (and one short story)
Re-reads: 38
Agatha Christie re-reads: 15
Georgette Heyer re-reads: 7
Female authors: 99 ~~ Male authors: 46


On the whole it would seem that I love e-books by women writers and tended to get carried away with re-reading the same.

Favourites? 

I excluded re-reads from this, but I couldn't get it down to 10:




Brat Farrar - Josephine Tey (1949)
A brilliant story of a young man who may or may not be a long-lost relative returned to reclaim his place - and a fortune - in the family. Tey is one of my favourite writers - I also read Miss Pym Disposes this year {REVIEW}, which is entirely different to Brat Farrar and just as magnificent.

Excellent Women - Barbara Pym (1952) {REVIEW}
I read this for Barbara Pym Week, hosted by heavenali, and it was my first Pym and, oh, what an impression it made. Single women of the world, unite! (Cats optional.)



Tampa - Alissa Nutting (2013) {REVIEW}
A controversial book on a controversial subject - but so wittily done. (Also, cover of the year.)


  

Lady Rose and Mrs Memmary - Ruby Ferguson (1937) {REVIEW}
This was like watching a classic B&W 1930s weepy film. An absolutely charming book.

The Home-Maker - Dorothy Canfield Fisher (1924)
This may be my absolute favourite of the year. Another Persephone title: the story of a woman trapped by domestic expectations who gets a chance to shine.


  

Miss Cayley's Adventures - Grant Allen (1899)
A lost classic: whipsmart Cambridge graduate takes on the big bad world on a bicycle and triumphs.

Heartburn - Nora Ephron (1983) {REVIEW}
The book for lovers of food and NY-style romantic agony.


  


Hit Man - Lawrence Block (1998) {REVIEW}
Funny, wry episodes from the life of a stamp-collecting hit-man.


Desert of the Heart - Jane Rule (1964) {REVIEW}
Remarkable and painful journey of lesbian self-discovery set in a vintage Las Vegas.


  


Under the Skin - Michel Faber (2000) {REVIEW}
Wow. Do not hitchhike. Ever. You never know who - or what - may be out there. Faber seems to reinvent himself with every book, and this one was superbly bizarre.

Lazarus is Dead - Richard Beard (2011) {REVIEW}
Writing Lazarus back into the Jesus narrative: a wonderful play on pseudo-scholarship. I described it as "rich and imaginative and funny and playful (and brutal, stomach-turning and occasionally utterly horrifying)"


  

The Fortune of Christina M'Nab - Sarah Macnaughtan (1901){REVIEW}
A find! A canny young Scotswoman inherits a fortune and sets out to reinvent herself as a lady with the assistance of her helpful ex-fiancé (who bears a startling resemblance to the Apollo Belvedere).

Come Out of the Kitchen! - Alice Duer Miller (1916)
Another lost classic (rediscovered by fleur in her world): a rich young man rents a house from an impoverished family, only to discover a host of servant problems - such as the world's prettiest cook.


 


The Bookshop - Penelope Fitzgerald (1978)
Gorgeously melancholic but humorous book about a widow who only wants to start a bookshop in what turns out to be a bookshop-shy town.

The Good Soldier - Ford Madox Ford (1915)
An excellent recommendation from stuck in a book: a slow start as the odd style rather threw me, and then - bang! - unputdownable story of absolute tragedy about the disintegration of all one's loves and illusions.

I really enjoyed my 2013 reading year, and I have no other reading aims for 2014 than to read everything that catches my fancy.


Happy New Year!

40 comments:

  1. Not sure if my comment disappeared or has gone to be moderated, but, in summary.... happy new year, great list (esp The Bookshop), yay for Christie!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I owe you for The Good Soldier, Simon - I doubt I'd have picked it up otherwise: what a book. The intensity never let up - it felt almost claustrophobic.

      Delete
  2. I enjoyed your list. It was eclectic, interesting and fanciful. Great job to find so many books in a year that were so different.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Pam - I felt it was a good year, although I feel a bit lazy about the re-reading: but it brings so much pleasure, and sometimes one needs a good predictable pleasure.

      Delete
  3. A great selection - and I'm impressed with your stats! Did you review all the Heyers you read? If so, I think I missed some of them. I think we are among Miss Cayley's biggest fans! And thank you for the reminder about Christina M'Nab - I had meant to look for that one, and have just downloaded a copy. I had already gotten an ebook version of Come Out of the Kitchen. I love the term "tree-books" btw! I actually managed a short story on my Nook last year so I'm hopeful I will get to an entire book this year. It's so stuffed full of things I want to read.

    I only feel guilty about re-reading when I remember the TBR stacks, otherwise it's such a pleasure to meet old friends again.

    I hope 2014 brings you many wonderful books - and time to read them!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Lisa: 'tree books' is courtesy of urban dictionary - so apt. I think I love the Heyers in such a simple way that I've never attempted to review them -- they're sort of beyond analysing, a bit like the Christies. But I have been a slack reviewer in 2013 - really should lift my game.

      Delete
  4. What a lovely and varied collection. Enjoy 2014's reads - no pressure is the best way to read, I'm finding!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Karen! It's interesting how many New Year posts are scaling back the challenges - I'm not organized enough for anything but a really small challenge - the sort of thing that inspires me to read one author I've wanted to read but haven't been motivated to.

      Delete
  5. What a great list of books! I'm hoping to read Excellent Women and The Home-Maker soon and looking forward to both. And I love the sound of Brat Farrar - I've read The Daughter of Time but nothing else by Josephine Tey yet. I hope you enjoy your reading in 2014!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love The Daughter of Time - we read it at high school and it made me realise what a living thing history could be. I envy you reading Excellent Women for the first time - a gorgeous book. Have a great reading year, Helen.

      Delete
  6. Oh my goodness...I can't imagine how you read so many books. I am delighted to see Excellent Women and The Bookshop up there in your list of Favourites. I just finished reading The Bookshop and loved it and now have a new favourite author. I've been meaning to read Tampa too so that will have to go back on the TBR list. Would Nora Ephron's book be considered romantic comedy do you think? I'm looking for a romcom for my eclectic reading challenge this year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I basically neglect all other duties, Alex! I think the Ephron would definitely be romcom - though it's also one of those great stories about picking oneself up and keeping on going when things get bad (but done with great humour). Thanks for dropping by - have a great reading year.

      Delete
  7. Isn't Brat Farrer great? Have you read Mary Stewart's The Ivy Tree which covers similar ground (enjoyed the latter but loved the former)--my own Tey favorite is The Franchise Affair, which I suspect you have read already, but if not you must add it to this year's list! I want to read some of Tey's work this year--she will fit in nicely I think with my Vintage mystery reading! Personally I love rereading and never think of it as being anything but good--though I know that feeling of all those unread books out there that call to you, too..... (They constantly call to me). I'm intrigued by the Faber but a little scared, too. And I'd love to read Lady Rose.... I read the last two as well (though it has been a while for both--and concur most heartily on how good they are. Happy New Year and Happy Reading! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I loved The Ivy Tree, Danielle - I think it would be close to being my favourite Stewart if *only* I'd never read Brat Farrar. And the Franchise Affair is excellent, isn't it - Tey has such a distinctive, 'quiet' voice: she demands taking the genre seriously. What I love about reading other blogs is how it forces me out of my re-reading comfort zone -- there's so much great stuff out there. May we both read amazing books this year - cheers!

      Delete
  8. The Fortune of Christina M'Nab is on my list of possibles for the century of books and I love the sound of Come Out Of The Kitchen! too. I'm amused by the Miss Cayley though, I only know Allen for his 'New Woman' novel, The Woman Who Did, which I was thinking of re-reading for the CoB too. I like the sound of his woman on a bike taking on the world. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ooh, I haven't read The Woman Who Did, and obviously should, as it seems clear that I like books starring smart (approximately) Edwardian women. Thanks, Alex! And good luck with your CoB - you have more stamina than me!

      Delete
  9. This is a very dangerous list as it contains a few authors I hadn't heard of before and others I like a lot which tells me I need to look into all of them. I really like it. For once not a list full of new releases.
    Happy Reading in 2014!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I suspect I'm not going to get to many new releases in my lifetime, esp. the mega-long ones, given my TBR! It's such a terrifying time of the year for adding to one's collections - thanks for popping by, Caroline!

      Delete
  10. The Good Soldier is one of the best books I have read. I found it weird at first and then, wow, it just hits you. I read Offshore by Penelope Fitzgerald at the end of last year, I really want to read The Bookshop now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Alice! The Good Soldier seemed so uneven at first - like I'd never grasp a narrative thread that would lead me out - but then, as you say, wow. WOW. I've got Fitzgerald's The Golden Child to read next, as a mystery set in a King Tut exhibition in the British Museum sounded just my sort of thing. I can't wait!

      Delete
  11. I've not read any of these but they all look very good. I hope most of them are published in the U.S. or at least distributed here. Thanks for the recommendations!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's so exciting this time of year when you can stock up on recommendations for the future! My wishlist is now bursting! I hope you can get hold of some of these, Jeanie! Enjoy 2014!

      Delete
  12. Good to know you have been enjoying your reading in the year just gone by. And what an impressive number you've read, too! I truly envy your speed of reading. I enjoyed both Tey's Daughter of Time and The Franchise Affair (both on audiobooks, though) and am looking forward to Miss Pym Disposes. Now I'll have to add Brat Farrar to the list as well. My introduction to Barbara Pym was Some Tame Gazelle (which I loved), must really get to Excellent Women soon. Have another great reading year this 2014, Vicki! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Michelle - I'm hoping to get a nice mix of old, vintage and newer stuff again. I'm quite tempted to read Brat Farrar again, actually, as it was so good. And lots more B.Pym! I hope your reading year will be a dazzling one!

      Delete
  13. What a great list! Tey is an author I've been meaning to try for a long time and Under the Skin is very near the top of my TBR pile. I hope you find many more equally good books in 2014!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I feel really optimistic about 2014, Jackie - thank you! - it's going to be a busy year, so maybe I won't be able to squeeze in so many books, but there's so many interesting things out there!

      Delete
  14. Happy New Year Vicki! An interesting and varied list, some new to me too. I hope to read Tampa soon, and have been meaning to read a Tey book for years.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Lindsay! Tampa really won me over - I think it helped that I'd read Lolita for the first time too in 2013, as there is some byplay, definitely: Tampa really makes one think about how one defines illegality for women vs. men.

      Delete
  15. Happy new year, Vicki! 145 is brilliant, and no wonder you couldn't stick to ten :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Charlie - Happy New Year! And so many of my re-reads were great reads too -- I should just have printed the whole list (almost) and say, "There!" Have a great reading year.

      Delete
  16. So many suggestions here that appeal to me immensely! Love the titles from the beginning of the century too -- a few I haven't heard of before, which is immensely useful for the Century of Books project ;) Looks as though you had plenty of great reading in 2013 -- hope it continues on into this year as well!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Melanie - I see you've enjoyed Herland now too - some of those 'lost' books are absolute gems. Good luck with CoB - I look forward to reading about some great new finds.

      Delete
  17. Wasn't Excellent Women a delight? I read it for the first time during Pym reading read too.
    I have a FMF on my TBR pile for this year, so glad to hear you had a (mostly) good experience with it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No other word for Excellent Women but EXCELLENT! I'm hoping to read some more of her books very soon. Re FMF - the style could be a real deal-breaker, but it is worth pressing on through the initial shock! ;-)

      Delete
  18. A belated happy New Year! I've been slowly working my way through the many lists out there but yours is one of the most interesting so far. Lovely to see Desert of the Heart and The Good Soldier on it, and I'll be adding Lady Rose and Mrs Memmary to my TBR list. Who doesn't need an absolutely charming book now and again!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. All these lists have been very damaging to my TBR! Thanks Susan - I'm really hoping that 2014 can match last year - and I'm on the lookout for something as lovely as Lady Rose!

      Delete
  19. Hiya, nice blog - a few on your list of favourites I'll need to look into further, Faber and Madox Ford mainly

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Col - I'd been lurking on your blog for a while, quietly adding things to my wishlist!

      Delete
  20. Finding your blog might be the highlight of my day! And from this post I can already see my "to read" list continuing to grow. Thanks for the suggestions and reviews for like-minded readers!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh that's very kind -- I love your blog and it has caused my TBR to blow out to monstrous size!

      Delete

{READ IN 2014}

  • [K = Kindle]
  • 140.
  • 139.
  • 138.
  • 137.
  • 136.
  • 135. Some Must Watch - Ethel Lina White [K]
  • 134. Harry Potter & the Philosopher's Stone - J. K. Rowling [re-read]
  • 133. Salad Days - Ronnie Scott [essay; K]
  • 132. The Masqueraders - Georgette Heyer [re-read; K]
  • 131. Charlie M - Brian Freemantle [K]
  • 130. The Thirteenth Pearl - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 129. Mystery of Crocodile Island - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 128. The Strange Message in the Parchment - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 127. The Sky Phantom [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 126. The Secret of the Forgotten City [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 125. Mystery of the Glowing Eye [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 124. The Double Jinx Mystery [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 123. The Secret of Mirror Bay [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 122. The Crooked Banister [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 121. The Mysterious Mannequin [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 120. The Invisible Intruder [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 119. The Spider Sapphire Mystery [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 118. The Clue in the Crossword Cipher [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 117. The Mystery of the 99 Steps [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 116. The Phantom of Pine Hill [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 115. The Clue of the Whistling Bagpipes [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 114. The Moonstone Castle Mystery [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 113. The Clue of the Dancing Puppet [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 112. The Mystery of the Fire Dragon [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 111. The Clue in the Old Stagecoach [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 110. The Secret of the Golden Pavilion [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 109. The Haunted Showboat [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 108. The Hidden Window Mystery [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 107. The Witch Tree Symbol [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 106. The Scarlet Slipper Mystery [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 105. The Ringmaster's Secret [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 104. The Clue of the Velvet Mask [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 103. The Mystery at the Ski Jump [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 102. The Clue of the Black Keys [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 101. The Secret of the Wooden Lady [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 100. The Clue of the Leaning Chimney [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 99. The Ghost of Blackwood Hall [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 98. The Clue in the Old Album [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 97. The Mystery of the Tolling Bell [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 96. The Clue in the Crumbling Wall [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 95. The Secret in the Old Attic [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 94. The Clue in the Jewel Box [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 93. The Quest of the Missing Map [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 92. The Mystery at the Moss-Covered Mansion [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 91. The Mystery of the Brass-Bound Trunk [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 90. The Clue of the Tapping Heels [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 89. The Haunted Bridge [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 88. The Whispering Statue [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 87. The Mystery of the Ivory Charm [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 86. The Message in the Hollow Oak [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 85. The Clue of the Broken Locket [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 84. The Password to Larkspur Lane [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 83. The Sign of the Twisted Candles [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 82. Nancy's Mysterious Letter [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 81. The Clue in the Diary [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 80. The Secret of Red Gate Farm [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 79. The Secret of Shadow Ranch [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 78. The Mystery at Lilac Inn [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 77. The Bungalow Mystery [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 76. The Hidden Staircase [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 75. The Secret of the Old Clock [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 74. Pineapple: A Global History - Kaori O'Connor [K]
  • 73. Pineapple Girl - Betty Neals [re-read; K]
  • 72. Hunting the Wild Pineapple - Thea Astley [K]
  • 71. At the Sign of the Golden Pineapple - M.C. Beaton [K]
  • 70. Minerva - Marion Chesney (aka M.C. Beaton) [K]
  • 69. The Pendragon Legend - Antal Szerb [K]
  • 68. North from Rome - Helen MacInnes [re-read]
  • 67. Modesty Blaise - Peter O'Donnell
  • 66. The Circular Staircase - Mary Roberts Rinehart [K]
  • 65. The West End Front: The Wartime Secrets of London's Grand Hotels - Matthew Sweet
  • 64. Louisiana - Frances Hodgson Burnett [K]
  • 63. The Lost Prince - Frances Hodgson Burnett [K]
  • 62. T. Tembarom - Frances Hodgson Burnett [K]
  • 61. Lucy Carmichael - Margaret Kennedy [K]
  • 60. Love Lessons: A Wartime Journal - Joan Wyndham
  • 59. The Venetian Affair - Helen MacInnes [re-read]
  • 58. The Double Image - Helen MacInnes [re-read]
  • 57. Venetia - Georgette Heyer [re-read; K]
  • 56. Poison in the Pen - Patricia Wentworth [re-read; K]
  • 55. Ladies Bane - Patricia Wentworth [re-read?]
  • 54. Spotlight [a.k.a. Wicked Uncle] - Patricia Wentworth
  • 53. The Benevent Treasure - Patricia Wentworth [re-read; K]
  • 52. The Catherine-Wheel - Patricia Wentworth [re-read; K]
  • 51. The Alington Inheritance - Patricia Wentworth [re-read; K]
  • 50. The Key - Patricia Wentworth [re-read; K]
  • 49. The Watersplash - Patricia Wentworth [re-read; K]
  • 48. Miss Silver Comes to Stay - Patricia Wentworth [re-read; K]
  • 47. The Ivory Dagger - Patricia Wentworth [re-read; K]
  • 46. Miss Silver Intervenes - Patricia Wentworth [re-read; K]
  • 45. Pilgrim's Rest - Patricia Wentworth [re-read; K]
  • 44. The Traveller Returns - Patricia Wentworth [re-read; K]
  • 43. The Case is Closed - Patricia Wentworth [re-read; K]
  • 42. Vanishing Point - Patricia Wentworth [re-read; K]
  • 41. The Chinese Shawl - Patricia Wentworth [re-read; K]
  • 40. Through the Wall - Patricia Wentworth [re-read; K]
  • 39. Lonesome Road - Patricia Wentworth [re-read; K]
  • 38. The Runaways [Linnets & Valerians] - Elizabeth Goudge [K]
  • 37. The Blinded Man [Misterioso]- Arne Dahl [K]
  • 36. Cloak of Darkness - Helen MacInnes [re-read]
  • 35. The Hidden Target - Helen MacInnes [re-read]
  • 34. Sprig Muslin - Georgette Heyer [re-read; K]
  • 33. The Corinthian - Georgette Heyer [re-read; K]
  • 32. The Talisman Ring - Georgette Heyer [re-read; K]
  • 31. The Unknown Ajax - Georgette Heyer [re-read; K]
  • 30. The Quiet Gentleman - Georgette Heyer [re-read; K]
  • 29. Unnatural Death - Dorothy L. Sayers [re-read; K]
  • 28. Want to Play - P. J. Tracy [re-read; K]
  • 27. The ABC Murders - Agatha Christie [re-read; K]
  • 26. Out of the Past - Patricia Wentworth [re-read; K]
  • 25. The Listening Eye - Patricia Wentworth [re-read; K]
  • 24. Brewster's Millions - George Barr McCutcheon [K]
  • 23. A Fair Barbarian - Frances Hodgson Burnett [K]
  • 22. Gimlet: King of the Commandos - Capt. W. E. Johns [re-read]
  • 21. Out of Circulation - Miranda James [K]
  • 20. Beautiful Ruins - Jess Walter [K]
  • 19. The Blank Wall - Elisabeth Sanxay Holding [K]
  • 18. Dumps: A Plain Girl - L. T. Meade [K]
  • 17. The Inconvenient Duchess - Christine Merrill [K]
  • 16. Biggles Takes it Rough - Capt. W.E. Johns
  • 15. Pnin - Vladimir Nabokov [K]
  • 14. The Silver Linings Playbook - Matthew Quick [K]
  • 13. Eleanor & Park - Rainbow Rowell [K]
  • 12. The Case of William Smith - Patricia Wentworth [re-read; K]
  • 11. Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm - Kate Douglas Wiggin [K]
  • 10. A Sweet Girl Graduate - L.T. Meade [K]
  • 9. A College Girl - Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey [K]
  • 8. The Woman Who Did - Grant Allen [K]
  • 7. The Golden Child - Penelope Fitzgerald [K]
  • 6. Her Father's Name - Florence Marryat [K]
  • 5. They Do It With Mirrors - Agatha Christie [re-read; K]
  • 4. Hallowe'en Party - Agatha Christie [re-read; K]
  • 3. Cards on the Table - Agatha Christie [re-read; K]
  • 2. Dumb Witness - Agatha Christie [re-read; K]
  • 1. Fer-de-Lance - Rex Stout [K]