I love lists and love reading other bloggers who post on the best books they have read in 2013. Love looking at the Guardian et al and see what the litterati think are their best books, most of whom I have never heard of. So as it is New Year's Eve tomorrow thought I had better sort mine out. Here goes. They are in no particular order. If you wish to read my review of each one then just click on title and, hopefully, if my IT skills are up to scratch, you should find yourself on the relevant page.
- The Mystery of Princess Louise - Lucinda Hawksley
- The Assassination of the Archduke - Greg King and Sue Woolmans
- Richard Burton Diaries edited by Chris Williams
- Longbourn - Jo Baker
- Knight Crusader - Ronald Welch
- Letters from Skye - Jessica Brockmole
- India Carr and the Shadow of Anarchy - Carol K Carr
- Capturing the Light - Roger Watson and Helen Rappaport
- The Blue Castle - L M Montgomery
- Serving Victoria, Life in the Royal Household - Kate Hubbard
Notes on the above: Though Knight Crusader by Ronald Welch is on this list, I can recommend all the books about the Carey family written by this author. Slightly Foxed are bringing them all out again over the next year or two and I can highly recommend them. They have a huge historical span and, though they were written for children, all adults can read and enjoy them. I am looking forward to reading them all in due course.
The Blue Castle by L M Montgomery makes this list as though I have read it countless times, this was a delightful new edition and I loved it all over again. I reviewed it as I wanted more people to discover this delightful book. Now that this author's books are out of copyright, new editions of some of her lesser known books will be republished which is wonderful. Virago have already reprinted the three Emily books and I bought them and re-read them and loved them once more. And yes, I already have editions of these but could not resist buying these rather delightful paperbacks. So keep an eye out for more offerings from this wonderful author.
Other books I wish to mention which I loved in 2013 are all the books by Madeleine Brent, much loved by me some forty years ago and now reprinted by Souvenir Press. My reviews of these titles are here and so glad they are available again.
When I was in Australia earlier this year Bloomsbury were incredibly generous to me and sent lots of books direct to my Kindle. Among those I rediscovered from their list were The Lorimer LIne sequence of books by Anne Melville, which I also remember well from my teenage years. Still immensely readable. And then the joy of The Children of the Archbishop by Norman Collins which I first read when I was thirteen. Loved at the time but did not appreciate the Trollopian feel of it, now I do. Then Bond Street Story, London Belongs to me and Anna by the same author. Bloomsbury have a wonderful elist - do check it out.
Looking back on my list of books this year, once again crime fiction feature heavily. I have re-read all of Ngaio Marsh this year and am now embarking on an Agatha Christie voyage but do not plan on reading all of them. There are 60+ to get through and some of them I do not wish to visit again.
Clear once again that the Orange Prize, the Booker Prize et al do not find a place in Random Jottings. I used to feel guilty about the lack of modern fiction I read, or rather do not read, but I have ceased to worry about that now. I am old enough to read what I please and though I may have no claim to be one of the litterati, I love what I read and intend to carry on doing so.
I usually read around 230 books a year but am down this year, just making 190. This is due to many more hours and days spent with my gorgeous granddaughters so am not complaining. And part of that time is also spent reading books to Florence and Beatrice so wonderful to nurture the joy of books in my darling girls.
And, finally, I always like to choose one book as my Book of the Year and my criteria for my choice is that it keeps me totally engrossed throughout my read and the memory of it stays with me for a long time afterwards.
There were two such books fighting for this title but in the end I choose The Assassination of the Archduke by Greg King and Sue Woolmans. A marvellous book, tragic and moving.
Roll on 2014 and lots more interesting and exciting books to come.