Books, remember them, that combination of paper and ink that has been enjoyed by millions of people for hundreds of years? Containing characters, paragraphs, passages and pages that have brought entertainment and enlightenment to the masses, books transcend cultures, time and place. I’m talking about the real thing of course, not the so-called e-book or other such digital incarnations.
So, given how much we all love lists, I thought I might take the time to list my top ten reads of 2013. Now, this list is all about the books I read in 2013. It doesn’t matter when the book was first published or when I may have first read it, any book that I read (or re-read) in 2013 is eligible for inclusion. This is not a ‘best books of 2013’ list as that would be impossible. This is just a reflection on, and evaluation of, the books I read last year. Needless to say, these are real books, none of this e-book malarkey. It seems to be lost on many that you can’t read a book in a digital format, because a book is a tactile object that is more than just the words and imagery contained within it. Stories can be experienced in myriad ways and, yes, you can read a story in a digital format, but that does not qualify you to claim that you have “read the book”.
The books I have included are not listed in any particular order of preference and nor do I claim that all, or any, are classics demanding your attention, so make of this list what you will. Some are serious, some are just fun and some have interesting characters, themes and/or ideas, while some can be appreciated purely for the skill with which the story has been constructed. I am certainly not a literature snob who believes that anything outside the ‘canon’ should be treated with contempt, but nor do I have much tolerance for those authors who treat the reader with contempt and churn out the seemingly endless supply of mind-numbing derivative drivel that fills bookshop shelves.
Anyway, back to the list. The titles below are the 10 best books I read in 2013. Of course, it doesn’t mean any of them are any good in the larger scheme of things, but they are the books I enjoyed the most from those that I consumed over the last 12 months.
The Art of Fielding – Chad Harbach
1Q84 – Haruki Murakami
Telegraph Avenue – Michael Chabon
Hello Darkness – Sam De Brito
After Dark – Haruki Murakami
Open City – Teju Cole
Sweet Tooth – Ian McEwan
The Street Sweeper – Elliot Perlman
Ludmila’s Broken English – DBC Pierre
The Good Life – Jay McInerney
I might get around to making a list of my all-time favourite books one day soon. But, alas, a look back at my best books of 2013 will have to suffice for now. Read it, enjoy, and by all means let me know what you think.