The Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series by Rick Riordan
I just love a good children's series, so it's always exciting for me when I discover a new one. Beside the obvious pick of Harry Potter, other existing favourites of mine include the Inkheart series and His Dark Materials. I ordered myself a Percy Jackson box-set in August, and simply devoured all five books during my summer holidays. Percy is a demi-God, the son of a Greek God, and he gets into all sorts of adventures inspired by Greek mythology. This series is simply loads of fun, and if you like children's literature, you'll probably love it just as much as I did.
Z by Therese Anne Fowler
Tender is the Night was my January pick, so it shouldn't surprise anyone to see that I read more about the Fitzgeralds. I thought Z was a sympathetic, balanced portrait of Zelda Fitzgerald and her struggle to be seen as something more than F. Scott Fitzgerald's wife. Fowler writes Zelda as full of life and vitality, and she jumps right off the page. This portrayal of the Fitzgerald marriage was masterfully done and the book was very touching in places.
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
I've been meaning to read Oryx and Crake for years, and this year I finally did it. And it was even better than I hoped it would be. Atwood's dystopian vision of the future is scarily believable and the story is gripping from the initial chapters. I rushed through this in two days flat and can not wait to read the remaining two books in the trilogy.
The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter
Another book that I've been meaning to get to for years, and another instant favourite. Carter retells some of the most famous fairytales in a dark and more adult way, adding in-depth characterisation and suspense. The title story is genuinely creepy and all of the stories are written in beautiful prose. Even better, Carter manages to create the fairytale enchanted yet dark forest atmosphere perfectly. I don't know why I waited so long to read this one.
My Promised Land by Ari Shavit
December was a hard month to pick a book for, as I spent the vast majority of it reading Les Miserables, which sadly will not become a favourite. But I did manage to squeeze in this fabulous non-fiction book about the creation of and history of Israel, told mixed with the author's personal experiences and those of his family. It's a great example of high quality writing in a non-fiction book and does a good job at remaining balanced, something that's rare indeed in books about Israel. The complicated issues aren't over-simplified and it left me with lots to think about.
All in all, 2013 was a good reading year. Now that I've been blogging for a few years, I was able to take a step back from review copies and new releases and simply read what I wanted to read, when I wanted to read it. My reading did take a nose-dive during the second half of the year, but I'm well back on reading form now and looking forward to 2014. How was your reading year?