The Best Books of 2013…so far

The BookDepository

2013 has been a disappointing year for fiction, but there are a few gems out there.

Here are my favourite books of the year so far:

My Notorious Life by Madame X

The best 2013 release I’ve read is My Notorious Life by Kate Manning. It is an atmospheric book set in 19th century New York. It deals with the controversial subject of abortion in a sensitive and thought-provoking way and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys intelligent story-telling.



The SonThe Son by Michel Rostain isn’t an easy read as it is about a man who loses his teenage son to meningitis. The realistic nature of the text makes this book heart-breaking in places, but it is also full of hope. I’ve never read another book that makes me understand the emotions of another human so completely and so this more than makes up for the pain induced by reading it.



Magda by Meike Ziervogel gives a short, but powerful insight into the reason Magda Goebbels chose to murder her own children. It isn’t a happy read, but I love books that pack an emotional punch in this way.




The First Book of Calamity Leek

The First Book of Calamity Leek by Paula Lichtarowicz is the most original book I’ve read this year. It is set in a large house where a group of girls are imprisoned. It isn’t perfect, but I loved the mystery and the way the girls built up their own language/society. Recommended to anyone looking for something a bit different. .



Far From The Tree: A Dozen Kinds of Love

The only 2013 release I’ve awarded 5 stars to is Far From the Tree by Andrew Solomon. This non-fiction book will make you look at disability, parenting and society in a whole new light. The world would be a better place if everyone read it.



Have you read any of these books?

Which 2013 releases have you most enjoyed?


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  1. Sandy says:

    I’m definitely bookmarking this post, as I take your recommendations very seriously! You are not an easy sell. But I have browsed through my calendar thus far and here are the ones I’ve enjoyed: Steve Jobs biography, Indiscretion by Charles Dubow, The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton, Dark Places by Gillian Flynn, Rod Stewarts autobiography, Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, and The Dinner.

    1. Jackie says:

      Sandy, Thanks for all the recommendations. I enjoyed The Dinner and am intrigued by all the positive reviews for Me Before You (although that was released in the UK last year) but I think I should try to read some biographies – Steve Jobs is very high on my list.

  2. Shan says:

    I haven’t been overly excited about many books this year however Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Ghana Must Go by Taiye Selasi are the standouts for me so far.

    1. Jackie says:

      Shan, I heard a few positive things about Ghana Must Go before publication, but have yet to see rave reviews from a trusted source. I’ll ensure I try it and Americanah soon. :-)

  3. cbjames says:

    I don’t read many new releases but I liked Messud’ s The Woman Upstaire and I’m currently enjoying AMericanah.

    1. Jackie says:

      cbjames, It is great to see the same books cropping up again – a sign of real quality. :-)

  4. Mystica says:

    I’ve only read the Kate Manning book which I enjoyed (and reviewed as well).

    1. Jackie says:

      Mystica, Yay! Let’s hope word about this fantastic book can spread far and wide!

  5. I liked Far From the Tree a whole lot and also really liked Joyland by Stephen King which I just finished, and The Way of the Dog by Sam Savage. There’s also a fantastic new young adult book called Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell.

    1. Jackie says:

      threegoodrats, Sam Savage is one of those authors I keep meaning to try, but haven’t yet. I should get round to it soon. And shockingly the same is true for Stephen King. I REALLY need to change that soon too. Thanks for the recommendations!

  6. PSKarr says:

    I am looking forward to reading the new Khaled Hosseini book. Also looking forward to reading Jeffery Archer’s latest!

    1. Jackie says:

      PSKarr, I hope you enjoy reading them both! The Hosseini is very high in my TBR pile :-)

  7. Ooh I haven’t got or read any of these, lots for me to investigate. I think I tried reading an Andrew Solomon book years ago about depression. I think I’d like to try The Son at some point.

    1. Jackie says:

      Lindsay, I’ve just finished Solomon’s book on depression and thought it was equally amazing – I’ll be posting about it soon. I hope you decide to try The Son and enjoy it as much as I did.

  8. I loved My Notorious Life, I actually got to video conference with Kate Manning just last night. I’ll be adding The Son and The First Book of Calamity Leek to mys wish list

    1. Jackie says:

      shelleyrae, It is great that you got to have a video conference with Kate Manning – I went to hear her talk at the London Literary festival last month and she was fascinating. *heads over to your blog to watch the video you have of your conversation* I hope you enjoy The Son and Calamity – they are both very different, but I loved them :-)

  9. JC says:

    Another vote here for Americanah and The Woman Upstairs. Also Meg Wolitzer, The Interestings and Benjamin Stein, The Canvas.

    1. Jackie says:

      JC, The Interestings isn’t out here until later in the year, but it is already on my watch list. Great to see so many people recommending the same books. I hope I enjoy them as much as you did.

  10. Rachael says:

    I am reading Andrew Solomon’s ‘Far From the Tree’ and emphatically agree that it is a book that everyone should read. It is a big, big, book, but so beautiful written and engaging, I can’t put it down. Read it, and tell other people to read it. Give it to your children to read when they are old enough.

    1. Jackie says:

      Rachael, Yay! It is so good to hear that other people love it as much as I do. Thanks for spreading the word!

  11. Louise says:

    I very rarely read books in the year they are released, sometimes I manage paperbacks but that’s about it. I’ll be writing my own Best Reads of 2013 next week and so far not one 2013 published book is threatening the Top Ten. Astray by Emma Donoghue (published in paperback this year) is the closest I’ve come. Have to agree that it’s been a disappointing year, not only have none of my 2013 reads impressed me so much but I’m not even particularly excited by what’s coming up.

    1. Jackie says:

      Louise, I’ve found a few 2013 books to get excited about now (Americanah and Mountains Echoed) Hopefully they’ll live up to my expectations and you can find some great 2013 releases to read too.

  12. nathan fisher says:

    I have bookmarked this post because I must remember to pick up Far From The Tree. I like the sound of that. Thanks for the recommendation.

    1. Jackie says:

      nathan, I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did!

  13. JoV says:

    All very serious and dark subject matters Jackie. Lets see when the weather gets colder if I am up for one of these! Thanks for the recommendations.

    1. Jackie says:

      Jo, Yes…I do tend to like the darker books. Hopefully I’ll find some lighter things to enjoy later in the year :-)


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