Monday, 30 December 2013

The Mole's 2013 picks of the year

When Maryom did her Christmas list I mocked her forthe sheer number of books she included and when it came my turn to make a selection I discovered 2 things I hadn't realised
(1) I had read over 100 books during the course of the year
(2) I couldn't decide which to leave out rather than which to include!

I also realised that some books that I would like to include I can't because they haven't actually been published and I haven't published a review yet!

Here in no particular order is my selection

I am going to start  with short stories. I do love short stories but only in collections and the best anthologies, I find, come from a good balance of mixed authors - something that highlights a change as you switch from story to story.

Unthology: No 4 
from Unthank books was one such collection and after choosing my selection I wasn't surprised to find Unthology No 3 in my 2012 selection.  I found No 4 though to be an even better selection so well done Unthank!


The Red Man Turns to Green
was another extremely entertaining selection that I thoroughly enjoyed and it came from a publisher I would not normally associate with short stories. It really left me reflecting on what I'd read.



I didn't read a lot of non-fiction this year but from what I did I have chosen to include two.
A London Year
A collection of diary and journal entries, across the centuries and about just about any topic associated with London. Including the famous Samuel Pepys but also older selections and some modern day, many people famous and many obscure but all with one thing in common - London.

World War One History in an Hour
 Sad to say there was very little I knew about this subject before I read this and now, although I am a long way from knowledgeable, I now have a far better understanding of the how and why. And there is a whole collection of the 'in an hour' series are subjects more than just history and I have found that those I have tried are just as well edited.
 

When it comes to adult fiction you get those superhero characters in thrillers who can climb Everest with a broken leg, stop bullets with their teeth and take on 20 men in a bar fight and still come off best. Well in 2013 I read a couple of such books that I thoroughly enjoyed
The Heist 
Short of including it it in this selection there's not a lot more to say other than I shall be watching for Janet Evanovich in the future.

 Stop at Nothing by JT Brannan
 This book is actually self published but Brannan went on to become published with "Origin" which I have not read but certainly intend to. Stop At Nothing lacks refined editing and are there technical issues (?) So what? It was truly a great fun read and that's what reading should be about sometimes.



And while we are on the subject of self published...
Emerald City
 Chris Nickson is the author of the Richard of Nottingham books which I have enjoyed but this one is on a subject close to his heart and experience and it reflects in the writing style. I don't know if he will ever write another like this but he should.

 Staying with adult books, here is one I came to very late as the publisher celebrated an anniversary and I am grateful for the opportunity.
The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency 
I've not a lot to add except to say that if you've missed out on books like this because you are trying to read new books consistently, then try to find time for some of the older ones too in your reading.

Stop Dead
I have read a couple of books by Russell this year and to choose just one seems unfair as I haven't read one that couldn't make a year's round up. I have chosen this one and in this the style moves slightly towards the "whodunnit" format - but don't worry as the stories still work both ways for the reader. Geraldine Steel rocks by the way.

Five and a Half Tons 
I read this quite late on in the year and was left wondering "is it just that I have only just read it?" but no, I am convinced the antics of the blundering PI are well worth including in the year's selection.


Black Bread White Beer 
A story of loss and reconciliation after the miscarriage of what would have been their first child. I found this to be a book that involved me and while I have never suffered the loss that the couple suffer I think I can understand the effect of the event on the people a whole lot better for reading this.

So let's move on to a lighter note for a few books.
Welcome to the Multiverse * Sorry for the inconvenience
The idea of multi universes isn't new but quite hard to write about and maintain integrity and a serious attitude. So throw away the serious and make it funny! This is what Nayman has done to good effect in a story that is funny and most entertaining.
 
50 Sheds of Grey 
And with all the hype around the erotica of "50 Shades" let's approach the more serious subject of sheds. Did I say serious? Sorry
 
Neither Maryom nor myself would claim to be poetry experts but I know what I like and that's what REALLY matters surely?
Dangerous Cakes
A serious selection of poetry by Elspeth Smith that is sure to please if only some of the time - as with any poetry collection.

Here Come The Creatures  
Wes Magee has written so many poems for younger readers this collection is bound to have something for every younger reader.







While we are on the subject of the younger reader...
The Buccaneering Book Of Pirates 
This collection of pirate stories from around the world is a fantastic book to own in all it's colour and pictures. Enough said really but do take a look.

The Naming of Tishkin Silk
Aimed at the very young, the characters we meet in this series (more to come yet) are the kind of characters we should all aspire to be with their childish innocence, empathy and thoughtfulness.

 Watchers
A story of good and evil and a young boy caught between. One for 9+ readers. 





Blood Oath 
Once again for the younger reader a story set in Roman times of a boy struggling to come to terms with a major upheaval in his life. Part of a series of books that will delight the younger reader.

Moving on to older readers... the teen and YAs out there..
Don't Judge Me 
Linda Strachan has written a few very powerful books for the teen/YA market and in Don't Judge Me she has done it again. Judging others is something we all do and we should all be careful of doing.




Conjuring The Infinite
 Once again one for the older reader - a supernatural thriller with a big twist. Or is there? Is there humour? Different readers seem to have different conclusions except that it is widely enjoyed.

And that concludes my selection. I said 'no particular  order' but what I seemed to have done is grouped and linked the groups. If I had to choose my most favourite book this year then it would probably be...

No, I ain't gonna go there.

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