During 2013 I read just over 30 novels. Some were newly published books, some classics that I’d not read before, and others that were recommended to me.
The discovery of the year, for me, was Ernest Hemingway; someone whose work I’d always intended to read but never quite got around to doing so. I read four of his titles in the Summer. All were excellent, although I found Death in the Afternoon, his treatise on bullfighting quite a slog to finish.
I binged on Ian McEwan – devouring four titles in succession. While Solar, Sweet Tooth and the Comfort of Strangers were all great reads, I chose Atonement alone for my top ten of the year. I can’t explain why it took me so long to get around to reading this book, but I am glad that I finally did.
I also re-read some Graham Greene titles. I’d forgotten how darkly comic Our Man In Havana is.
On holiday in France in the Summer, during a heatwave, I reacquainted myself with the first volume of Somerset Maugham’s short stories, which I last read as a teenager. This collection is worth the price for the first story, Rain, alone. And while that opening tale is dark, there are great comic pieces such as Three Fat Women of Antibes.
A friend loaned me Beryl Bainbridge’s first novel: A weekend With Claude – which contains all the elements of her more famous titles.
Another discovery was Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, which lived up to its modern classic status.
Jane Harris’ period novel, Gillespie and I, set in Glasgow in the 1880s, with its seemingly sweet central character kept me hooked to the last pages.
Finally, Ian Rankin’s most recent Rebus novel, Saints of the Shadow Bible, maintains the high standard of this series and brings Rebus back to mainstream policing, alongside his old adversary, Malcolm Fox.
So, here are my top ten in no particular order.