My Reading Year

It’s been a good year for reading. I’ve read almost twice as many books as last year (60 compared to 31). I’m not entirely sure why this is but I know I have not felt as enthusiastic about reading for an awful long time. There are a number of reasons for this.

The biggest reason is probably the kindle. I’ve got used to using it now and I have found that you can get some excellent books at a very low price. As well as some free classics. It has made it so much easier for me to read on the go.

I made a decision quite early on with the kindle that I wasn’t ever going to pay full price for a book on it. There were two reasons for this: one, I felt that if I was paying 6.99 for a book, I wanted to have the flesh and blood thing in my hands and two, it was pointless to pay full price when you could get very good books for 2.99 or less. This has changed the way I buy books for the kindle and it may seem a little odd. (Certainly, it is not the way I would think in an actual book shop.) But it has meant that I have experimented more and found some excellent authors into the bargain. (Josh Lanyon, Simon Lelic and Patrick McCabe spring to mind.)

The other main reason is I started to use the recommendations on Goodreads to help me choose. This has led me to many new authors – in fact more than 50% of the authors i have read this year have been new to me. I feel like I have climbed out of a reading rut and am very excited by the thought of what I will read next year.

I’d also like to thank the Eclectic Reader Challenge for helping to fire my enthusiasm. This led me to read genres I wouldn’t normally think of and helped me to broaden my reading horizons. I managed to do the challenge twice which was pleasing and I am already thinking about what I might read for next year’s challenge.

As for the best books I’ve read this year, I’d have to say The Road by Cormac McCarthy was a favourite. A devastatingly bleak version of the future that seemed all too possible. The bleakly sarcastic world view of Charlie Brooker was another excellent read – I can Make You Hate is a collection of his columns and articles from over the last few years. And very entertaining it was too. Food for thought, definitely.

I’ve included a list of all the books that I’ve read this year along with their ratings from Goodreads. I’ve included links to the ones that I’ve reviewed.


Detective Fiction

Dystopia (By which I mean, a story set in a world of the future which is similar to ours but with certain details changed or exaggerated.)


Family Drama

  • Empty Mansion Empty Heart – Everett Beich 1/5
  • Where Angels Fear to Tread – E. M. Forster 3/5
  • The Weight of Silence – Heather Gudenkauf 3/5
  • I’m the King of the Castle – Susan Hill 3/5

Historical Fiction


  • Something Wicked This Way Comes – Ray Bradbury 4/5
  • Glamorama – Bret Easton Ellis 4/5
  • Under the Skin – Michael Faber 3/5
  • Rosemary’s Baby – Ira Levin 4/5
  • The Butcher Boy – Patrick McCabe 4/5
  • The Island of Doctor Moreau – H G Wells 3/5


Literary Criticism

  • Margaret Atwood – In Other Worlds: SF and the Human Imagination -currently reading




Science Fiction (By which I mean a story set on a different planet or universe with great advances in technology.)

  • The Player of Games – Iain M. Banks 3/5
  • An Alien Heat – Michael Moorcock 4/5
  • Slaughterhouse Five – Kurt Vonnegut – 4/5

Short Stories

  • How it Ended – Jay McInerney 4/5


  • A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens 4/5
  • The Haunting of Hill House – Shirley Jackson 3/5


Young Adult

The end of the Eclectic Reader Challenge 2013 – really, it is the end this time.

So, I have finished another twelve books for The Eclectic Reader Challenge. And it has been very enjoyable and made me read things I wouldn’t normally which I guess is the point. And I’m definitely not going to do it again this time but I’m glad I did it twice as it meant I explored genres even more closely then I would have done.

It’s hard to pick a favourite genre because often one of the books I read for a genre was great but the other not so good. I enjoyed both the books I read for GLBT very much so that was definitely a winner. I would say that Romantic Suspense is my least favourite genre but I did discover a writer I really enjoyed in Josh Lanyon and have since read another of his books so I can’t really complain about it.

I will definitely take part in the challenge next year as I have really enjoyed changing my reading habits and discovering new and interesting authors.

Here is a list of what I read in each category and the rating I gave them on Goodreads and you can judge for yourself which I enjoyed the most.

  1. Translated fiction – The Prague Cemetery – Umberto Eco 3/5, Venus in Furs – Leopold von Sacher-Masoch 3/5
  2. Historical mystery – The Moonstone -Wilkie Collins 4/5, A Test of Wills – Charles Todd 3/5
  3. Romantic suspense – Come Unto These Yellow Sands – Josh Lanyon 4/5, Awaken – Katie Kacvinsky 3/5
  4. Made into a movie – The Virgin Suicides – Jeffrey Eugenides 4/5, Election – Tom Perrotta 2/5
  5. New Adult – The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins 4/5, The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky 4/5
  6. Urban Fantasy – Stardust – Neil Gaiman 3/5, Something Wicked This Way Comes – Ray Bradbury 4/5
  7. Dystopian – The Testament of Jessie Lamb – Jane Rogers 3/5, The Road – Cormac McCarthy 5/5
  8. Memoir – Girl Interrupted – Suzanna Kaysen 4/5, It’s Only A Movie -Mark Kermode 5/5
  9. LGBT – The City and The Pillar – Gore Vidal 5/5, Rent Boy – Gary Indiana 4/5
  10. Action Adventure – The Zombie Room – R.D. Ronald 2/5, The Lost World – Arthur Conan Doyle 3/5
  11. Humour – A Walk in the World – Bill Bryson 4/5, I Can Make You Hate – Charlie Brooker 5/5
  12. Published in 2013 Levels of Life – Julian Barnes 5/5, The Painted Girls – Cathy Marie Buchanan 3/5