Tuesday, 7 January 2014

2013 Favourites: Books

2013 Favourites Books
This is a more unusual post for Just Jess, but one I really wanted to include in my 2013 Favourites series as I've really fallen back in love with reading over the last year or so, since buying my Kindle. I still prefer the feel of a "real book" but having my Kindle is so convenient and has definitely contributed to how much I've read in the last few months as it's just so easy to take anywhere and I can have three or four books on the go at once, and be able to choose which one I fancy reading at any given time. So, in no particular order, here are a few of my favourite books of the last year.
2013 Favourite Books
A Casual Vacancy (J. K. Rowling) I put off reading this for so long because I love Harry Potter so much that I was scared this just wouldn't live up to my expectations. I eventually made myself start it after reading Jennie's review and although it took me a couple of chapters to get into it, I ended up loving it - so much so that I even bought a copy for my Mum for her birthday. I love the way that, in typical Rowling style, you get to know the characters and their relationships so well that you almost feel that you know them yourself. I also really enjoyed the subject matter she chose to write about, I found it so interesting and thought-provoking. Definitely a recommended read.
Twenties Girl (Sophie Kinsella) I've previously read a couple of Sophie Kinsella's books and, whilst I've enjoyed them, I wouldn't say I've loved them. Twenties Girl, however, was one of those books that had me almost running home from work to get back to it as I enjoyed it so much; again, I really empathised with the characters and felt like I really got to know them over the course of the story.
Our Story (McFly) As a dedicated McFly fan (some would say obsessed..) I was gifted three copies of this book last Christmas - I only read one, but I absolutely adored it. I laughed and cried and thoroughly enjoyed it from beginning to end. It's so easy to forget that you never see everything about a celebrity, even when you love them as much as I love McFly, so to read this incredibly open and personal story was amazing and felt almost invasive in its intimacy. I'd definitely recommend this if you like McFly or even if you don't (but I would say that, wouldn't I!?)
Gone Girl (Gillian Flynn) This was another book I purchased on my Kindle after reading a review by Jennie, and although I loved the story and the way it was written, I did find the ending incredibly disappointing - if you've read the book, you'll probably know what I mean. I found this a really interesting exploration of the way people present themselves and how you can ultimately never truly know another person and I did find that it really made me think.
January First (Michael Schofield) I think this book was an Amazon recommendation which I downloaded and proceeded to absolutely devour; the true story of Schofield's daughter, January, this was fascinating and heart-breaking in equal measure. The book tells the tale of the Schofields' battle to have their daughter diagnosed with schizophrenia, and the impact it had on their family life. I know that it's partially the psychologist in me that meant I enjoyed this so much, but then again, I think it's a really important book as mental health issues are still so poorly understood; I'd love for everyone I know to read this.
Gingerbread Man (Maggie Shayne) I've always been partial to a good murder mystery, and this one was unusual in that it had a sort-of happy ending which I have to admit I didn't see coming until we found out who the killer was - this was a really tense, well-written read which I thoroughly enjoyed and I'll be looking for more of Shayne's work in the future.
The Storyteller (Jodi Picoult) I really enjoy Picoult's work and have since I first read My Sister's Keeper when I was around 14; I've always liked things that make you think and lead you to question your beliefs and opinions. I found the subject matter of The Storyteller really fascinating and found that I learnt a lot as well as enjoying the story and seeing how it unfolded. The story switched between present-day America and WW2-era Europe, which I thought was a really interesting way to narrate the story and worked well. I know some people aren't keen on Picoult and if that's you, I'd recommend this book as it is quite different to her usual style.
Brain On Fire: My Month of Madness (Susannah Cahalan) Another one that was mostly for my inner psychologist; this chronicles the illness of the author, a journalist, as a rare autoimmune disease attacked her brain causing psychotic symptoms which saw her confined to a psychiatric ward. I found this an immensely interesting read and, as always, the fact that it's a true story made it even more so.
The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini) It seems this was compulsory reading in secondary school for most of my friends who are my age, but I never read it at school and have somehow passed it by ever since; I think it was recommended to me by one such friend who thought I'd enjoy it and indeed, I did. Again, it's a story that makes you think and one I found to be a fascinating, though in some ways harrowing, read.
The Night Rainbow (Claire King) Another Amazon recommendation as I recall, The Night Rainbow was written from the perspective of five-and-a-half-year-old Pea, and narrates the story of her and her four-year-old sister Margot's summer. This was another story which made me think, addressing important issues such as grief and community responsibility, but through the innocent eyes of a child. I found it a really enjoyable read and I really didn't see the twist at the end coming!
So, those are my top ten books from the last year; if you've enjoyed this post, please feel free to check out my other 2013 Favourites posts - Make-Up and Skincare & Body Products.
What have been your favourite books this year? Are you a big reader? Have you got any recommendations for me?

xo
My Featured Blogger this month is the lovely Anna from AnnieMAC; hop on over to her blog for tutorials, reviews and more!

21 comments:

  1. Soo funny, I have almost exactly the same cover for my Kindle. I've read all of the Jodi Picoult books, and some of them are brilliant, but they tend to get very formulaic, it's exactly the same structure in many of the books although the story is different. That's why I LOVED the Storyteller because it was a different take and the topic was very well depicted. Xx

    Makeup by Candlelight

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    1. That's exactly what I was trying to say about The Storyteller, Charlotte - thank you! I'm glad it's not just me who found it a refreshing change :) xo

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  2. I've only read a couple of these (Casual Vacancy, Gone Girl, Kite Runner) so it's awesome to have some good recommendations for this year, cheers! : )

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  3. I really liked the Twenties Girl it was a really good read - easy but certainly enjoyable and had me crying in parts! I'm not a bit of a reading buzz at the moment so i'll be looking into a couple of these titles for myself!

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    1. Hope you find something you enjoy! :) xo

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  4. Out of that list I have only read Gone Girl which I did like but felt it ended so abruptly, so much so I thought my download hadn't worked properly lol!
    Amy x A Little Boat Sailing

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    1. I just got really annoyed at the ending haha! I guess it was kind of inevitable but I found it such a disappointment. xo

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  5. Aaah thanks for this list Jess, I'm always willing myself to read more, so has done the trick.
    Marijke x

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    1. I hope you enjoy them! It can be hard to find the time to read non-course-related books when you're a student, so I sympathise :) xo

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  6. I feel the same way about A Casual Vacancy, but I suppose with all of these great reviews I'll have to give it a run through. Love your book list, will keep it as reference through 2014!

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    1. I'm feeling the pressure, now! ;D Hope you enjoy them Tamara xo

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  7. Twenties girl is amazimg!!!

    thepowderednose.blogspot.com
    X

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    1. I found it a really good read, too! :) xo

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    1. Oh me too, it really makes you think, doesn't it!? xo

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  9. Thanks for the great list! I'm an avid reader and I'm always looking for new books to read!!!
    Marie
    Http://iamthemakeupjunkie.blogspot.com

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    1. I hope you find some good ones here then, Marie :) xo

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  10. I have only read The Kite runner from the above list, need to read some more, you have listed some of my favorite authors here. Nice list, bookmarked!

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    1. Sounds like we have similar taste then, Esha! Hope you enjoy :) xo

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  11. So pleased you enjoyed The Casual Vacancy! Rowling is so amazing at creating and building up worlds within her books <3

    Jennie xo | sailorjennie.com

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