Where Did 2013 Go?/December Reading

2013 was a very exciting year, for lots of reasons, but it seems to have whizzed by without my having read nearly enough books or done nearly enough writing. And I only managed one solitary blog post. For shame.

However, a super-relaxing 10 day holiday in December gave me the chance to sink back into fiction-reading in a way I haven’t done for months. A lovely mixture of literary and less-literary novels were consumed along with the rum cocktails and sunshine. Here’s a quick summary of my sunbed reading:

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2013)  – Excellent novel which deals with complex issues of race and identity and tells a damn good story at the same time. Draws heavily on personal experience of moving from Nigeria to the States (and back again).

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (2012) – This thriller is silly. And I quite enjoyed it.

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson (2013) – The protagonist, Ursula Todd, lives through the events of last century again and again, with subtle or significant differences each time. This novel manages to be intelligent without being annoyingly clever – Atkinson is up there with my favourite writers.

The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson (2012) –  Made me snort with laughter in an unladylike manner. Allan Karlsson is one of the best creations in modern fiction.

The Testament of Mary by Colm Tóibín (2012) – Did not make me snort with laughter. But this is a brief, beautifully written book which is well worth a read.

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce (2012) – Another (very different) old man protagonises in this lovely, understated story. Funny and sad.

Harvest by Jim Crace (2013) – The first novel I’ve read by Crace, and it certainly won’t be the last. Staggering prose – I have never read such evocative descriptions of rural England.

Reading suggestions for 2014? What were your best reads of last year? What’s on your ‘to read’ list this year?