A look back ~ My 13 Favorite Reads of 2013

Eight of these were recently published books and five were older ones. (Every once in awhile you need to visit the inter-library loan department at the library, or look to see what is at the bottom of your ‘To Be Read’ pile) These are listed alphabetically as it is really difficult to decide which was my very favorite as they were all so different.

1. As the Crow Flies – Craig Johnson (2012)
So far I have not found a weak book in the Walt Longmire mystery series. The characters are wonderful. Great mysteries with a thread of humor that just makes them light up.

2. The Cheshire Cheese Cat: A Dickens of a Tale – Carmen Agra Deedy (Jr. Fiction) (2011)
A cat and mouse tale that includes Charles Dickens and a raven from the Tower of London. It is a fun children’s tale that grownups would enjoy.

3. The Chinese Orange Mystery – Ellery Queen (1945)
I was sure I knew ‘whodunit’ but it seemed impossible. This one really had me stumped.

4. Deadly Harvest – Michael Stanley (2013)
This excellent Botswana police procedural got on the list because of the weak Alan Bradley book. This one was much better that Bradley’s Speaking Among the Bones. It is also a different look at a country made famous by Alexander McCall Smith’s No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series.

5. The Doctor and the Rough Rider – Mike Resnick (2012)
Part of a great steampunk series: A Tale of the Weird West. The Doctor is Doc Holliday and the Rough Rider is Teddy Roosevelt. These are to be read ‘just for fun’.

6. How the Light Gets In – Louise Penny (2013)
The strongest one yet in Penny’s series with Chief Inspector Gamache.

7. Map of the Sky – Felix Palma (2012)
I enjoyed this sequel to Map of Time even more than the first one. I think this is a series that you need to read from the beginning. Some parts of Map of the Sky might not make sense if you hadn’t read Map of Time first. Map of Time involves H. G. Wells, time travel and The Time Machine. Map of the Sky revolves around Wells and The War of the Worlds.

8. The Ox-Bow Incident – Walter van Tilburg Clark (1960)
This book is as deserving of the tag “classic” as To Kill A Mockingbird. It should be on all ‘required reading’ lists.

9. The Proving Flight – David Betty (1956)
A page-tuner. A company in England has developed a turbo-jet and is going to make its initial ‘proving flight’ with a non-stop flight London to New York, the first time it would ever have been done. At the helm are two top pilots – one an old-school senior pilot and one a newer, younger man. Weather and a flaw in the plane combine to make really tense reading.

10. Rose – Martin Cruz Smith (1997)
A mystery set in the coal mines of England. A five-star, out of five stars, book.

11. Runner – Patrick Lee (2014)
I had an Early Review copy so it was a 2013 read for me. If you are looking for an excellent heart-stopping, page-turning, thriller with a great hero don’t miss this one. I think you will see this take a lot of awards.

12. Scruffy – Paul Gallico (1962)
You might call this little WWII adventure a love story. It’s funny, sad, happy, suspenseful and touching. Just so you don’t have any misconceptions – Scruffy is a Gibraltar ape.
13. The Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death – Daniel Pinkwater (YA) (1982)
Pinkwater, as always, is laugh-out-loud funny.

The Biggest Disappointment of the year was the much hyped: The ExPats by Chris Pavone (2012)
Flat card-board, unlikable characters doing totally unprofessional, unbelievably stupid things.

Best additions to my own collection ~ a group of Arthur Upfield books, The Agony Column by Earl Derr Biggers and Parnassus On Wheels by Christopher Morley, a 1925 edtn.

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