As Brazen Woman’s resident bibliophile, I’ve been tasked with picking my five favourite books of 2013. As much as I love to read, this was a near impossible endeavour for two reasons. First, I may have consumed nearly 100 books this year. And second, when it comes to novels, I’m not that picky. I liked just about everything I read for very different reasons. Once I set my mind to something, though, I follow through. It took time—and a lot of thought—but here the books I found the most Brazen reads of 2013. (Plus a few bonus picks. Did you think I would follow the rules?)
Brazen Loves: Best Books of 2013
What: Doctor Sleep by Stephen King
An epic war between good and evil and a gory, glorious story that will thrill the millions of devoted readers of The Shining. Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel, where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan Torrance has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father’s legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Abra Stone has the brightest Shining ever seen, and hunted by the quasi-immortal True Knot. As Doctor Sleep, Dan must will overcome his past as he battles for Abra’s soul.
Where: Under the covers with the lights on.
What: Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
Wildly inventive, darkly comic, startlingly poignant, Life after Life plays with time and history, telling the story of a woman who dies and is reborn over and over until she gets her story right.
Who: Lovers of British writing and the idea of do-overs.
Why: I lived in the UK for six months so I like any book that refers to my trunk as a boot. Life after Life is both well-written and unique and Atkinson always keeps control over what could be an unwieldy undertaking.
What: S.E.C.R.E.T. and S.E.C.R.E.T. Shared by L. Marie Adeline
The story of Cassie Robichaud and her entry into S∙E∙C∙R∙E∙T, an underground society dedicated to helping women realize their wildest, most intimate sexual fantasies. This one is equal parts enticing, liberating and emotionally powerful.
Where: In private or with your lover.
Who: For those who love a dirty book but with a little more meat to it (no pun intended).
Why: Unlike most erotica or romance fiction, the S.E.C.R.E.T books are not as much about ‘getting the guy’ as they are about female empowerment and self-fulfillment. If that’s not Brazen, we don’t know what is.
What: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
An international sensation, this hilarious, feel-good novel is narrated by an oddly charming and socially challenged genetics professor on an unusual quest: to find out if he is capable of true love.
Where: Anywhere smiling is allowed.
Who: Everyone who believes in love and that there is someone for everyone. Even quirky folks.
Why: Why not? How could you not love The Rosie Project? It’s the ultimate in feel-good. The storytelling is stellar, the characters are endearing and relatable, and the writing is comical and sensitive at the same time. Everyone should read it.
What: Indiscretion by Charles Dubow
A juicy page-turner about love, friendship and power. With writing that is sophisticated and lyrical, it’s deeply textured, full of light and darkness, and overwhelmingly sensual. This book will be the sexiest, most intimate story you read all year.
Where: Not at couples therapy, that’s for sure.
Who: Fans of Gone Girl.
Why: Brilliant. Original. Confusing. Sensual. Unlikeable characters that are still compelling. What more could you want?
Brazen Bonus Books:
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
The Asian version of Jackie Collins. Delicious and decadent. An insider’s look at the Asian JetSet, the clash between old money and new money, Overseas Chinese and Mainland Chinese. It’s a novel that tells us what it means to be young, in love, and gloriously, crazily rich.
Night Film by Marisha Pessl
Freaky, original, really long, and engrossing. A thriller for readers of Stephen King, Gillian Flynn, and Stieg Larsson.
Children of the Jacaranda Tree by Sahar Delijana
Based on truth, delicate and beautifully written. An evocative portrait of three generations of Iranian men and women inspired by love and poetry, burning with idealism, chasing dreams of justice and freedom.
Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala
Sad. So sad. But strong. And raw. Deraniyagala lost her husband, two children and parents to the devastating 2004 Tsunami. In Wave, she has written an engrossing, unsentimental, beautifully poised account of overcoming her grief.
The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley
For historical fiction buffs. A tale of love, sacrifice, courage and redemption through Scotland, France and Russia for the Firebird, the mythical bird that inspires an old Russian fairytale which was once owned by Russia’s famed Empress Catherine.
The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer
Long, epic, and heartbreaking. You’ll cry. A grand love story and an epic tale of three brothers whose lives are torn apart by war.
What were some of your favourite reads of 2014?