Top Ten Tuesday #13: Books Read So Far

Wow, I really need to update this blog more. Sorry for being so erratic. I’ve been busy with school and other things (got a 4.0 this semester! ^_^)–I’m actually almost finished with an anthology of short stories I’ve been working on with some friends, so keep an eye out! Anyway, here I am once again–finally–and with a Top Ten Tuesday (from The Broke and the Bookish). Hopefully I’ll post a few more writings soon.

Unfortunately I haven’t been keeping up with these, but school and a couple other projects are done so I have a little more time now–plus, I really like this theme. It’s been an amazing bookish year so far for me, with a lot of really great books read–38 read so far total. It’s actually fairly surprising to me that all of the books below (with the exception of The Walking Dead) I rated 5 stars–something that I don’t do very often, so to have 11 books (because of ASoIaF) already this year with 5 stars is pretty awesome.

June 25: Top Ten Books I’ve Read So Far In 2013

  • The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern. Definitely my favorite book this year. This book is truly amazing–everything about it is fantastic, and I hope to be reading it again soon, even though I’m trying to re-read less books since I have so many unread books I want to read.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire, by George R.R. Martin. Specifically, A Clash of KingsA Storm of Swords, and A Feast for Crows. I’m waiting to read DwD until it comes out in paperback because I’m slightly OCD in wanting the whole series to be the same type of book. Anyway, these books are amazing, with the exception of the adult content, and are definitely all 5-star books.
  • The Prestige, by Christopher Priest. I watched the movie before reading the book (unfortunately–I always like reading the book first), but both were still amazing. It’s very rare when it’s hard to choose which is better: the book or the movie. Most of the time, it’s the book, but either way it’s always fairly easy to decide which was better—even if both were enjoyable. For The Prestige, it truly is hard to decide which is better (the book is one of my favorite books, and the movie is one of my favorite movies). I absolutely loved the book and everything Priest did, particularly with the structure of the novel. But the film was just as amazing (as expected, coming from Nolan), and is shown in another great way. So this is perhaps one of the few times that I’m not even going to try to say which I liked better–they were both amazing works of art.
  • Holes, by Louis Sachar. I’ve blogged about this book before, so I won’t say much here, but it was definitely one of the most enjoyable books I’ve read so far this year. I couldn’t put it down. Every character was round and unique, a hard thing to accomplish when you’re dealing with so many, and the plot was fun and exciting. Overall, it was simply a very enjoyable, easy to read, and fun book. Highly recommended in case there’s anyone else out there that hasn’t read it. My one criticism? It’s over–I want to keep reading about Stanley Yelnats and Hector Zeroni. But that’s hardly criticism, as the novel ended well and satisfyingly. I’ll definitely have to look into more of Sachar’s work.
  • The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster. Basically tied with Holes. Sometimes children’s books are the best books, and this one was fantastic. So many clever phrases throughout and a fun adventure with enjoyable characters. One of my favorite books, and I’m quite disappointed it took me this long to read it.
  • The Floating Admiral, by members of the Detection Club (including Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, & G.K. Chesterton). Really an enjoyable book. I love classic detective mysteries (Agatha Christie, etc.), and this one worked really well. Sure, there were a few jarring transitions–to be expected with each chapter written by a new author–but overall it was definitely really well-done.
  • The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini. Quite the amazing and heart-wrenching book. Highly recommended. Full Review (written after reading The Casual Vacancy, by J.K. Rowling, so there is some comparison) :
    • This, JK Rowling, is how you write a good depressing book. How you get your readers to care for the characters, to become emotionally invested in them. To drive your readers to tears, and actually care about the world–care about the situation the characters in the novel are in.This book, similar to The Casual Vacancy in that it shows the harshness of life, yet so much better—and so different—in that it never goes overboard, and it doesn’t do anything tastelessly. It’s a wake-up call about how people suffer horrible things, showing the harsh reality of life. How this world is not a perfect place. I hate even remotely relating this to The Casual Vacancy, but having read that book just before reading The Kite Runner, I can’t help but do so. Because The Kite Runner worked so much better.
      The Kite Runner was amazing where The Casual Vacancy failed. Both developed their characters well–but The Kite Runner took that and made you actually care about them, drawing tears often. Both were well-written from a purely grammatical/structural/etc. standpoint–The Kite Runner used that good writing to create a beautiful story about the very real struggles some people faced.

      Perhaps the best words for it would be from the New York Times Book Review: Powerful. Haunting. Because The Kite Runner was definitely both of those. The Kite Runner made the reader care–left an impression in the reader. Haunted the reader with the reality depicted within.

      In The Kite Runner, horrible, heart-wrenching things happened. But they happened to characters you cared about. Characters you cared about did despicable things–but they realized they had done wrong. The Kite Runner opens your eyes to the world, the harshness of life, yet the beauty that remains even through that harshness. The good that still exists through the bad.

      The Kite Runner is a beautiful but haunting book. Not for the faint of heart, but truly an amazing book, worth reading–unlike The Casual Vacancy.

  • Human Chain, by Seamus Heaney. Quite possibly the greatest poet alive, Heaney is fantastic, and this book of poems of his was quite enjoyable. My favorite poem by him, however, was not in this collection: “From the Frontier of Writing”. Still a great collection, though.
  • A Study in Scarlet, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. This one I actually hesitated slightly to give 5 stars. It’s an amazing book, but the second half does drag on quite a bit, and doesn’t seem completely necessary. However, not only is it the first Sherlock Holmes, but it’s really quite commendable how much thought Doyle put into the character of the killer, to be able to go that in-depth with him (again, even if it did drag on). Plus, I also enjoyed it slightly more than The Sign of Four, possibly just because I had already seen the Jeremy Brett TV movie version several times, and knew the story.
  • The Walking Dead, by Robert Kirkman. And also the first graphic novel I have read. Definitely entertaining and well-done. Having already watched the TV show, it was cool to see the similarities and differences. I hope to read more of these in the future.

What about you guys? Any amazing books you’ve read so far this year?

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