H O M E .      A B O U T .      C O N T A C T .      T U M B L R .      T H E   B O O K   J O U R N A L .      sailorjennie [at] gmail [dot] com

Monday, 30 December 2013

Best of 2013: Books!

Before last August I could probably have counted the amount of novels I had read in the past 3 years that weren't for University on one hand. This was something I hadn't even realised had happened and when I thought about it I was 1. shocked and 2. a little embarrassed! I guess I lost my love of books for a little while somewhere along the line and it took an inspiring University module to really make me fall in love with them again. My list of books I would love to read is growing by the day and I'm already looking forward making a small dent in that list next year!

These are just a few of my favourite reads that I've managed to squeeze in between University work over the last few months. I don't really have a favourite genre and at the same time I quite like mixing things up a little and reading out of my comfort zone. Hopefully this will be something I continue into next year too. 

THE GREAT GATSBY by F. SCOTT FITZGERALD
+ This is a classic and I remember trying to read this once and giving up a little way through, but I can't remember why I gave up on it. I had a rough idea of the story but I wanted to read it close to watching the film to refresh my memory a little and I loved it. I also really like this old edition, it's been sat on my bookshelf for years and although it's looking very tatty around the edges, I like that it's almost got a life of its own now.

HOWL, KADDISH AND OTHER POEMS by ALLEN GINSBERG
+ I bought this not so long ago because I really wanted to see Kill Your Darlings at the cinema and I'm pretty intrigued by the whole beat generation in general. I'm the first to admit I'm not hugely into poetry but I found some recordings of Allen Ginsberg reading Howl over on youtube and I've been feeling pretty inspired by this book. I like dipping into it every now and again and I'm really happy to have it on my shelf.

COCO'S SECRET by NIAMH GREENE*
+ This was very kindly sent to me from Penguin Ireland and from the very first page I was completely and utterly hooked. The story is beautiful and Niamh Greene's writing is utterly wonderful, she even had me tearing up towards the end and that doesn't happen to me very often when reading a book. Such a sweet read and I have a full post all about it (with no spoilers!) here.

THE CASUAL VACANCY by J.K. ROWLING
+ This is a book I was pretty nervous to read at first because, well, Harry Potter was my childhood and I was crossing my fingers tightly that I would enjoy a novel by J. K. Rowling about something completely different. Turns out I shouldn't have worried because I loved it but I can totally see why this is a love/hate kind of novel. I wrote a very long post about it here again with no spoilers!

THE CUCKOO'S CALLING by ROBERT GALBRAITH
+ This is J.K. Rowling writing under a pseudonym and I knew this when I bought it, but I tried to read it as if it were by Robert Galbraith, an author I knew nothing about. The relationships between the characters is one of my favourite things about this novel and although I did figure out who-did-it (but only just before it's revealed!) I loved it from beginning to end. I like that this book isn't totally about who committed the crime, the characters and their complexities is a huge part of the story too. I hear that another Galbraith book should be published next year, which I'm pretty excited about!

THE SNOW CHILD by EOWYN IVEY
+ This is the last book I read this year, I'd been saving it for around Christmas time and it didn't disappoint, except for the very end maybe. It's a beautifully told story, with stunning descriptions of the locations and such sweet relationships between all of the characters. The ending fell a little short for me but this book was totally worth the read for the first 300 pages alone.

If you'd like me to do a full review post on any of the books that I haven't already, do let me know! 
What was your favourite read of 2013? 

Love, Jennie
xoxo

84 comments:

  1. I love The Great Gasby because it's the great reflection of American society in that time when you can see both good and flaw in characters xx

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    1. Absolutely, a really good read and I love the 20s! x

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  2. Love the great gatsby! Still need to go and see the movies actually.

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  3. I was a bit disappointed in the end of The Snow Child too, but I loved it anyway! Would like to see a full review from you. :)

    imeowlife. ,Dixx

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    1. The first 3/4 of the book is so beautiful, the ending doesn't really dent enjoyment too much thankfully! xo

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  4. I can't believe I still haven't read The Snow Child, it looks like a book I'd love as well. I've loved the Rowling books too this year and hope for more next year. The Great Gatsby is one of my all time faves too, I read it for uni but was one of the few I read for pleasure as well! Jennie are you on Goodreads? x x

    Claire | AgentSmyth

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    1. It's a beautiful read, I think you'd really like it! I am indeed - I'm sailorjennie over on good reads :) xx

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    2. Found you :) Feel free to ignore me though! x

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  5. Lovely selection of books Jennie, I think we have very similar taste! I remember reading The Great Gatsby when I was much younger, but by the time the film came out I couldn't exactly remember what happened. I keep thinking of lots of books I was to re-read. I've just started The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, and so far I love it! xxx

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    1. Ooh that's on my list for this year, it sounds SO good! xx

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  6. I'm reading The Snow Child at the moment and I'm hooked. It is so beautiful and I am completely engrossed by it - almost missed my stop on the tube this morning!

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  7. I'm going to add Coco's Secret to my reading list! I read quite a few awesome books this year so it's tricky to pick a favourite...I think I'll go with The Graveyard Book (followed closely by Neverwhere). ;)

    Tara xo

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    1. Ooh definitely want to read both of those very soon! xo

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  8. I wouldn't mind reading The Snow Child. I tend to read factual books and really need to make an effort to read more fiction.

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  9. I'd really like to read the Great Gatsby, especially after seeing the movie I want to know what the book's like :D I didn't really read much this year, but I remember Insurgent and it was rather entertaining haha :)

    I wish you a great end of the year and best wishes for 2014! :)
    Valérie | scribblesofvalerie.com

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    1. It's a great book, if you liked the movie I think you'd like the book too <3

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  10. I really want to read the Cuckoo's Calling, I'm so intrigued by it.
    Amy x A Little Boat Sailing

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    1. It's a fabulous read, I completely loved it! ox

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  11. I haven't read any of these books until now, thanks for the recommendations! <3
    holllieee.blogspot.com

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  12. I was the same during university, didn't read many books that weren't textbooks the whole time I was there. It's great you're reading again. I'd like to give great gatsby a try. I read it for school ages ago but I think I'd like it a lot better now. Best wishes for the new year.

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    1. Definitely give it a re-read, it's a great book! Thank you, you too <3

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  13. I really wanted to read Coco's Secret but was always debating whether or not it'd be worth it - I may have to invest in it now :) Thanks Jennie, I love your book reviews! Keep them coming in 2014 :)
    Hope you had a fantastic Christmas and have a lovely New Year!
    Andrea
    xxx

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    1. It's such a sweet little read, the writing is wonderful! Thank you lovely, I hope you did too! xo

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  14. I really enjoy reading books and I really enjoy following your blog... So this post it PERFECT ;-)

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  15. I've been terrible at reading non course-related books while at uni, which is pretty bad for a literature student who plans to be a writer herself! It also means you end up associating reading with deadlines and essays which is just the worst. But this year I'm vowing to get back into reading as a past-time. I never would have thought of Coco's secret as something I'd be interested in, just because of the chick-litty cover and title but having read your earlier review I'm definitely going to give it a try :) All the best for 2014 Jennie xxx

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    1. It's a really sweet read, light and easy to get through, perfect for when you don't want to read anything too overwhelming <3

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  16. aw i have the snow child to read, i bought it last year i guess i best read it before warmer weather rolls round. Great choices, i love the book posts you have been featuring xxx

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    1. It's a beautiful read, I hope you enjoy it <3

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  17. Gatsby will always be one of my very favourite books! I read The Snow Child last year after meaning to for so long and loved it, I understand what you mean about the end though, I felt a tiny bit cheated and saddened.

    I read a huge amount so it's one of my goals for next year to blog about what I'm reading. It'll be nice to share my thoughts on books with some others. :)

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    1. At least the first 3/4 makes up for the end! I'd love to read about what you're reading next year, books posts are some of my favourites <3

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  18. I haven't read any of these but I'm tempted to purchase Coco's secret onto my Kindle once I've finished my current book.

    IAmLinderella.blogspot.co.uk

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  19. I used to read loads when I was younger but just never find the time anymore! This post makes me want to find the time again though and get myself lost in a good book, love the sound of Coco's Secret :) xx

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    1. Getting lost in a book is so wonderful <3

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  20. I love this post! I really enjoyed A Casual Vacancy, I must get round to reading The Cuckoo's Calling. The others you've mentioned all sound really good, too - some more to add to my list! :)

    Jess xo

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    1. Definitely recommend The Cuckoo's Calling, I think you'll love it! xo

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  21. It's so true that it becomes so hard to focus on reading for pleasure when you're in school! I have both of the JK Rowlings books on my wish list and am so glad to hear you liked them since I've heard mixed reviews. So many good recommendations I'll be sure to check out! I just posted my favorite books of this year today!

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    1. Ooh I'll pop over and have a look! :)

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  22. I haven't read any of these books, although I do have the Great Gatsby & want to read it. I find I make little time for reading these days. Which is a shame as I love to read
    My favourite book of 2013 was The Kite Runner
    http://www.letstalkbeauty.co.uk/

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    1. Ooh I've not read that, I definitely want to though! xo

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  23. Great post, Ready books on a Kindle or iPad just isn't the same as flicking through pages, especially if its an old book!

    Nick | N.E. Boy

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    1. Physical books are so much more magical I think <3

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  24. I absolutely love the Great Gatsby. -Hanna Lei

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  25. the great gatsby is my favourite book of all time, can't count how many times I have read it! my favourite book of 2013 was the help, so sad but amazing x
    http://theadventuresofhann.blogspot.co.uk/

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    1. Ooh I've not read that one, I'll check it out for sure! xo

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  26. the great gatsby is one of my favourite books! i still need to read the new jk rowling books xxx
    mollyox.blogspot.com

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  27. I really need to start reading again, I miss it. I would love to read the Great Gatsby and the Snow Child too! xx

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    1. Definitely recommend them both <3

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  28. The Great Gatsby is one of my very favorites. I had a hard time getting into it initially too but now I can read it over and over without getting tired of it.
    I also liked the Cuckoo's Calling. J.K. Rowling is a clever lady with that pseudonym.

    Caitlin
    www.atgatsbys.blogspot.com

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  29. Thanks for the post chick, Im always looking for more books to read! I'll be attached to my kindle the whole of 2014 with the amount I have on my 'to read' list haha xox

    www.thestylekhaleesi.com

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  30. I really wish I'd read The Cuckoo's Calling before the big reveal. I don't think that I'd be able to treat it as an entirely new author which I think would spoil it a bit... I am looking forward to reading The Snow Child, though!! It's been on my wishlist for a while, but I keep buying cookbooks rather than fiction.

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  31. I just read the whole post about 'The casual vancancy' and you convinced me I have to get for me!.. I have that feeling that I will get dissapointed since I'm such a big fan of Harry Potter but I'll have to leave my fears behind to enjoy some good reading!

    My favorite book this year is 'Marlene' by Florencia Bonelli.. it's about a girl who comes back from europe to Buenos Aires (my hometown) and gets involved in the magic world of Tango and... many things more.. sadly it's in spanish only but I hope one day is released in english as well.. it's just SOOO good !!

    Happy New Year x

    http://holaflo.blogspot.se/

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    1. It's one you'll either love or hate I think, but it's totally worth a read and very Rowling in style! Ohh that sounds wonderful, I hope it's translated soon! xo

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  32. amazing post doll! you've inspired me to make on tomorrow! love your choice of books! x x x

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  33. I really want to read more of J.K. Rowling's books but I only have time to read study medical books at the moment, I have a kindle and although I like physical books this helps me to read faster and more frequently!

    Cornelia - Ineffable Beauty

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    1. I hope you manage to squeeze in a few books for pleasure between your studying!! <3

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  34. I love posts like these, I'm such a book buff! Great choices for 2013 :) xxx

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  35. I would love to see a review of The Snow Child Jennie, I have considered reading it so many times and simply haven't gotten around to it so i would love to hear your opinion. I am glad to hear that this year has been about rediscovering your love for reading too, it always warms my heart when a book lover comes back to reading for enjoyment rather than necessity! xx

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    1. I'll definitely get one up very soon, it's a beautiful read and I think you'd like it! I'm really happy to be back into it too, I'm not sure how I spent my evenings without a good book! x

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  36. Coco's secret sounds right up my street!

    For once I strayed out of my chick lit flow of books & read Firecracker by Sean Smith. It's about a man that has grown up seeing ghosts and it's a comedy/thriller. I would say stepping out of my comfort zone was beneficial as it was probably my favourite read of 2013!

    Sophie xo soinspo

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    1. I think you'd absolutely love it!! Ooh I've not heard of that before, I'll look into it for sure, it sounds wonderful xo

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  37. The Cuckoo's calling is a brilliant book. I didn't think I would like it but I couldn't put it down! Glad someone else appreciates it :)
    x
    Heroine In Heels

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  38. Gatsby and The Cuckoo's Calling were two my favourites from last year too :) have been meaning to get more into poetry and am intrigued about Ginsberg's work, so may have to give it a go in 2014! xoxo

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  39. oh dear i did not enjoy the great gatsby at all :( i loved the 100 year old man who climbed out of the windown and ran away and the shadow of the wind though

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    1. That's definitely on my to-read list :)

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  40. I absolutely LOVE your book posts! this year my favourite book has either been Dan Brown - Inferno or John Grisham - The Racketeer, I loved them both :) I've added all of these books to my wishlist, and will be reading a few of them over the next year!

    lillies and lipbalm

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    1. Thank you! Ooh I'll have to look into those, I haven't read either of them! xo

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  41. Oooh this is so interesting Jennie! I read the Rowling book this year and enjoyed it, and I am reading the snow child now. I'm about halfway through and REALLY enjoying it so far, I just love the descriptions of the landscape, she writes in such an evocative way. It really makes me want to visit Alaska! XX

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  42. I really love your book posts!!! <3 I'm trying to read as much as possible in English, so it's really nice to read your suggestions! I think that my next book will be " The Casual Vacancy", because I was a fan of Harry Potter and I'm really curious to see how it is!
    xoxo Martina

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