I am happy to announce that I completed the TBR Pile Challenge 2013, hosted by Roof Beam Reader, and am definitely signing up for it in 2014. Not only does it feel good to get those books off the TBR shelf and into their permanent home (alphabetized in the fiction part of my personal library), but I discovered some real gems amongst them. In other words, with only a few exceptions, I acquired these books in the first place because they held a promise of a good read and I was mostly not disappointed.
Here's my list with linked reviews in no particular order--certainly not in the order I read or reviewed them:
- Brooklyn, by Colm Toibin - I love New York and I really enjoyed this book. I was surprised after I read it how many mixed reviews it had received.
- Madame Tussaud, by Michelle Moran - I won an ARC copy of this years ago, and languished for years unread. This was definitely one of my favorites of the year!
- Hamlet's Dresser, by Bob Smith - I heard about this on a blog awhile ago, got it, and promptly forgot about it, but it ended up being a wonderful memoir of a very interesting person and how Shakespeare helped him deal with some very severe trauma in his personal life.
- The Testament of Mariam, by Ann Swinfen - a gift from the author, it's about the sister of Jesus, and it was beautifully written. One of those books I will think about for a long time, and someday reread.
- The Remains of the Day, by Kazuo Ishiguro - absolutely brilliant; I cannot recommend this book enough.
- The Virginian, by Owen Wister - I bought my copy roughly 35 years ago in a used bookstore and never got around to actually reading it. A wonderful Western, archetypal with bonus lit crit from a cowboy.
- The Whiskey Rebels, by David Liss - very disappointing. It had come highly recommended, but I ended up panning it. I have another Liss book that I will try this year, but if I'm disappointed again, he's off the list!
- Prodigal Summer, by Barbara Kingsolver -I love her books--this was absolutely superb.
- The Ninth Daughter, by Barbara Hamilton - the first in a mystery series with Abigail Adams as the slueth. Enormously fun to read. Simply reinforced my notion that Abigail Adams was fantastic.
- Cleopatra's Daughter, by Michelle Moran - I got this shortly after I finished Cleopatra, by Stacy Schiff, and I was mildly disappointed. The main character rubbed me the wrong way, but Moran wrote Madame Tussaud (see #2), so all is forgiven.
- 1876, by Gore Vidal - excellent historical novel, part of a 7-part series, from one of the best American writers of the 20th century. A pleasure to read.
- Katherine, by Anya Seton - another new favorite. Loved, loved, loved this book.
Great reading year, great challenge, looking forward to posting my 2015 list later this week...or next!