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My Top Ten books for 2013: A wonderful year of reading

For the first time I kept a list of the books I read during past year and looking back over the months, 2013 was a rich year for literary pleasure.  In total I read 76 books. That averaged out at about six books a month  I only managed three in June yet nine in May (that’s the luxury of holidays). Apart from reading all the books on the Booker Prize shortlist there was no particular rhyme or reason to my selections. Sometimes I would just see a book in a book shop, other times it was the book selected by my book club. Sometimes it was a review or a news item in a newspaper or magazine or because an author was appearing at a literary festival I was attending (Dublin, Hay-on-Wye in England and Byron Bay in Australia).

Despite all that,  I when I read other people’s  end-of-year Best Of book lists I was stunned at the number  I had not even heard of let alone all those wonderful authors whose books are sitting on my bedside table or in my e-reader but which I haven’t got around to reading yet. I did live up to the promise I made myself to read more collections of short stories and was richly rewarded. I read a pathetically small number of non-fiction which I hope to remedy in 2014. There were one or two which, if it were not for the “I’ve started so I’ll finish” rule, would have immediately been relegated to the bottom of the book pile but thus is the delicious serendipity of reading.

So, before the clock ticks over to a new day and new year, here is my top ten for 2013

Review Gotland by Fiona

Gotland-cover Esther Chatwin has always been a quiet, insular person, the kind of person who is “happiest at the edge of things, watching and dreaming.” When she was in her teens she had been chronically debilitated by panic attacks and her growing distress when she is thrust into the public eye after her husband is elected Prime Minister of Australia lies at the heart of Fiona Capp’s topical novel Gotland.

Capp dissects the pressures placed on a family where one member achieves the kind of public position that invites increasingly intense public scrutiny and who is faced with the kind of compromise to strongly-held beliefs which challenges the foundation of their personal relationships.

Being First Lady was not the life Esther had expected when she was wooed by David then a


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