By my count, I read 207 books in 2013. This number includes everything I read from chapbooks to novellas to novels. When I decided to pick my top ten books of 2013, it quickly became apparent that this was no easy task. I was able to pick my top 20 to 25 books fairly easily and then the cutting got difficult. I finally whittled the list down to 10 and then went about trying to rank them into a top ten list. I finally came up with the final ranking although the numbers are fairly arbitrary as I loved all of these books. The other thing to keep in mind is that these are the top 10 books that I read in 2013 and not just books that were published in 2013 so three of the ten were not published in 2013. Without further ado, I will start the countdown from ten to one.
10. “Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card is an easy pick to put on this list as it is a classic of science fiction. I read the book again for the first time in about a decade and the themes and writing still stand up to the test of time. I anticipated seeing the movie after reading the book but I still have not been able to see the movie but that does not diminish this novel at all. I think this book would be rated higher on the list if I had not read it before since it lost a little bit of “wow” factor since I already knew what was coming next.
9. “Miguel Street” by V.S. Naipaul is another book that has been around for a long time but stands the test of time. Naipual is a master at satire and at recreating the world with the written world. His works make the reader run the emotional gamut from wanting to cry to belly laughing. I really do not know what else to say about this book or author except that you are missing something special if you have never read anything by Naipaul before.
8. “The Age of Ice” by J.M. Sidorova is an epic novel that spans hundreds of years and includes numerous historical figures in the story. I found this book to be a very touching and powerful novel about the choices that one makes and how the world shapes our destiny. This is a long and involved book that required a significant time investment to read but it is well worth it.
7. “Mirror of the Nameless” by Luke Walker is the first horror book on this list and joins “The Age of Ice” as the only two books on the list by authors that I had not read before. “Mirror of the Nameless” is quite simply the best Lovecraftian mythos book that I have read in a long time. The action in this novella is fast and furious throughout and I would love to see this story made into a movie.
6. “Joyland” by Stephen King was not the most anticipated King novel of the year (that would be “Dr. Sleep”) but is by far the better of the two. While this is not old-school King horror, there is a lot to like about this novel and its story of love and justice with a supernatural angle. This book kind of flew under the radar while the much hyped “Dr. Sleep” fell flat. There are enough ghosts to satisfy a horror fan and enough of a good story to satisfy everyone else.
5. “Hell’s Door” by Sandy DeLuca is an author that does not receive the acclaim she deserves and this is the second book by DarkFuse on this list (and there will be more). Sandy DeLuca is an extremely talented writer and “Hell’s Door” is quite simply a brutal novel but one that is very well written with a story that fits the style of writing. There were times in this story in which I felt a little sick at what was happening but DeLuca pulls this off without being gratuitous with the violence and keeping the narrative focused on the story rather than using violence for shock value only. DeLuca is one of the few authors that can scare the hell out of me and make me keep the lights on when I go to sleep.
4. “Interview with the Vampire” by Anne Rice is a classic horror novel and one of the two most important vampire novels ever written (along with “Dracula” by Bram Stoker). There is not a whole lot to say about his genre-changing novel that has not been said already. Like “Ender’s Game,” this book would be ranked higher if I had not read it several times before and thus lowered the “wow” factor. This book would be sure to make the list of the top 10 books that I have ever read.
3. “House of Rain” by Greg F. Gifune is just another example of Gifune’s mastery and it really puzzles me how he continues to write largely below the radar. Gifune is able to draw the reader into his world and make the reader experience everything that is happening in the story. Gifune is not just a great horror writer. He is a great writer.
2. “Messages from the Dead” by Sandy DeLuca is her second book on the list and this is just another masterpiece of horror. “Messages from the Dead” is different from “Hell’s Door” in that it is much more atmospheric and creepy rather than the in-your-face style of “Hell’s Door” and this just illustrates just how good DeLuca really is. She is able to not only come up with great story but has the talent to change her writing style so that it best suits the story. That is a rare thing indeed.
1. “The Door to Lost Pages” by Claude Lalumiere is the second book that I have read by Lalumiere and both of them have just blown me away. A book by Lalumiere is not just another book to read but an experience in and of itself. I can only hope that Lalumiere will give us the privilege of more of his work to read in 2014.
Well, there it is. By the list above, it looks like I would have to say that DarkFuse is (unsurprisingly) the publisher of the year in my book with four books in the top ten (and more that made it right up to the final cut). ChiZine Publications would have to be a close second as it not only published the best book of the year but also several others that almost made this list as well. All I can hope for is that 2014 will bring as many good books to read as 2013 did. Enjoy!