Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A Few Good Books I Read In 2013

Just a few of the many good books I read last year, in no particular order:

Eventide, by Kent Haruf

After reading Plainsong a few years back, I became very fond of the ageing McPherson brothers and their high-plains town of Holt, Colorado. And, again, Kent Haruf does not disappoint. The brothers return here in a wonderful story of life, death, and new beginnings. 

And the Mountains Echoed, by Khaled Hosseini

In this book the author of The Kite Runner takes you on a spectacular journey through time and place. The book is about family and loss, sadness and joy. In the end, the life stories of all who live in this book are beautifully tied together.

Cold Mountain, by Charles Frazier

Women coping in times of war, a soldier leaving the civil war behind and making his way back home across blue mountains and misty woods, this lyrical masterpiece of a novel affected me deeply. 

Shanghai Girls, by Lisa See

Two sisters flee a life of privilege in Shanghai during the Japanese invasion of China in 1937 and end up in Los Angeles, as bought wives of Chinese boys. A very interesting book about fate, hardship, entrepreneurship, family, fear, traditions, and enduring sisterly love. I found it fascinating and learned a lot about the lives of Chinese immigrants in mid-20th century Los Angeles. 

Salmon Fishing In the Yemen, by Paul Torday

A first-rate satire of most things British, this book is full of wonderful British characters and humor. I enjoyed the trip through the novel so much, it left me speechless. I guess this is OK since I'm not reviewing books here, just letting you know about the ones I liked. And this one I loved!

The Stockholm Octavo, by Karen Engelmann

In Stockholm, during the colorful reign of King Gustav III of Sweden, 1771 - 1792, life is full of intrigue, magic, mystery, romance, strange cards laid out to determine fates and politics in the golden age of Sweden. The Stockholm Octavo is unusual and fascinating. 

Too Close to the Falls, by  Catherine Gildiner

Written from a child's perspective of wisdom, wonder, surprise, and innocence this was my favorite of all books I read last year. A story of growing up in a most unusual way, encountering weird and wonderful characters in a 1950's small town close to Niagara Falls

Lady Audley’s Secret, by Mary Elizabeth Braddon

Written in the 19th century, this novel has a fabulous plot of deception, murder, bigamy, blackmail, class, madness, and the lady herself, who is not at all what she seems.  And through it all, Miss Bradden crafts beautiful scenes of the English countryside, complete with hedgerows and fields dotted with sheep and ancient trees. 

Half Broke Horses, by Jeanette Walls

Inspired by the life of the author's grandmother, this is a great book about a competent, and tough as nails, woman born at the beginning of the 20th century. She took her life into her own hands, not so easy in those days, and lived it fully. An interesting part of the novel describes what it took to run a large ranch in the harsh climate of the American Southwest while raising a spirited daughter, Ms. Wall's mother, an important character in her memoir, The Glass Castle.  

11/22/63, By Stephen King

A man travels back in time in an attempt to change history by preventing the Kennedy assassination. To await the day, he settles in a small Texas town, complete with Friday night football, high school kids, and a sweet grownup love story. Eventually, he arrives in Dallas, where he meets some of the main characters of that tragic November day. And, in the end, the man learns the consequences of messing with time and history.

Going over my list, I see that I read books from many different cultures, from cowboys to salmon fishers, and from countries as far apart as Afghanistan and Sweden. I read books from the points of view of a very young girl in Niagara Falls to those of an elderly man in Colorado. I enjoyed them all and learned some too. 


  1. Good Day to you, Inger! You have a variety of tastes, as do I. Glad you are not stuck in the rut so many have fallen into! Have a most wonderful day and I am hoping you are not too cold there!

  2. I need to add some of these to my reading list this year. Didn't you LOVE Half Broke horses? I want to move out West! lol And if you loved Cold Mountain, you will love Thirteen Moons by this same author, too. I was fortunate to meet him awhile back and he and his wife are delightful! Happy reading!

  3. I read at least 2 books a week and sometimes 3 so i will not list them here, that is if i could remember them... i love reading above all things and that includes movies and tv and computers, but i want to keep all of them.

  4. Very eclectic tastes, which is great! I want to read the Stephen King book and Plainsong.

  5. That's a great list - I'm definitely going to try some of these gooks.

  6. That's an excellent list, Inger. I have read (and re-read) Cold Mountain and Half Broke Horses. I loved the movie of Salmon Fishing In The Yemen, and I bet I'll love the book.


  7. jag läser tyvärr inte så ofta...men filmen Back to cold Mountain är en av mina favoritfilmer :D

  8. Inger, you have a wide and diverse selection there. Me? I like mysteries!...:)JP

  9. I wanted to read Half Broke Horses... but I forget whether I've read it or not... hmmm... Might have to look into that. I loved The Glass Castle.. Jeanette Walls is a great author.
    Thanks for sharing!

  10. I love it that you give us some wonderful insight into books you have read and enjoyed. Thank you!

    Mary Montague Sikes

  11. I've read--& enjoyed--3 of these books & just ordered And the Mountains Echoed!!

  12. Cold Mountain is one of my all time favorite books. Thirteen Moons is also on my list. You have some great suggestions for me here. Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is the first one I am going to read. Thank you!

  13. Well I think I am going to have to read ~ Half Broke Horses !

  14. Lots of good ones here -- and some new to me. I am especially intrigued by Salmon Fishing in the Yeman -- will look for it.

  15. I am reading 11/22/63 right now! And I've read others by some of the authors you've shared, but not these current titles. I will make a note. I enjoy finding books by way of a personal review. I sure don't have the time to read that I once did, but it will always be one of my favorite pastimes.

  16. Thanks for the list of books Inger -- I'm always on the lookout for a good read.

    Also wishing you and your family the very Happiest of New Years! xo

  17. I am vowing to read more books this year ( on book 3) A few of these went on my list

  18. Good to know you've been reading, Inger. Those are all new to me.

    I read FEW current books, so I like to know which are worthwhile.

  19. I so appreciate reading your list, Ingrid! I've seen the movie 'Salmon Fishing in the Yemen', but not read the book -- I think I should rectify that! I'm also intrigued by 'The Stockholm Octavo' and 'Too Close to the Falls', since that was your favourite of all! Many thanks and looking forward to the new reads...

  20. I want to read Eventide and Too Close To The Falls. I am impressed with your list!

  21. Vad duktig du är som läser, hinner inte med det nu tyvärr. Du läser inga svenska böcker??
    Kram Majsan//

  22. You are so lucky to have read all those books. Congratulations.

  23. Mom has read a few of those books too. She says she can't read as much since she has to pet us.

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

  24. Very different books Inger. I have a book review blog so I read lots of books. I have And The Mountains Echoed but not read it yet,I fancy reading Shanghai Girls and the one about JFK so thanks for the pointers.

  25. Happy new year. There are some books there that I haven't heard of. Thanks for sharing.

  26. I haven't read any of these books, but I've heard of most of them.

    Happy 2014!

  27. I am here from "It's a Small Town Life" and I have just added several of your suggestions to my library. Thank you!

  28. Thanks for your good list, Inger!
    I haven't read any of these books, but I will put some on my list.
    I did a draft of a post about "books I read in 2013 and to read in 2014". I will post it soon.

  29. Cold Mountain was one of my fav all time books...the movie was such a disappointment. If you like Half Broke Horses you would like These is my Words by Nancy E. Turner....very good! Two others I couldn't put down that I read recently are Zoli and Defending Jacob.

  30. Dear Inger, you surely do have an eclectic taste in books. I read mostly history (nonfiction) and mysteries. But I have read three of the books you write about so winningly: Eventide, Cold Mountain, and Half-Broken Horses. Per your recommendation, I'm almost finished with 11/22/63. It's a fascinating look at time travel about a period that's lodged in the mind of everyone who lived in the United States in 1963.

    I'm going to the library website to look the Gildiner book. That sounds so interesting to me.

    Please do keep recommending books to me. Peace.

  31. Dear Inger, I just went to the library website and discovered that's Gildiner wrote a sequel to "Too Clost to the Falls." It's entitled "After the Falls."

    Also, I wonder if you've read Kent Haruf's latest book: "Benediction." It took my breath away. Peace.


Thanks for leaving a comment.. ~~ Inger


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