Some of my favourite reads of 2013

The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

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I’ve lost track of the number of books I’ve read in 2013 but suffice to say it’s a heck of a lot.

And my reading year definitely ended on a high with an extraordinarily brilliant book.

Set in Nazi Germany, Markus Zusak’s number one international bestseller, The Book Thief, is beautifully written.

Narrated by death, it describes a young girl’s relationship with her foster parents, the other residents of their neighbourhood and a young Jewish man who hides in her home during the escalation of World War II.

First published in 2005, the book has won numerous awards and was listed on the New York Times bestseller list for more than four years.

It is now a major film from 20th Century Fox which I will watch with interest when it is released in British cinemas next month.

It’s no Wonder that one more of my top reads last year is another New York Times bestseller.

Written as a children’s novel, R J Palacio’s Wonder tells the tale of August (Auggie) Pullman who was born with a facial deformity.

So bad was the deformity that it prevented him from going to a mainstream school until the fifth 
grade.

The book joins Auggie as he’s about to start school and takes readers on an emotional, often harrowing but finally life-affirming journey.

Okay, the ending is a bit sentimental but that didn’t stop tears pricking the back of my eyes as I finished the story.

When we launched the Book Club page in April, the first local author I featured was Katy Regan who was brought up in Morecambe and Bolton-le-Sands.

Katy had just had her third novel, How We Met, published but she also talked about her first book, One Thing Led To Another.

It was based on her hugely popular Marie Claire magazine column, ‘And then there were three…sort of’ which came about when Katy became pregnant to her friend.

After meeting Katy, I vowed to read her first book and I’m glad I fulfilled my promise.

It’s a smart read that’s wickedly funny and had me laughing out loud.

Also laugh-out-loud funny was The Universe versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence.

A tale of an unexpected friendship, an unlikely hero and an improbable journey, this novel struck me as one of the funniest yet at the same time most heartbreaking novels I’ve read.

Alex’s story treads the fine line between light and dark, laughter and tears.

And so to my final memorable read of 2013 – John Green’s magnificent love story, The Fault In Our Stars.

This bestseller that Time Magazine called “damn near genius” is the story of Hazel Lancaster and Augustus Waters, two Indianapolis teenagers who meet at a Cancer Kid Support Group.

Green handles this sorrowful subject matter exquisitely and without too much mush.

Again, I’ll be watching out for the film adaptation of this book due out in the UK in June.