Wrapping up the year #2: The 13 best books I read in 2013

This  started off as a effort to commemorate  some highlights of the year but somehow I decided against it… As a wise man once said, dreams of a feast only increases the hunger of a starving man. Being no less wise (not to mention modest), I decided to focus on a better and less ephemeral pleasure – the 13 best books I read during this year.

At this point, I find it fair to tell you that I began a reading challenge for 2012, pitting myself to read 999 new books. It was later I found this would entail 2.3 books everyday – leave alone the time factor, finding this number of interesting books would not be very easy. I tried as much as I could and I hope to end the year, having read about a third of what I set out to….

Out of the 330 odd books I have read so far, selecting 13 – roughly four percent –  is not entirely a straightforward task. In line with my methodical and analytical approach, I propose to draw a shortlist of, say 35 books and then from these select the top 13 with a short account of why I liked it.

So here goes… my shortlist from all the books I read in 2013. I hope to have the final list before the year is done.

Drinking Arak off an Ayatollah’s Beard – Nicholas Jubber

The Light’s On At Signpost;  The Pyrates: A Swashbuckling Comic Novel by the Creator of FlashmanThe Reavers George MacDonald Fraser

Lion of Jordan: The Life of King Hussein in War and Peace – Avi Shlaim

When Baghdad Ruled the Muslim World: The Rise and Fall of Islam’s Greatest Dynasty – Hugh Kennedy

The Second Tom Holt Omnibus: My Hero/Who’s Afraid of Beowulf? – Tom Holt

Outposts: Journeys to the Surviving Relics of the British Empire – Simon Winchester

A Spy by Nature: A Novel  – Charles Cumming

Dreadnought  – Robert K. Massie

Thinking Of Answers: Questions In The Philosophy Of Everyday Life – A.C.  Grayling

Bulldog Drummond: The Black Gang –   Sapper

The World Beyond –  Sangeeta Bhargava

Through the Language Glass: How Words Colour Your World  – Guy Deutscher

The Mamur Zapt and The Return of the Carpet (Mamur Zapt, #1) – Michael Pearce (and more entries in the series, though I can name just one here)

The Main Enemy: The Inside Story of the CIA’s Final Showdown with the KGB – Milton Bearden

At the Tomb of the Inflatable Pig: A Riotous Journey Into the Heart of Paraguay – John D. Gimlette

Looking For Rachel Wallace (Spenser, #6)  – Robert B.Parker

Outlaws Inc –   Potter, Matt

Casebook of Sexton Blake – David Stuart Davies (editor)

On Cosmopolitanism and Forgiveness –  Jacques Derrida

The Walking Drum –  Louis L’Amour

Flaws in the Jewel –  Roderick Matthews

The Bloody Meadow –  William Ryan

Journey Through Britain  – John Hillaby

The Magician’s Accomplice: A Jana Matinova Investigation Set in Slovakia  Michael Genelin

The Death Of Sigmund Freud: Fascism, Psychoanalysis And The Rise Of Fundamentalism – Mark Edmundson

The Alienist (Dr. Laszlo Kreizler, #1)  – Caleb Carr

Silent War – David Fiddimore

Where Three Roads Meet – Salley Vickers

Inventing the Victorians  – Matthew Sweet

Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era – James M McPherson


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