It’s time for a round up of the ten best books I’ve read this year.

As before, these are in no particular order. It’s hard enough picking ten books (out of the 94 that Goodreads says I read this year, plus a few that didn’t make my Goodreads shelves).

Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor
I was jonesing for this final book in in Taylor’s YA fantasy trilogy for a long, long time and this did not disappoint. Taylor’s writing shines bright, and she can carry and develop a scorching plot, as well as offering humor and great characterization. Mainly though, this is included because I could not put it down.

Close to Spider Man by Ivan E. Coyote
I read a few of Ivan’s books this year, and while I enjoyed them all, this one is head and shoulders over the others. Concise, sharp prose and these teeny tiny stories pack a heavy punch for their size.

Mullumbimby by Melissa Lucashenko
If I had to pick just one book for the year, chances are it would be this one. The love of the Aussie bush is what got me, Lucashenko feels it in her bones, that is obvious. The smell, the sounds, that love of the land. Add in some of the best dialog writing I’ve read in a long time, and a decent plot and it is enough to get me past the book’s minor flaws. Plus a depiction of white Australian and indigenous Australian relations and understanding that will make me think deeply for a long time to come.

The photo above is of Mullumbimby taken on our camping trip last month.

Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay
It’s the bush. It’s the landscape. It’s the love of place and of the connection of people with the natural world where they live. I didn’t notice it at the time, but this connection with the natural world has been a bit of a thread through my reading this year, and three of my top ten books are Australian with this beautiful sense of place. PaHR was written so many years ago, but it still stands as one of my favorite books.

The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry
A dark and secretive Irish book, set in one of my favourite regions of Ireland. It captures one of those hidden tales that are surfacing from days gone by in modern Ireland. “It’s not all leprechauns and fecking Guinness” as a dear friend likes to say. The twist at the end of the book was the perfect closure to this story.

Breath by Tim Winton

This was a re-read, but, once again, Winton’s prose, his storylines, his Australian language, and most of all, how he describes the ocean showcase one of Australia’s best modern writers.
I lied: Mullumbimby isn’t the best book I’ve read this year. Breath is. If you only read one of my reviews linked to this post, read this one.

Quiet by Susan Cain
My non-fiction pic of the year. Fascinating reading and understanding for introverts or those who want to understand this minority group better. I’ve recommended this to many, many people, and without exception, they too have gained so much from this book.

Every Day by David Levithan
David Levithan wrote possibly my favorite book read last year (Two Boys Kissing), and he’s back again. Every Day doesn’t quite equal TBK, but it comes close. Once again, I was sucked in by his easy style and visions of love unbounded by gender or sexuality.

The Shell Collectors by Anthony Doerr

A wonderful collection of subtle and strong short stories.

The Night Guest by Fiona McFarlane
I’m including this because although I gave it 4 stars, the theme and the storyline were so strong and so horrifying that it stays in the memory long after finishing. Months later, fragments of this story pop into my head at random times.

Great books all!