Best Books of 2013

A slightly belated Happy New Year everyone! Inspired today by Caroline Clarke’s Best Books of 2013 blog post, here’s my list in response… my ‘Flanagan’s Eleven’ for 2013 in no particular order:

Susan Fletcher – The Silver Dark Sea

Barbara Kingsolver – Flight Behaviour

Ann Patchett – The Magician’s Assistant

Rupert Thomson – Secrecy

Meg Rosoff – Picture Me Gone

Marcus Sedgwick – She Is Not Invisible

Laini Taylor – Days of Blood and Starlight

Tanya Byrne – Follow Me Down

Elizabeth Wein – Code Name Verity

Katherine Rundell – Rooftoppers

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – The Complete Sherlock Holmes


My list roughly divides into two main categories: the first is formed of my must-read favourite authors, the ones whose books I pre-order and whose backlist I track down. I’ve loved Rupert Thomson’s writing half my life now, and his latest did not disappoint. Ditto Susan Fletcher, Barbara Kingsolver, Ann Patchett, Meg Rosoff and new member of favourites club, Laini Taylor. Whether new books or backlist, these were all read as slowly as I could bear, to savour every chapter. Sadly I never have these books on my shelf because I immediately foist them on friends and family, and buy multiple copies for birthday presents.

The other category is made up of 2013 YA and children’s fiction discoveries, memorable books by authors new to me. I was so shocked by Tanya Byrne’s sleight of hand in Follow Me Down that I had to re-read it immediately to see how she did it. I’ve read two of Elizabeth Wein’s WW2 novels this year and loved them both, but Code Name Verity moved me most, with its depiction of female friendship, courage and loss. Its pages are a bit tearstained. Katherine Rundell’s Rooftoppers is an absolute delight, one of those books I desperately want to put in a time machine and send back to myself aged ten.

Ok, so the last one is cheating, I admit it. It had to be included since The Complete Sherlock kept me sane during a brief hospital stay in August. I like to think that being on opiate-derived painkillers lent it a particularly appropriate atmosphere…

If I had more space, I’d also sing the praises of Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner, The Hit by Melvin Burgess, Burial Rites by Hannah Kent, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, NW by Zadie Smith, All the Birds, Singing, by Evie Wyld, All Fall Down by Sally Nicholls, Entangled by Cat Clarke, Harvest by Jim Crace, and anything by Joss Stirling and Cassandra Clare.