I promised to end the year with sharing my top read for 2007 and here it is: The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield.
A Thousand Splendid Suns was a close second, and The Glass Castle, only a breath away from that, but in the end, and when I weigh everything, The Thirteenth Tale comes out on top. There wasn’t another read like it for me in 2007. I was thoroughly surprised at the ending, mesmerized by the use of setting as character and wooed by the Gothic mystery threads.
It’s a bit of a ghost story, a mystery, a journey into the world of a family gone off-center, their crumbling house, a legion of half-truths, and exposure to the curious uber-fraternal bond that only twins know.
A little dark at times (okay – fairly dark at times), nevertheless the Setterfield is an expert storyteller and her voice reminds me of Austen and Dickens. I highly recommend it.
And now as we push off into 2008, here’s what is waiting for me on the top of my To Be Read stack:
Women of the Silk by Gail Tsukiyama. I loved The Samurai’s Garden by this same author. From the synopsis on the Barnes and Noble site: “In Women of the Silk Gail Tsukiyama takes her readers back to rural China in 1926, where a group of women forge a sisterhood amidst the reeling machines that reverberate and clamor in a vast silk factory from dawn to dusk. Leading the first strike the village has ever seen, the young women use the strength of their ambition, dreams, and friendship to achieve the freedom they could never have hoped for on their own. Tsukiyama’s graceful prose weaves the details of “the silk work” and Chinese village life into a story of courage and strength.”
Quaker Summer by Lisa Samson. I’ve loved everything I’ve read by the talented Lisa Samson. She is a wonderfully gifted story teller. I can’t believe I let 2007 go by without reading this one; everyone I know who has read it, has been floored by the outpouring of talent within the pages. Publishers Weekly says: “One of the most powerful voices in Christian fiction, Samson delivers what seems, on the surface, to be just another Christian women’s novel, but in reality is a staggering examination of the Christian conscience.” Sounds pretty good to me.
My Hands Came Away Red by Lisa McKay: Okay, so it’s probably not going to be light reading. But I’ve never shied away from books that take me to uncomfortable places if the prose is as beautiful as the subject matter is painful. I’ve heard really good things about this debut novel. Publishers Weekly had this to say: “The external hardships the characters face on their trek are secondary to the internal struggles they battle over how a loving God could let terrible things happen; and why their sacrificial choice to give up a summer to help others would cost them more than they ever dreamed. While written from a Christian perspective, McKay gives an evenhanded treatment to Muslims, showing that violence and hatred transcend religious boundaries. This is one of Christian fiction’s best novels of the year.”
Wow! I gotta read it.
So. The 2008 race to read as many books as I can squish into my cramped free time has begun! What’s in your wallet? I mean, What’s on your TBR stack?