|Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the lovely ladies at The Broke and the Bookish.|
1. The Martian - Andy Weir. The story of a man stranded on Mars, attempting to stay alive long enough to eventually make it back to Earth. This book is quite slow to start off with, but becomes an edge-of-your-seat thrill ride based in scientific plausibility, and the narrator has a goofy sense of humour that makes it impossible not to like him.
2. NOS4R2 - Joe Hill. The horror novel everyone was talking about around Christmas. The tale of a girl with a gift for finding lost things, and a villain whose lair is Christmasland. Joe Hill is the son of Stephen King, and has inherited his father's storytelling gene.
3. The Charioteer - Mary Renault. A gay soldier, wounded at Dunkirk, searches to find his place in the world and is caught between two friendships: one formed of romantic idealism, and the other of heroes and experience. Though painful at times, the book felt optimistic and ahead of its time (the 1950s).
4. Attachments - Rainbow Rowell. A love story with a difference - for the two people involved don't even interact with one another until late on in the book. It's a cosy, feel-good read.
5. Mr Penumbra's 24-hour Bookstore - Robin Sloane. A young man takes a job in a bookstore with a secret and finds himself embarking upon a quest that will unearth secret codes, medieval artefacts and the heart of Google. A bibliophile's dream.
6. The Explorer - James Smythe. My second choice involving an astronaut in isolation: a much darker, weirder story than The Martian, but every bit as gripping.
7. The Rosie Project - Graeme Simsion. A university professor comes up with a project to find the perfect wife. Needless to say, not all goes to plan. A heartwarming and gently funny read.
8. The Shining - Stephen King. I don't usually include rereads on these lists, but it's been long enough since I read this for the first time, and this time around I think I appreciated it even more. This has been made into an iconic horror film, of course, but the novel is so much more than just another haunted house story. It's about family, and fate, isolation and inner demons: The Shining is a gothic masterpiece.
9. An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth - Chris Hadfield. The third book on this list about astronauts, this time a work of non-fiction from one of the heroes of 2013. Commander Hadfield reveals just what it takes to become an astronaut (and has made me far more critical of science fiction after reading this book.) An extraordinary man, whose experiences provide insight not just for wannabe astronauts but also for those of us whose feet will remain on the ground.
10. Pretty Girl Thirteen - Liz Coley. A girl returns home with no memories of what has happened over the past three years. A thoughtful, unsettling novel.