Friday, December 27, 2013

Favorite Books of 2013 - Fiction

1. Sharon Cramer, 2012, The Execution, B & F Publishing, 348p.

This is a very enjoyable read and highly recommended. The story takes place in 14th century France and starts with a young priest visiting a prisoner who is to be executed the next day. The priest quickly realizes that the prisoner is his twin brother who he never knew. They end up spending the night before the execution telling each other their story. I pretty much guessed the ending, but that didn't subtract at all from the great read.

2. Ian McEwan, 2012, Sweet Tooth, Nan A. Talese, 320p.

Great finish! As with all Ian McEwan's novels, there is an unexpected twist right at the end, and, as always, the reader is totally unprepared for it. I think that is what I like about his books; the reader can't anticipate the ending.

3. Christopher Moore, 2004, Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal, William Morrow, 432p.

If you are interested in learning about the missing years in the life of Jesus, those years between his birth and when he begins his ministry at about age 30, this books for you. However, after a few pages, you will begin to understand why the Church did not include The Gospel According to Biff in the New Testament.

This novel is full of sarcastic humor and had me laughing out loud on several occasions. One of my favorite passages is the story of Joshua/Jesus healing the two blind men (Amphibians 24:7-21):

'Then Joshua climbed down from his camel, laid his hands upon the old men's eyes, and said, "You have faith in the Lord, and you have heard, as evidently everyone in Judea has, that I am his son with whom he is well pleased." Then he pulled his hands from their faces and the old men looked around.

"Tell me what you see," Joshua said.
The old guys sort of looked around, saying nothing.
"So, Tell me what you see."
The blind men looked at each other.
"Something wrong?" Joshua asked. "You can see, can't you?"
"Well, yeah," said Abel, "but I thought there'd be more color."
"Yeah," said Crustus, "it's kind of dull."
I stepped up. "You're on the edge of the Judean desert, one of the most lifeless, desolate, hostile places on earth, what did you expect?"
"I don't know." Crustus shrugged. "More."
"Yeah, more," said Abel. "What color is that?"
"That's brown,"
"How about that one?"
"That would be brown as well."
"That color over here? Right there?"
"You're sure that's not mauve."
"Nope, brown."
"And. . ."
"Brown," I said.
The two former blind guys shrugged and walked off mumbling to each other.
"Excellent healing," said Nathaniel
"I for one have never seen a better healing," said Philip, "but then, I'm new."
Joshua rode off shaking his head.'

4. Kathy Reichs, 2012, Bones are Forever, Turtleback, 400p.

This is the fourth book of Kathy Reichs that I've read, all staring the forensic anthropologist Tempe Brennan. This series is now a regular series on TV. I especially liked this story because it takes Brennan to some places I've been: Edmonton and Yellowknife, Canada.

5. Toni Dwiggins, 2012, Volcano Watch: The Forensic Geology Series, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 342p.

I enjoyed this book because the main character was a forensic geologist who lives in a town on the side of an active volcano with a ski resort on its slopes.

Honorable Mention:
1. Stephen Frey, 2012, Arctic Fire, Thomas & Mercer, 344p.
2. John Kess, 2013, Elly's Ghost, Amazon Digital Services, Inc., 218p.
3. Janet Tavakoli, 2013, Archangels: Rise of the Jesuits, Create Space Independent Publishing, 324p.

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