Some novels I’ve read in 2013 so far have really underwhelmed me, including The Passage. Justin Cronin’s pseudo-vampire epic garnered a lot of love from critics and acquaintances who I generally trust, but left me frustrated just as much as it entertained me. Mostly, I felt like I should be rereading Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot then taking a first go at The Stand.
Setting aside novels over 700 pages long, a couple of books I’ve flat-out loved: Madeline Miller’s The Song of Achilles and Julian Barnes’ The Sense of an Ending. I’m not the only one to heart either of these fine pieces of fiction. Miller’s empathetic and riveting retelling of the Achilles myth won the Orange Prize, while Barnes took home the 2011 Man Booker. He’s still garnering praise today, including a recent Millions piece. The article is entertaining and worth reading at least for the way Nina Matyris worms her way into a full interview with the man.