Three favourites from 2013

One of the goals that I set for myself for 2013 was to read 38 books. And although the curve was quite steep – just more than 3 books a month – I managed to finish my goal with one day left.

Although I read many different genres, fantasy prevailed in the end. There was also three books that stood out among the rest. Why did they stand out? Well mainly because I found them absolutely brilliant! To make it a bit easier I'll categorise them according to what I found best about them.

Most magically beautiful book – The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The Night Circus is a beautifully written book that captures the 'magic' of the circus that is only open during the night. It is a fairytale and romance combined with lovely, almost tangible scenery. My favourite, and most memorable aspect of the book was probably the scenes where the Night Circus was described. I also enjoyed the different characters and experiencing the Circus through their eyes.

“You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone's soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose. That tale will move them and drive them and who knows what they might do because of it, because of your words.”

Favourite epic fantasy – The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

First of all, the fantasy world that Sanderson created in The Way of Kings is mindblowing. He manages to bring to life a truely original world that feels totally plausable. The plot also has enough intrigue and action to keep you reading until you feel as though your eyes are going to dry out and then fall out altogether. It realy is hard to put down! Lastly, the characters. Each one feels so real. Some have become almost instant enemies, where others feel like friends and others like a brother or sister. I have truely enjoyed this mamoth book and am looking forward to it's sequal that will hopefully come out somewhere around my birthday. (Happy grin…)

“And so, does the destination matter? Or is it the path we take? I declare that no accomplishment has substance nearly as great as the road used to achieve it. We are not creatures of destinations. It is the journey that shapes us. Our callused feet, our backs strong from carrying the weight of our travels, our eyes open with the fresh delight of experiences lived.”

Most captivating fairytale – The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

As you read the final page of this book it feels like you are waking up from a wonderful sweet dream. Yes, the dream has been scary and intense, but at the same time it was magical, and wonderful. Simultaneously splendidly real and unreal. As I read this I got reminded of my childhood. Typical childhood hopes and fears and even naivity gets brought to the fore. It is a story about two children, one with typical childhood naivety and the other with wisdom that seems way beyond her years. It has found a solid spot on my favourite book list and is a must read to all those who want to escape into a dream just once more. (Did I mention that the writing was also brilliant?)

“Nothing is ever the same,” she said. “Be it a second later or a hundred years. It's always churning and roiling. And people change as much as oceans.”

If there is one of these three that you haven't read yet, put it on your to-be-read list for 2014. Ask for them as a birthday or christmas or anniversary or just-because gift. Or even better, give it as a gift to someone. And i hope that 2014 will be a fantastical year!


  • Jenn

    I have really been wanting to read Night Circus! I really need to get around to it!

    • Nino van Vuuren

      The Night Circus is realy beautiful. I am sure you will enjoy it a lot!

  • Ona Loots

    I just finished Night Circus, and you’re right, it’s absolutely captivating. In some parts I even wanted to start drawing the scenes described – they were just so beautiful. However, finishing the book won out in the end.

    Neil Gaiman is one of my very favourite authors – I really can’t wait to start with this one.

    But first, I need to finish Elantris. Thanks to you, I’m now a huuuuge Sanderson fan.

    • Nino van Vuuren

      Please do sketch the scenes from The Night Circus! I would love to see them! Or make something for Worth1000 maybe?

      I would like to hear your thoughts on Elantris, it was definitely one of my favourites that I read in 2012.

      • Ona Loots

        I actually finished a Worth last night that would have been perfect – chop anything, as long as it is in black & white. However, I ended up going with my other big inspiration of the holiday: The Hobbit.

        It’s currently still open for voting, but you should be able to see it here –