Neil Gaiman’s “Ocean at the end of the lane” tops our 2013 picks

We asked our fellow library colleagues what their favourite titles were in 2013. Of course our librarians are avid readers so the list was long! But it turns out that the beloved Neil Gaiman title won us over in 2013 – it’s already gained a UK National Book Award too.

Syndetics book coverThe ocean at the end of the lane / Neil Gaiman.
“It began for our narrator forty years ago when the family lodger stole their car and committed suicide in it, stirring up ancient powers best left undisturbed. Dark creatures from beyond the world are on the loose, and it will take everything our narrator has just to stay alive: there is primal horror here, and menace unleashed – within his family and from the forces that have gathered to destroy it. His only defense is three women, on a farm at the end of the lane.” (Catalogue summary)

Second place equal:

Syndetics book coverBehind the beautiful forevers / Katherine Boo.Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity
“From Pulitzer Prize-winner Boo comes a landmark work of narrative nonfiction that tells the dramatic and sometimes heartbreaking story of families striving toward a better life in one of the 21st century’s great, unequal cities.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHow music works / David Byrne.
“How Music Works is David Byrne’s buoyant celebration of a subject he has spent a lifetime thinking about. Equal parts historian and anthropologist, raconteur and social scientist, Byrne draws on his own work over the years with Talking Heads, Brian Eno, and his myriad collaborators – along with journeys to Wagnerian opera houses, African villages, and anywhere music exists – to show that music-making is not just the act of a solitary composer in a studio, but rather a logical, populist, and beautiful result of cultural circumstance.A brainy, irresistible adventure, How Music Works is an impassioned argument about music’s liberating, life-affirming power. ” (Syndetics annotation)

Syndetics book coverRelish : my life in the kitchen / by Lucy Knisley.
“Lucy Knisley loves food. The daughter of a chef and a gourmet, this talented young cartoonist comes by her obsession honestly. In her forthright, thoughtful, and funny memoir, Lucy traces key episodes in her life thus far, framed by what she was eating at the time and lessons learned about food, cooking, and life. Each chapter is bookended with an illustrated recipe – many of them treasured family dishes, and a few of them Lucy’s original inventions” (from publisher’s web site).

Syndetics book coverThe luminaries / Eleanor Catton.
There was this large world of rolling time and shifting spaces, and that small, stilled world of horror and unease – they fit inside each other, a sphere within a sphere.’ It is 1866, and Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the West Coast goldfields. On the night of his arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of twelve local men, who have met in secret to discuss a series of unsolved crimes. A wealthy man has vanished, a whore has tried to end her life, and an enormous sum of money has been discovered in the home of a luckless drunk. Moody is soon drawn into the mystery: a network of fates and fortunes that is as complex and exquisitely patterned as the night sky. From the author of the award-winning global phenomenon The Rehearsal comes a breathtaking feat of storytelling where everything is connected, but nothing is as it seems.” (Catalogue summary)