Tuesday, December 31, 2013

My Favorites: 2013

The Best of my year of reading.

In 2013, I read a lot of good books, some mediocre books, and too many books of marginal value. I read 53 books from the stash that have accumulated this year. My husband calls UPS the Bookmobile.  Additionally, I have a lot of books on my Kindle and in hardback that I didn't get to read no matter how much I wanted to read them. Even though the intent and desire was there, time and energy interfered. 
 This has been a hard book year. Because I worked so much this year, I read a lot of terrible student essays and a couple of books about education. All that work meant that my personal reading and blogging suffered. The other problem was that I reviewed a lot of books for publicists and publishers that I didn't particularly want to read. I am a bit nonplussed about how to deal with the problem of too much of a good thing. 

 Best Novel: The Round House by Louise Erdrich. I read this with my book club and have grown in respect for Erdrich. She tells a good story.  This is quickly followed by The Submission by Amy Waldman. Morally intense. 
Most clever mystery: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. Loved how it kept me guessing. I didn't peek at the ending--not once! 
Most profound exploration of grief: Enon by Paul Harding. I was pleased to see it on some best of 2013 lists, because I thought it was incredible. Also loved Let Him Go by Larry Watson, another exploration of loss. 
Best Gothic (and only Gothic!) Moonrise by Cassandra King. My introduction to her as an author. 
Best International Mystery: I loved Police by Jo Nesbo. Also liked The Collini Case by Ferdinand von Schirach. 
Best book about aging: Fierce with Age by Carol Orsborn. Quickly followed by The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce, which I absolutely loved. 
Best classic to read again for the first time: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald which I listened to on an audio book before seeing both the Robert Redford and Leonardo DiCaprio versions of the movie. 
Best Essays: My Planet: Finding Humor in the Oddest Places by Mary Roach. Laughing at the crazy stuff of life. 
Best Memoir: The World's Strongest Librarian by Josh Hanagame because of his extreme honesty, humor and hopefulness . 
Biggest Surprise: Ship it Holla Ballas by Jonathan Grotenstein and Storms Reback. Can you believe I read a book about how online gambling works? Oh, and also Shot All to Hell by Mark Lee Gardner about Jesse James robbing the Northfield Minnesota bank. 
A book I wanted to like: Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld. This was well reviewed but I just couldn't relate to it. 
Other notable books:
Reconstructing Amelia Kimberly McCreight 
 Blue Plate Special by Kate Christensen 
 Saturday Night Widows by Becky Aikman

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