Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A Year of Reading: 2013

1. Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier
2. Honolulu by Alan Brennert
3. Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
4. Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
5. The Best American Short Stories 2011 edited by Geraldine Brooks
6. Waking Up Married by Mira Lyn Kelly
7. The Silent Cry by Anne Perry
8. Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen
9. Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks
10. And When She Was Good by Laura Lippman
11. The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation Vol. 1: The Pox Party by M.T. Anderson
12. The Best Man by Kristan Higgins
13. My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher
14. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
15. The Cry of the Sloth by Sam Savage
16. Every Day by David Levithan
17. Mariana by Susanna Kearsley
18. Twilight Sleep by Edith Wharton
19. The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
20. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
21. In This Light: New and Selected Stories by Melanie Rae Thon
22. Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood
23. The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
24. Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
25. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
26. Velvet by Mary Hooper
27. The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi
28. Far From the Tree by Andrew Solomon
29. Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
30. The Burning Air by Erin Kelly
31. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
32. Glass by Sam Savage
33. The Movement of Stars by Amy Brill
34. Why Evolution Is True by Jerry A. Coyne
35. Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
36. A Breach of Promise by Anne Perry
37. Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
38. The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls by Anton DiSclafani
39. A Lady By Midnight by Tessa Dare
40. The Stuff of Life: a graphic guide to genetics and DNA by Mark Schultz
41. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
42. A World Away by Nancy Grossman
43. The Winter Queen by Boris Akunin
44. Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
45. Texas Destiny by Lorraine Heath
46. Storm Front by Jim Butcher
47. The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily Danforth
48. The Way of the Dog by Sam Savage
49. Bleakly Hall by Elaine diRollo
50. Joyland by Stephen King
51. The Hand That First Held Mine by Maggie O'Farrell
52. Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
53. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
54. Tenth of December by George Saunders
55. The Fortunes of Indigo Skye by Deb Caletti
56. One Last Thing Before I Go by Jonathan Tropper
57. The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey
58. Don't Breathe a Word by Jennifer McMahon
59. The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly
60. Carrie by Stephen King
61. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
62. The Twisted Root by Anne Perry
63. Kiss Kiss by Roald Dahl
64. Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future by Dorie Clark
65. The Light in the Ruins by Chris Bohjalian
66. The Mussel Feast by Birgit Vanderbeke
67. Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
68. House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
69. Firmin by Sam Savage
70. Small Damages by Beth Kephart
71. Paper Towns by John Green
72. Fingersmith by Sarah Waters
73. Tony Hogan Bought Me an Ice-Cream Float Before He Stole My Ma by Kerry Hudson
74. Bootleg: Murder, Moonshine, and the Lawless Years of Prohibition by Karen Blumenthal
75. The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp
76. When Nights Were Cold by Susanna Jones
77. VB6 by Mark Bittman
78. MASH Angels: Tales of an Air-Evac Helicopter Pilot in the Korean War by Richard C. Kirkland
79. Slaves of Obsession by Anne Perry
80. Kiss Me First by Lottie Moggach
81. Doctor Sleep by Stephen King
82. 14 by Peter Clines
83. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
84. A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra
85. It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini
86. Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding
87. Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan
88. Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh
89. Your House Is on Fire, Your Children All Gone by Stefan Kiesbye
90. The Good House by Ann Leary
91. Allegiant by Veronica Roth
92. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
93. Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will To Lead by Sheryl Sandberg
94. Raven Stole the Moon by Garth Stein
95. Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick
96. Bossypants by Tina Fey
97. The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean Auel
98. The Things a Brother Knows by Dana Reinhardt
99. Let It Snow by Maureen Johnson, John Green, and Lauren Myracle
100. Black Aperture by Matt Rasmussen
101. Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
102. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
103. Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
104. Star Cursed by Jessica Spotswood
105. This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett
106. Raven Girl by Audrey Niffenegger
107. The Valley of Horses by Jean Auel

Every year I experience a bit of angst when I try to pick out my favorite books because so many of them were really good. This year is no different, in that I read a lot of great books, but there were two clear standouts: Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. They are both high-falutin' literature that garnered positive reviews from critics, but also were just really wonderful reading experiences. You don't need an English degree to appreciate these novels.

Some of my other favorites were Rebecca, Tell the Wolves I'm Home, Year of Wonders, The Cry of the Sloth, and Beautiful Ruins. But I also loved The Burning Air and Kiss Me First - really, it's hard to stop naming favorites once I've started. Those last two, though, were probably the most underrated books of the year. They deserved much greater popularity.

I have a few general observations about 2013's reading. I notice several re-reads on my list: Carrie, The Great Gatsby, Alias Grace, Twilight Sleep, Firmin, Bossypants, and I read Code Name Verity twice during 2013. In most cases these re-reads were for book groups or something work-related (I read Gatsby and Twilight Sleep for Gatsby Month.) My trend of reading ever more books every year seems to be continuing, though I'm really not trying and I don't know how to stop it. Subscribing to this year ensured that I was continuously listening to audiobooks, and I know that was a factor in this lengthy list. Also this year I read a number of romance novels as that was a previously unexplored genre, which I am unlikely to continue with such fervor. I also notice that I read ALL of Sam Savage's books this year, including a re-read of Firmin. I will likely continue to read and re-read his books in the future because they are brilliant and short. He is a bewilderingly under-appreciated author. The only other observation I can make from looking over my old blog posts is that I noticed a really large number of typos, many of which were in the post titles. Yikes. Sorry about that.

On a sad note, the author of the very enjoyable and touching It's Kind of a Funny Story recently committed suicide. Since that book was such a hopeful novel about a suicidal teen struggling with depression, I have very mixed feelings now about recommending it. Obviously it's still a good book, but knowing that the story is autobiographical, it's hard to separate the novel from the tragic end to the author's life.

So what's ahead for 2014? I'm considering more re-reads, actually. I know I'll be reading Fangirl again for a book group at work, but I've also been thinking about reading Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale again because I read it so long ago, as well as I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. Maybe even Cheryl Strayed's Wild, which I only read a little over a year ago but am considering again. There's lots of new books I'm excited about as well - I still haven't read the new Diane Setterfield book Bellman and Black, and three of my favorite authors have new books coming out in 2014: Chris Bohjalian's forthcoming novel Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands is a departure from his recent historical works and sounds really fantastic. Sarah Waters is releasing a new novel next fall called The Paying Guests, and Elizabeth McCracken is releasing Thunderstruck and Other Stories this spring. I have a lot of great books to look forward to!


Sam (Tiny Library) said...

I loved Americanah too, so I'm pleased to see you liked it as much as me. And I read Rebecca for the first time this year, what an incredible book full of so many twists and turns.

Rereading books is a good goal, I think. It's something I need to make more time for as well. If only there weren't so many wonderful new books out there....

3goodrats said...

Yes, I would really appreciate it if authors would all just stop writing for a few years so I can catch up.