Your Favorite Books of 2013

It’s finally that time of year again!  When we all share our favorite reads of the past year and perhaps provide our fellow readers with some holiday ideas for friends and family.   (Remember, just because the post title says “of 2013” this doesn’t mean published in 2013.  Just that you read it this past year.

First up, a perennial favorite – books!

Photo courtesy of elmada via Flickr

52 thoughts on “Your Favorite Books of 2013”

    1. Please support your locally owned and operated bookstores-Eagle Eye Books, Little Shop of Stories, Acapella, Tall Tales, Charis and others–instead of the 600 lb. gorilla in Seattle, Washington.

      ​Think Global – Shop Local!
      For every $100 you spend, this is about how much returns to the local economy if you shop at:

      Eagle Eye Books = $68
      Chain bookstores = $43
      On-line retailers = $0

  1. I haven’t finished it yet, but unless it really tanks at the end my favorite book of the year will be “The Goldfinch” by Donna Tartt. Good old-fashioned storytelling in the Dickens mode.
    I thought some of the highly touted books of the year were overrated, especially “The Tenth of December” and “The Flamethrowers,” though sections of the latter were brilliant.
    I’ve mostly neglected the non-fiction side this year, so I hope to discover some good titles here.

    1. I just ordered the Tartt book this morning! If anyone is looking for a deal, it is on sale today at bomcclub dot com for $10. If you are a member, they also have a buy one/get one free and free shipping special running today, which applied to the Tartt book. I also got Amy Tan’s new book, which was also on sale for $10, so $5/each- bargain!.

      1. Thank you! The Book Thief Kindle edition is only $2.49 as well! I didn’t read it in 2013, but it is one of my absolute favorites.

      2. Little Shop of Stories has a special package deal of Donna Tartt’s Goldfinch along with your soul for $24.95. Or you can just pay the $2.99 for the ebook, the other part be damned.

  2. I love Mohsin Hamid’s “How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia: A Novel”. And no, I wasn’t crying at the end. There was dust in my eyes. And pollen. And someone nearby was cutting onions.

  3. Such a slow year for me in the book department. I read “The Burgess Boys” and really enjoyed that and I’ve been working on “Hemingway’s Boat” for a very long time in bits and pieces. I like it when I’m reading it, but it hasn’t been a can’t-put-down book for me.

    1. I also didn’t read much this year, it really is a phase thing for me but after reading this list I’m feeling like I might knock a couple out this month. I started a Rabbi murder series by Harry Kemmelman a long time ago and meant to run through them so maybe i will (they are fun and short). I also wouldn’t mind a good Christmas murder mystery.

      Btw, as far as putting a book down, there’s so much to read, I don’t like to do that, but if I’m not feeling it then I will. I’ve picked up books because other people raved, or felt like I “should” read them (bios & the like), but it’s such an individual thing.

  4. I’m enjoying “The Sports Gene,” and recommend it for lovers of pop science.

    “Fear and Loathing in La Liga,” uses the rivalry between Barcelona and Real Madrid to talk broadly about postwar Spanish culture and politics, and includes a bit of philosophy about the nature of rivalry in sports, politics and other places where one might compete against someone disliked and feared, but ultimately needed.

  5. The Fault in Our Stars, by John Greene – made me laugh and cry repeatedly, couldn’t put it down

    Three Times Lucky, by Sheila Turnage – Best child character since Scout

    Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline – geeky fiction for sure, but highly enjoyable. I hate video games, but the 80s references and story kept me interested

    The Cuckoo’s Calling, by JK Rowling – She’s just an incredible writer!

    How the Light Gets In, by Louise Penny – last one in the Inspector Gamache series, and it was the best of the whole series. I want to live in her fictional village in Quebec.

  6. The “Hunger Games” trilogy.

    A friend recommended “The Forever War” by Joe Halderman, and I enjoyed it immensely.

    He also recommended “Blood Meridian” by Cormac McCarthy. Did I enjoy it? Can one actually enjoy a McCarthy book? No idea, but it sure made for some interesting (and depressing) reading.

    For you military sci-fi geeks, the latest “Horus Heresy” Warhammer 40,000 books.

    And for my fellow runners, “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougall.

  7. The Death of Santini by Pat Conroy, Round House by Louise Erdich, Ordinary Grace by William Kent Kruger, The Road from Gap Creek by Robert Morgan, Sycamore Row by John Grishom & The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan

  8. For nonfiction, “Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief” was my favorite. The history of L. Ron Hubbard and the religion/cult he created is fascinating, as is all the juicy bits about Tom Cruise, John Travolta, and other celebrity adherents.

  9. I forgot to mention in my other post the one non-fiction book I did enjoy this year: “Difficult Men” by Brett Martin. It’s a behind-the-scenes look at the creators behind the “golden age” of dramatic television, focusing on the shows with anti-hero male leads, including The Sopranos, Breaking Bad, The Wire, Mad Men, and a few others. If you’re interested in the tv business or the creative process, it’s a brisk read with lots of interesting tidbits (for example, David Chase wanted Steven Van Zandt to play Tony Soprano.)

  10. I am reading the Wind-up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murikami right now, so slowly because I don’t want it to end. Not a new book, but new to me.
    I also enjoyed Jagganath by Karin Tidbeck

    The Snow Child, The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells, and the Universe versus Alex Woods were nice reads too.

    Looking at my list, I was in a magical realism phase this year…

  11. Difficult Men: Behind the Scenes of a Creative Revolution: From The Sopranos and The Wire to Mad Men and Breaking Bad by Brett Martin

    Visitation Street by Ivy Pochoda

    Fin & Lady: A Novel by Cathleen Schine

    Tenth of December by George Saunders

    Mo’ Meta Blues by ?uestlove

  12. It’s an oldie but I never read till this year F. Scott Fitzgerald ” The Great Gatsby” I enjoyed it and order the Robert Redford version, to much better than this years version.

  13. So glad someone started this thread. Sorry none of these books are from 2013.

    Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell: Hardscrabble, backwoods, Missouri girl takes on an intennnnse world to find her father so her family won’t lose their house. Taut, minimalist, characters are great–almost a perfect book.

    11/22/63 by Stephen King: JFK assassination + time travel + Stephen King’s brain = awesome. Great great story, a page-turner.

    The Perks Of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky: This book just got me. Loved the main character. I didn’t see the “twist” coming and it just broke my heart. Quite different from the movie and much much better (as usual).

    The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta: This is the calmest, most reflective post-apocalyptic book ever. Very character-driven, excellent writing.

  14. With all the 50-years-since-JFK-was-shot hype I got Stephen King’s “11/22/63” from the library.
    At 850 pages, it’s a long read, but really engaging.

    Just a note of caution – it is not a non-fiction account and involves the protagonist travelling in time.

    The ending falls down a little – he should have taken more time to flesh out the consequences of time travel and what happens when….(no spoilers), but I do recommend it. It was good to read King again, since the last one I finished was The Stand.

  15. Thread-jack alert- Hey DM- What about a what’s on your realistic and what’s on your fantasy Christmas list this year post if you get a slow news day?

  16. Oh–if I may–one more to add:

    The Rosie Project by Graeme Simison: Really funny, quirky, sweet and adorable (if you’re okay with that) book about a…different kind of guy, a scientist, who comes up with a plan to find the perfect wife. Everyone I know who’s read this has just loved it. Sequel coming out next year too.

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