Monday, January 6, 2014

Top 10 Books of 2013

Happy New Year, readers!  It's a fresh year, so I'm making a resolution to get back on the blogging bandwagon.  So, what can I tell you about 2013? Well, I read 225 books in total. Yes,
that's a record. Yes, that's ridiculous.  I will be sharing the full list in my next post, for those who are curious.  I can tell you that roughly 158 of them were published in 2013, 42 of them were debut novels, 20 were re-reads, 18 were YA titles, 14 were non-fiction, 14 were trashy underwater fiction, and 9 were short story collections. But who's counting.

Again roughly, my star rankings were as follows: (1) one star, (8) two stars, (36) three stars, (92) four stars, and (87) five stars. (I'm aware that's one short. One book was not rated.)  It was a superlative reading year, obviously. Here, for the purposes of this discussion are my top ten books of the year.  The first two are tied for first place, the rest are in completely random order.  In the cases that I've written a review, I've linked it here.  Other's will hopefully appear on the blog in the weeks to come.

1. The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells - Andrew Sean Greer

1. The Golem and the Jinni - Helene Wecker

Tenth of December - George Saunders

The Interestings - Meg Wolitzer

Maddaddam - Margaret Atwood

The Serpent of Venice - Christopher Moore

& Sons - David Gilbert

The People in the Trees - Hanya Yanagihara

The Circle - Dave Eggers

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena - Anthony Marra

A few additional notes... I generally try to pick books published in the year ended for my top 10
list. I made an exception for Christopher Moore's The Serpent of Venice, which will be released on April 22, 2014. It's as good as anything he's ever written. And I thought I was bad last year, with three Bay Area authors making my top 10 list. This year there are five Bay Area writers! I'm sorry, we just have some wicked talented people in this part of the world.  It's also worth noting that three of the above are debut novels.  Wow.

Winnowing a list of 225 books down to just 10 is pretty awful. I flat out loved all the books above. I loved the 10 honorable mentions below almost as much, and they might have just as easily made the top 10 list were the competition not so brutal.

The Goldfinch - Donna Tartt

The Son - Philipp Meyer

Eleanor & Park - Rainbow Rowell

The Cuckoo's Calling - Robert Galbraith

This is the Story of a Happy Marriage - Ann Patchett

A Tale for the Time Being - Ruth Ozeki

We Need New Names - NoViolet Bulawayo

The Ocean at the End of the Lane - Neil Gaiman

Night Film - Marisha Pessl

The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards - Kristopher Jansma

Tell me, readers, what were your favorite books this year?  Truly, I'd love to know!


  1. Impressive! You put me to shame. My favorite has to be The Golem and the Jinni too, although I surprised myself by loving 11/22/63. And Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore is at the top of my list too.

    I owe you a catch-up call, brtw. I'm not ignoring you, just ridiculously busy during the holiday season.

  2. Hey, SL, that's a good list. I'm a huge fan of all three of those titles. So glad you loved Mr. Penumbra, too! Did you see that Robin Sloane has published a Kindle single called Ajax Penumbra 1969 about when Mr. Penumbra first arrived in SF? I haven't read it yet. I'm saving it for a rainy day.

  3. No, I haven't seen that. I'll have to look into it. That's a book that I didn't want to end, even as I wanted to find out what was going on. Conflicted much?

  4. I only know a few books on your list. We must have been in different parts of the literary world this year! Usually we're more in line, I think. I don't even know where that Bay Area of yours is! There must be a concentration of good authors there, maybe it's the fresh (?) air.

    I loved The Circle too, and I really need to read Maddaddam but I fear I'll have to reread the other two in the series first - where is the time for that?

    I think we're on one line regarding the number of books read in a year: it's just ridiculous to read that many. I read much less, because I finally have something of a life. Well, more like a working life, but it's fun and it keeps me busy and away from the books.

  5. Yes last week my father gave me the book “The Golem and the Jinni” and said that is the top 10 must read books. Actually he had completed its reading before some days and this book is very admired by him.