Books I Read and Liked: Top 10 Books of 2013

I had meant to do a wrap-up of books I read and loved as 2013 came to a close. Many of them are new releases, though some are a couple years old. Because I keep my running tally of books with my “birthday resolutions” lists, I had to dig up a couple lists for the full scope of 2013.

If you’re interested in reading more of my thoughts about writing and books, please head over to my book blog.

In order read.

1. Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

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If this list were ranked in order of which books I loved best, this would be near (if not the) top.

2. The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson

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One of my ongoing projects (which I hope to finish within the next couple months) is to read all the winners of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction from this century. I read The Orphan Master’s Son just a couple months before the announcement and was positively thrilled when it won. Taking place in North Korea, the book brought up some interesting questions about imagined realities. I ended up writing my final senior seminar paper on the novel.

3. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

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I know a million people have talked about and recommended this. I’m generally wary of books with a ton of online hype, particularly YA. Then I read John Green’s NYT review. Then I read the book. It really is that good.

4. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

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I’m late to the party on this one. After years of contemplating, I actually sat down and read this remarkable book of non-fiction. Part-science, part-biography, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is one of the better non-fiction works of the last decade.

5. Maphead by Ken Jennings

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I once tried to make a comprehensive list of my childhood obsessions for this blog; it quickly became too unwieldy. Maps and geography topped that list (lists are clearly another obsession). I love reading about people who love maps as much as I do.

6. A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick

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I guessed the plot twist pretty early on, but overall an enjoyable work of American historical fiction.

7. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

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Gillian Flynn at her most unsettling. Her books keep me guessing until the very end.

8. Love Water Memory by Jennie Shortridge

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This is being re-released soon as a paperback. An incredibly moving story about a successful woman who turns up hundreds of miles away from her home with amnesia; when her fiancé comes to retrieve her, she has no recollection of him.

9. Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh

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Another book that has made every end-of-year round-up. Also as great as the reviews say. Allie nails whatever feeling comes between laughing and crying.

10. The tenth spot goes to two plays: Tom Stoppard’s modern classic, Arcadia, and Nina Raine’s exquisite Tribes.

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