Monday, January 6, 2014

2013 Reads

For some inexplicable reason {laziness}, I'm having a bear of a time getting my ducks in a row for a Holiday 2013 Recap post.  This probably means I'll cop out and just post a shitton {scientific measurement} of bad iPhone photos sometime mid-month and call it a day.

At least I'm self-aware, yes?

But! I can always handle a mini book report!  I look forward to writing my personal literary roundup each year, and 2013's list {appearing mostly in the order in which I read them} follows suit with 2011 and 2012 -- that is, individual review-snip-its in 30 words or less.  

{Asterisks denote a Top 5 Favorite.}

The Passage {Book 1 of The Passage Trilogy} - Finally, a post-apocalyptic/dystopian trilogy for actual adults. Super Stephen King-y.  Jazz hands for non-Twilight-y vampires and meaty but enthralling text.

The Twelve* {Book 2 of The Passage Trilogy} - I liked this one even more than the first {which never happens}.  I hate telling people to "power through the first 200 pages," but... power through the first 200 pages. 

Defending Jacob* - One of my most entertaining reads since Gone Girl.  Nice and twisty.  Bonus Points for legitimately decent, somewhat realistic law.

Unbroken* - Every glowing and haunting review you've read about this memoir is true. So, yaknow, get crackin'. 

Eleanor & Park* - Oh man, gut-wrenchingly emo in the best possible way.  High school love {but, again, written for adults} at its very finest. 

Orphan Train - Meh. I felt like I was tricked into reading fiction tailored to correspond with a 7th grade social studies class. 

The Shining Girls - If Time Traveler's Wife had a one-night-stand with Silence of the Lambs, this would be their love child {that's a good thing, if it wasn't clear}. 

The Devil in the White City - Nonfiction that reads like a murder mystery... I like it!

Broken Harbor - This would've been a quick, "fun" murder mystery at 300 pages. Unfortunately, it's more like 500.  I do not need to read every single word of every single police interrogation. 

In the Woods - Better than Broken Harbor... still too many words. And I was only 50% satisfied by the conclusion. 

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail - If you go into this one just accepting the fact that Cheryl Strayed is (a) self-indulgent and (b) a total fucking idiot, it's a really, really great read. 

The Making of a Chef - My ex had this book on his nightstand for about 2 years; I finally got to finish it!  An interesting insider's perspective, especially if you like to cook yourself. 

My Education - I much preferred Diane Rehm's interview with the author to the novel itself. WHY SO FLOWERY, LANGUAGE? 

Cinderella Ate My Daughter* - Mentioned this one already. Loved it from both a sociological perspective and a mama one.  Definitely gave me lots to ponder. 

Inferno - More of the same Dan Brown / Robert Langdon shtick. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing at all.

The Revolution Was Televised - If you love great TV {shows discussed include Sopranos, FNL, Breaking Bad, Lost, etc}, you'll likely find this fascinating. 

Night Film - The ending knocked this one off my favorites list {it was totally outlandish, but I actually wished it more so}, but it was a good ride, nonetheless. 

What were your favorite reads of 2013?  I'm ready to load up for 2014! 

++ Amazon links are affiliate. 


  1. I love this! One of my resolutions is to take the time (read: BREAK AWAY from social media/TV) and read at least one book each month in 2014, so any reviews and suggestions from fellow readers are always appreciated! Have a great week!

  2. I love a good book review post and this one has added quite a few titles to my "to-read" list. I don't know why I keep resisting Unbroken, despite tons of great reviews. That's another good review of Defending Jacob so it's definitely going on the list, along with The Shining Girls, which I hadn't heard of previously. I loved Eleanor & Park. I'm 2/3 of the way through Night Film and wanting to read it at my desk because I'm just so curious to see where it's going.

    A few of my 2013 favorites - And The Mountains Echoed, Where'd You Go Bernadette, House Girl and Lean In. A few I'm looking forward to reading soon - The Rosie Project (on Maggie's recommendation) and The Invention of Wings - Sue Monk Kidd's latest.

    1. I resisted Unbroken for a while, too. It's just such an emotional undertaking. But worth it!

      I am so interested in what you think of Night Film!

      And I started reading House Girl last night on your recommendation and I'm already pretty hooked!

  3. I'm on a HUGE Tana French kick. Read "THE LIKENESS", follow up to IN THE WOODS. Cassie is a freaking rockstar in it, she's electric, and you hate Rob even more than at the end of ITW (which I did... loathing, pure loathing.)

    My top 2013 favorites:
    Julian Barnes' THE SENSE OF AN ENDING
    Steve Martin's A THING OF BEAUTY

    1. Hmmmmmm, I might have to put The Likeness on my list. I like Tana French but really think she could benefit from some editing. The 30 page interrogations get a bit tired for me...especially when they end up not leading any where! But I did like ITW. I could have done without BH completely in comparison.

  4. I am next on our book club rotation so I think I'll use this list to find one for our group! My fave {by far} of 2013 has been the Outlander series. I'm on book 6, and I read book 1 in June. They are LONG and some are a little tedious {you saying 'get through the first 200 pages' of a book - it's more like 'power through the 800 pages of book 2 because book 3 is so freaking amazing, ha} but so well written and an amazing storyline. They are also making a TV show out of it on Starz and my entire book club {I say that like there are 25 women, there are 7 of us, ha} is beyond excited for the show. We are in love with all of the casting and can't wait!

  5. I like Tana French as well. I agree The Likeness is the best of her books so highly recommend. My other favorite of hers is Faithful Place. I feel these 2 are definitely superior to the other 2.

    I could not get through Wild because I hated Strayed so much. But I feel like I should try again because everyone I know loved it.

    E&P was, of course, a favorite. If you like YA, I also loved Wonder. My other faves for the year were And the Mountains Echoed and Sisterland (there's a thing at the the end that drove me batty but it was very readable).

  6. Awesome list! I recently rediscovered my Kindle and can't wait to check these out!

  7. I have yet to read Devil in the White City and I lived in Chicago for 4 years. I just finished Gone Girl and it was a really great read! The movie is coming out in October and stars Ben Affleck. It should be a good book to movie transition. It's kind of dark and the director who did Girl with the dragon tattoo is working on it.

  8. I don't know what happened to my comment so trying again.

    I loved Eleanor & Park. I also read Rainbow Rowell's other books and recommend them too (Fangirl and Attachments)

    I just finished Sisterland. I really liked it. I loved American Wife by the same author (I need to re-read Prep because I can't remember what I thought)

    I am currently reading Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight. I just started but so far I would describe it as Gone Girl meets Gossip Girl. I am hooked.

  9. I swear I already commented, but it's not here. I liked the Passage, but just could not get into The Twelve. I'll try again on your recommendation. Loved Eleanor and Park also, but my heart belongs to Fangirl. Also really liked Defending Jacob and Unbroken. Those would make my best of list, too. If I ever get around to writing such a post.

    1. I downloaded E&P after you posted about it this summer! Downloading Fangirl post haste!

  10. Unbroken made my top 5 too! :)
    Have you read any Maggie Stiefvater? I really enjoyed The Scorpio Races and The Raven Boys by her. I also liked Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore. Nice mix of mystery and a little love story.

  11. You hooked me on The Passage and The Twelve and I can't thank you enough! Happy reading!

  12. Just getting around to reading this post! Adding so many of these to my "to read" list on goodreads!!

  13. "The Light between two Oceans" and "The Silent Wife" were two of my favorites to read in 2013. They were both thought provoking.


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