Today’s Friday Reading is a special end-of-the year edition.
Several of these books have already been featured in previous Friday Readings. Others will be featured in a future Friday Reading post where I’ll have a chance to go into a bit more detail.
A few things I’d like to note:
- These are books I enjoyed reading in 2013, not books released in 2013. Although there are a few recent works, the majority of these were published in previous years.
- Favorite Books list: Those marked as favorites are ones that will stay with me for a long time.
These works have deeply moved me (A Personal Matter) or have shown me something so extraordinary about the art of narrative that I could spend a lifetime thinking about it (Blood Meridian); books where the author’s voice was so original, so strong, that I found myself absorbed and thrilled at the way his words portrayed people and the world (A Drink Before the War) and which explored ideas and themes I also found fascinating as a writer (The Double).
- Books I enjoyed list: Works that left an impression on me. Some because of the character arc, others because of the strength of world-building or the clarity of the author’s voice. Some had gorgeous prose, others had a remarkable sense of narrative structure.
Putting this list together was a bit of an eye-opener for me. I read 167 books in 2013 (not many compared to some of you out there), an eclectic collection of non-fiction research and fiction in a wide variety of genres.
Eighteen of those books were YA. Though I enjoyed them to some degree (I don’t read books I don’t enjoy – too little time to force myself to finish), I had enough reservations, usually relating to the heroine’s character and/or with a rushed (i.e. not believable) romance, that prevented me from including them on the list.
The exception was Eleanor and Park, which is a romance (and an intense, headlong one), but the excellent prose and construction of the protagonists are done well enough to believe the rush as a natural result of their ages and identities.
Favorites of 2013:
- Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy (Literary Fiction)
- A Personal Matter by Kenzaburo Oe (Literary Fiction)
- A Drink Before the War by Dennis Lehane (Adult Noir)
- The Double by Jose Saramago (Literary Fiction / Magic Realism)
I also enjoyed:
- Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta (Young Adult contemporary)
- Written in Red by Anne Bishop: Book 1 in The Others series. (Adult fantasy)
- Iron Kissed by Patricia Briggs: Book 3 in the Mercy Thompson series (Adult urban fantasy)
- Storm Front by Jim Butcher: Book 1 in the Dresden Files series (Adult urban fantasy)
- Touch of the Demon by Diana Rowland: Book 5 in the Kara Gillian series. (Adult urban fantasy)
- Omens by Kelley Armstrong: Book 1 in the Cainsville series. (Adult urban fantasy)
- Abandon by Blake Crouch (Adult mystery/horror)
- Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi: Book 1 of trilogy (Young Adult Dystopian)
- Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell (Young Adult contemporary)
- Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (Adult Mystery/Thriller)