Best of 2013

PicMonkey Collage

Another year, another look back at all the great books I read in the last twelve months. According to Goodreads, I read more this year than any year previous. I’m determined to read even more next year. The following are a few of my favorites from this year.

Best First Book in a Series: Who Could That Be At This Hour?

13477819

I missed Lemony Snicket’s voice after finishing the Series of Unfortunate Events. After thirteen books, I never grew tired of the way he tells stories. I feel like Lemony Snicket as a whole is one of the greatest gifts to modern children’s literature, and the more books we can get of him narrating his peculiar life in his peculiar world, the better we’ll all be. I really liked this first book in his newest series.

Best Unexpected Surprise: Green Angel and Green Witch

410615

I picked up Green Heart (a compilation of Green Angel and Green Witch) at my favorite Seattle bookstore, Third Place Books. I’d heard of these books but hadn’t realized that the plot was so unusual and daring and ever-surprising (a literary take on the aftermath of a dystopian event in a medieval-type village). This book was lovely, and so very strange in the best way.

Best Stories: Philip Pullman’s Fairy Tales from the Brother’s Grimm

13554713

At some point, I’d really love to write another fairy tale retelling (Minnow is based on the Grimm story, “The Handless Maiden”), so I bought this book and the audiobook. The print edition is gorgeous, and contains notes from Philip Pullman pertaining to the choices he made when retelling each story, and the audio version was so immersive. Perfect for driving around on foggy days through the forest.

Best Middle Grade: Moon Over Manifest

8293938

This book is made of everything that I love–epistolary (it’s told in part through old letters and newspaper articles), historical (it takes place partly during the Great Depression and partly around WWI) and a mystery about family. I don’t generally cry at books but the ending of this one gutted me.

Best YA: Cinder

11235712

This is the kind of book that I’m fairly certain could only ever have been written in YA. I’m convinced there’s no other category that allows authors to have such complete freedom. This story of a cyborg Cinderella was charming and unique, and I’m aching to read the rest of the series.

Best Audiobook: Dodger

13516846

This book made my god-awful commute not only bearable but something to look forward to. I’d–gasp!–never read a book by Terry Pratchett, but I got a pretty hearty dose of his famous wit and wordsmithery in this story set in the sewers of Dickensian England. The narrator, Stephen Briggs, was also amazing. Eleanor and Park gets an honorable mention in this category because the narrators so brilliantly encapsulated their characters.

Best Nonfiction: Bomb: The Race to Build–and Steal–the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon

13170021

I should rename this category “Best Nonfiction that You’ll Forget Isn’t a Spy Novel.” The details of the race for the atomic bomb between the Americans, Soviets, and Germans were fascinating, and so exciting. The beginning reads like an old-fashioned caper. I loved learning about the scientists in the Manhattan Project, who were basically ordinary nerds whose research changed the world, in good ways and bad.

Best Conclusion of a Series: The FitzOsbornes at War

13414810

I’ve loved the Montmaray series from the first book, but this book put it over the edge into One of My Favorite Series territory. There’s something magical that happens when a brilliant narrator’s voice, a cast of authentic characters, and a well-realized setting are combined. I haven’t fallen in love with characters like this in a long time.

Best Graphic Novel: Saga

15704307

The colors! I must first talk about the colors, which made reading this graphic novel akin to drinking after a long trip through the desert. The plot was unique beyond reason, in addition to being hilarious and surprising. The only downside is having to wait until April for the third volume.

About these ads

2 thoughts on “Best of 2013

  1. Happy New Year, Stephanie! I love reading other people’s lists of favorite books they read. Some of the titles on your list are some of my favorites, too, especially MOON OVER MANIFEST (love, love, love) and CINDER (so impressive). And I’ve even read and enjoyed GREEN ANGEL, but haven’t met too many people who mention it.

    I read a whopping 119 books in 2013, but I know that because I keep an old-fashioned hand-written list in a notebook!

    Hope 2014 is a fun and productive year for you.

    • 119 books, that’s amazing! I’ve upped my goal for this year and I’m definitely making reading a priority for 2014. I especially want to read more books outside of my normal fare (adult literary fiction, fiction in genres I don’t tend to touch, and more classics). Hope you have a great 2014, too!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s