I realized that I had to break my self-imposed pause on the blog in order to put together an end of year reading list, because when it comes down to it, tracking what I’ve read and putting together mammoth lists of the best books that I’ve loved (and want to push into your hands) is my favorite part of blogging.
I’m taking the same list set-up I used last year to keep my thoughts a bit more organized and to highlight those ones I really loved rather than throwing a bulleted list at you.
1. Best books you read in 2013 (not counting re-reads)?
The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss, both of which made me not want to read another book ever again. Oh and I read both of them this year. Twice.
The Icarus Deception by Seth Godin, because all. the. ideas.
Doc by Mary Doria Russell
A Rogue by any Other Name by Sarah MacLean (I’d nominate all of her books, but this is the first I read, so it goes here.)
(Ack. Close seconds to Outlander by Diana Gabaldon and Cooked by Michael Pollan.)
2. Books you were excited about and thought you were going to love more but didn’t?
Heh. The Meh list. Tender at the Bone by Ruth Reichl. Insurgent by Veronica Roth. Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon. Storm Front by Jim Butcher.
3. Most surprising (in a good way!) books of 2013?
All of the books by Sarah MacLean–A Rogue by any Other Name, One Good Earl Deserves a Lover, Ten Ways to be Adored When Landing a Lord, No Good Duke Goes Unpunished. They’re cheeky and smart and sexy. I smiled while reading them, laughed even. I didn’t realize I needed more romance in my life, but it turns out I DID.
I love this question. Rothfuss and MacLean are high on the list depending on the person. (People actually read the books when I recommended them, AND loved them, so I count that as a win.)
5. Best series you discovered in 2013?
Rothfuss. Down pat and center. Oh and MacLean’s books. And Mary Doria Russell’s coming book to finish on Doc Holliday’s life. I’m sensing a theme, especially after last year’s rash answer of “I don’t do series after the still healing burn of WOT.” Which, BY THE WAY, did finish and it was stupendous and I think I took a day off of work to finish reading A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson.
6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2013?
It was such a great year for new authors, but also rereads of some of my favorites. I love how that turned out. Okay. Best: Rothfuss and MacLean, but you already knew that. I also fell in love with Kevin Hearne after reading Hounded (oh, that should go on series too!).
7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?
Romance, of course, but also a SLEW of business books. Likeable Social Media by Dave Kerpen, The Power of Unpopular by Erika Napoletano, and Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg were all knockouts in that category. I also read an ecological book, The Desert Smells like Rain by Gary Paul Nabhan that was amazingly good.
8. Most thrilling, unputdownable books in 2013?
Rothfuss and MacLean (can that be my answer for every question?), but also Chuck Wendig’s Under the Empyrean Sky and Veronica Roth’s Divergent (though I though Insurgent was a bit poo.)
9. Book you read in 2013 that you are most likely to re-read next year?
Many of the books I re-read this year are kind of in a circuit that I try to re-read every year or two, like A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson, The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell, The Secret History by Donna Tarrt, The Red Tent by Anita Diamant, Contents May Have Shifted by Pam Houston, and Sandman by Neil Gaiman.
Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking by Anya Von Bremzen had such a fun cover that actually drew me to it in the bookstore. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman was, likewise, glorious.
11. Most memorable characters you read in 2013?
Mary Doria Russell’s characterization of Doc Holliday in Doc was one of the most lingering characters of the year, along with Emilio Sandoz in Children of God. Oh and Jaime in Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. Ohmylanta.
12. Most beautifully written books read in 2013?
So so many. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt was so beautifully written. Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino is like poetry on a page. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman was so simple and yet it kept building in complexity as I thought about it.
13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2013?
Cooked by Michael Pollan and What I Eat by Peter Menzel for the insight into food both of those gave me. For personal growth, The Icarus Deception by Seth Godin. Reading Lean In also made me start a group among other career-minded friends which had a huge impact on my career, but also in the dedicated time I now give to those awesome people.
14. Book you can’t believe you waited until 2013 to finally read?
Rothfuss. Over and over.
15. Favorite passage/quote from a book you read in 2013?
“If I die tonight it will be with every single thing unfinished (like, I suppose, any other night), and yet, what a gift to die on the verge of tears. I have spent my life trying to understand the way this rock and this ache go together, why a granite peak is more dramatic half dressed in clouds (like a woman), why sunlight under fog is better than the sum of its parts, why my best days and my worst days are always the same days, why (often) leaving seems like the only solution to the predicament of loving (each other) the world.” – by Pam Houston in Contents May Have Shifted
“The Waystone was his, just as the third silence was his. This was appropriate, as it was the greatest silence of the three, wrapping the others inside itself. It was deep and wide as autumn’s ending. It was heavy as a great river-smooth stone. It was the patient, cut-flower sound of a man who is waiting to die.” – by Patrick Rothfuss in The Name of the Wind
16. Biggest new book blogging thing you did this year?
ALL the things. Really. I started as a contributor at Food Riot AND Insatiable Booksluts and couldn’t be more stoked. Like dancing in place stoked. I also had a wicked great time during both Pairathons (anniversary week and for Bout of Books) I ran this year (yeah, not great with the originality when it comes to events).
I had the most amazing time at the Tucson Festival of Books this year and am already scoping out my trip for March.
18. And a final stat for the funzies… 63 books read, consisting of:
- 29 works of fiction
- 29 works of nonfiction
- 1 play
- 4 comics
Phew, you made it this far. How was your 2013 reading? Favorite books? Least favorites?