Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: My 2013 Top 10 List

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly bookish list meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

MY TOP 10 PICKS OF 2013

Books Published in 2013

2013 Top 10 Part 1

Eleanor & Park, by Rainbow Rowell
Eleanor and Park were just so well drawn and cute, without being superficial. Eleanor has a rather horrific home life. Park has a much better home life. What I loved about the book was that it showed how, whatever the circumstances, teenagers are self-conscious. It also shows how big small kindnesses can be.

Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell
Cath is starting college rather estranged from her twin and unwilling to leave the fanfiction world where she is a someone. This book was a complete pleasure to read. There were serious issues without it being issue-y, a good solid, realistic romance, and fanfiction. Marvelous.

Picture Me Gone, by Meg Rosoff
I heart Meg Rosoff. Her writing is so clear and simple and yet so evocative. This one has twelve-year-old Mila going on a road trip with her dad to find her dad’s missing best friend. I have such clear pictures in my head leftover from this reading experience.

The Signature of All Things, by Elizabeth Gilbert
Alma Whittaker is born in 1800 into a wealthy and intellectual Philadelphia household. Spanning her whole life, this book spans across a century and across continents. An incredible saga of a novel that bears no resemblance to Eat, Pray, Love. Gilbert made moss interesting, for heaven’s sake. And her writing is excellent.

This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, by Ann Patchett
A lovely collection of essays by a great writer. I read this slowly and, for whatever reason, mostly in reverse order. No one essay stood out for me, but each one was solidly done and provided insight into Patchett.

Books Published before 2013

2013 Top 10 Part 2

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, by Benjamin Franklin
This book influenced me so much. I loved hearing how Benjamin Franklin viewed his own life and getting a good dose of his personal philosophy. I marked a ton of quotes in my copy and would constantly bring Mr. Franklin up in conversation.

Feed, by Mira Grant
My love for this book was totally unexpected. It was recommended to me by my very trustworthy sister-in-law, Maren, but it is about zombies. I don’t usually do zombies. Feed takes place after a zombie apocalypse, in a world where the zombies exist but are mostly contained and where bloggers are the trustworthy journalists. The world-building and writing and twists. Oh my. I loved it.

The Orphan Master’s Son, by Adam Johnson
I read this for the 2013 Tournament of Books (it won the tournament and the Pulitzer) and cruised through it. It’s dense and serious and about North Korea. It’s humorous and well-structured and well-written too.

A Single Shard, by Linda Sue Park
A singular, heart-breaking work. I loved the story and the characters and the writing. It’s a middle grade book (and Newbery medalist), but was certainly compelling to me reading it for the first time as an adult.

Tiny Beautiful Things, by Cheryl Strayed
Whoa. I just finished this book on Sunday. I’d heard a lot about it, most memorably from this episode of Literary Disco. But the experience of reading it is incomparable. It’s a collection of advice columns, most of which were originally published on The Rumpus. Each one is a tiny beautiful thing. They are all so honest and real and amazing. I highly recommend it. (Be warned, though, there is a lot of swearing.)

Reflections. It was a lovely reading year, no? Like last year, I feel good about the relative genre diversity on this list. Three, count them, three nonfiction books made the list. Two literary fiction, two YA, one new adult, one middle grade, and Feed, which, to me, defies categorization. Rainbow Rowell made the list twice, with both of the books being published in 2013. Go her.

Honorable Mentions. Mansfield Park, by Jane Austen; The Ocean at the End of the Lane, by Neil Gaiman; The Song of Achilles, by Madeline Miller; A Year Down Yonder, by Richard Peck.

My favorite. If I was absolutely forced to pick my favorite book of the year, the winner would probably be Feed.

My past top ten lists. 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012

What books did you love this year?