• Not all of these books were published in 2013; they are just the books I read during 2013.
  • I wrote reviews for some these books, or I teamed up with my fearless reading friend Jennifer Spiegel and wrote reviews under our stage name: Snotty Literati. Whenever there’s a review, I include the link. Whenever there’s not, I don’t.
  • I had a goal of reading 40 books this year. I ended up with 36. Not too bad.
  • If you have read any of these and loved them, tell me! If you have read any of them and hated them, tell me that, too! Really. If you have any that you think are must-reads for next year, pony up! Quit being all secretive and everything. Geesh.
  • I read some of these books for Snotty Literati columns, some for my book club, some for Book Bingo (say what? Read about that here), and some just because.


The 10 Best Books I Read in 2013

10. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher (2007). There’s a lot of bullying going on in our schools. I won’t say this is the definitive fictional account of what can go wrong when adolescents are young and misunderstood. But it does provide a bit of light. Asher is a YA author to watch.

9. Still Life by Louise Penney (2008). This little mystery gem came as a recommendation from the famed The Poisoned Pen bookseller. I needed a book seller’s recommendation for my Book Bingo game and this delightful mystery set in fictional Three Pines, Quebec fit the bill. Better yet, it appears to be the first in a series of Chief Inspector Armand Gamache stories. Nice up-sell, Poisoned Pennery… I will be back for more. 

8. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (2008). Let’s just say I never thought I would read this, let alone have it appear on my top 10 list. Jennifer wouldn’t have read it either. But we read it and it was like book crack. We reviewed it and we watched and reviewed the movie, too. But with the number of books we had to read this year, we had to pace ourselves and push Catching Fire to 2014. These are the real struggles of readers and reviewers.

7. The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer (2013). If you grew up in the 70s and 80s this is the book for you. Summer camp, friendship, envy, secrets and assholes–it’s all in here and it’s really well written.

6. Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay (2007). I just finished this book today, checking off another box on the Book Bingo sheet. Sarah’s Key is historical fiction covering the brutal arrest of 10 year old Sarah, her mother and father during the Vel’ d’Hiv’ roundup in France when Jews were taken to their deaths as a part of Hitler’s master plan. Sarah escapes, but not before her fatal mistake is realized. Captivating.

5. A Tree Grows In Brooklyn by Betty Smith (1943). I should have read this book before 2013. Despite this, it completely resonates 70 years later and could stand to be The American Novel. Snotty Literati loved it to pieces.

4. State of Wonder by Ann Patchett (2011). I love Ann Patchett. If I ever write a book, I would want to write on like this. Even though the ending left my Book Club split and Snotty Literati completely at odds. You can get into the thick of our conflicting opinions here.

3. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (2013). This is the book Jennifer is going to wish she read. If you fancy yourself a reader, read it. If you have an e-reader, even better. It’s a whopper at 767 pages, but worth it.

2. The Round House by Louise Erdrich (2012). This gem won the National Book Award for Fiction in 2012. You can trust the National Book Award people. They are good people. And even though I don’t always love Erdrich’s books, The Round House is a winner.

1. Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple (2012). Despite the troubling lack of proper punctuation in the title, I am picking a comedy for this year’s top prize. Comedy never wins when competing with drama, and I think it’s actually harder to pull off. Bernadette is clever and witty and smart. The author wrote for Arrested Development and Mad About You. And don’t let the chick lit cover fool you. This is for smart women AND men to read. What? Woah. I know.

The Worst I Read

Moby Dick by Herman Melville. Moby fans, I just don’t get it.

Tenth of December by George Saunders. So many critics loved this book. Saunders fans, I just don’t get it.

The Meh…

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion. This was my first Didion, and will likely be my last. Too detached for too personal a subject. I felt like this was published because she was already an established writer, but not because it was particularly good.

That’s all I have. Peace, love and books!