My Best of 2013

As I’ve done in recent years, I will list my favorite books in terms of categories rather than creating a simple top ten list (or whatever number). How can I really say which is better, my favorite biography vs. my favorite mystery, for example? So here is what stands out the most from the year:

Best fiction overall:

  • Dorothy Baker’s Cassandra at the Wedding
  • Alissa Nutting’s Tampa
  • Justin Torres’s We the Animals
  • Paul Harding’s Tinkers
  • Elizabeth Gentry’s Housebound

Most enjoyable novels — these are maybe not great, great books, but they were lots of fun:

  • Maria Semple’s Where’d You Go, Bernadette
  • Jess Walter’s Beautiful Ruins
  • Georgette Heyer’s The Talisman Ring

Best mystery:

  • Sara Gran’s Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead

Best graphic novel (yes, I only read two this year, but still):

  • Craig Thompson’s Blankets

Best biography/autobiography:

  • Vivian Gornick’s Fierce Attachments
  • Sonali Deraniyagala’s Wave

Best essay collections:

  • Michelle Orange’s This is Running For Your Life
  • Jo Ann Beard’s The Boys of My Youth
  • Kiese Laymon’s How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America

Best literary criticism:

  • Phillip Lopate’s To Show and To Tell: The Craft of Literary Nonfiction

Best unclassifiable nonfiction:

  • Maggie Nelson’s Bluets (a reread)

Here’s hoping that we all find some wonderful books in 2014!


Filed under Books

12 responses to “My Best of 2013

  1. I am full of admiration for the breadth of your reading. I read very little other than fiction, letters and journals. Perhaps I should review my decision not to make any hard and fast reading resolution for 2014 and take myself in hand and expand my literary horizons.


    • Thank you! I see nothing wrong with reading mostly fiction, letters, and journals, unless, of course, you would really like to read other things. Perhaps you can have a loose and tentative reading resolution instead of a hard and fast one in this vein?


  2. I am hoping to read housebound in a month or two. I am very much looking forward to it!


  3. Thanks for sharing your best reads. I’ll keep these lists in mind. Have a wonderful 2014!


  4. Love your choices! Couldn’t agree more for Bluets. Beautiful Ruins and Fierce Attachments. I loved them all. I have – as you may imagine! – quite a few mentioned on your lists to read in 2014, which is something I am very delighted about. 🙂


  5. Loved the Maria Semple, too. Great fun and cool cover.


  6. Thank you for sharing your best of list. Love reading through these. I had Blankets on loan from the library and returned it unread. Darn! Have also seen the Semple book on several lists and I need to move that one up on my shelves. Here’s to a fabulous reading year!


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