Wednesday, January 01, 2014

2013: The Year in Books

Happy New Year!

It's become kind of a tradition at this point for me to put up a post about the reading I've done over the past year. And, hey, far be it from me to break with tradition!

You can find the complete list of my 2013 reading here, or, if you prefer a more visual representation, here. I read a total of 144 books this year. That's one fewer than in 2012, but, hey, not too shabby. And I acquired... Well, let's just say "some." Or, OK, "a lot." I don't so much want to look at the numbers on that.

Here's my also-traditional "best books of the year" list. As usual these, like the rest of my reading, are rather varied:

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion
Zone One by Colson Whitehead
The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There by Catherynne M. Valente
The October Country by Ray Bradbury
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Un Lun Dun by China Mieville
The Plague of Doves by Louise Erdrich
Await Your Reply by Dan Chaon
Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Allison Bechdel
The Making of the Fittest: DNA and the Ultimate Forensic Record of Evolution by Sean B. Carroll
Economix: How Our Economy Works (and Doesn't Work) in Words and Pictures by Michael Godwin
The Hot Zone by Richard Preston
I'm Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen by Sylvie Simmons
Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things by Randy O. Frost & Gail Steketee
Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson

Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened by Allie Brosh
Science: Ruining Everything Since 1543 by Zach Weinersmith

Judging by that list, I'd say it was a pretty good year in books! Now to see how much of the TBR Pile I can manage to get through in 2014...


  1. I wasn't too impressed by The Plague of Doves, though the Bechdel, Gaiman, and Flynn definitely get my vote. And lots of other books on the list that look interesting, particularly the Whitehead and Chaon books.

    And the full list is 144 books? Sheesh, you people with impressive reading habits! I barely squeaked by with 50 this year.

    1. I find Louise Erdrich's writing utterly compelling, for reasons I don't think I could properly articulate. I first read her after I bought a copy of Shadow Tag by accident -- this sort of thing happens to me, don't ask -- and, although it didn't look like my sort of thing, I figured I'd give it a chance. I couldn't put it down. And I think Plague of Doves was probably even better. But, again, don't ask me why, because I have no response other than, "She's a really good writer!"

      Zone One is, IMO, not entirely without flaws, but apparently I cannot resist a literary zombie novel. And it's good at it. It actually does some interpreting and original things with the zombies (not easy these days), it's very well-written, and it left thoughts and feelings lingering in my mind after I closed the last page, which I think is always a mark of success. Very bleak, though.

      Await Your Reply, on the other hand, was just a fun, fast, absorbing read. I'm impressed with the way Chaon manages to take three seemingly unrelated stories and weave them together in a really satisfying way.

      And I guess I'm just a motivated reader! If I don't keep reading stuff from my TBR shelves, they're in danger of toppling over and crushing me. :)