“Reading is the sole means by which we slip,
involuntarily, often helplessly,
into another’s skin,
— Joyce Carol Oates
Last year I posted my best and worst books of 2012, and I thought it was about time to do the same for this year.
I love reading, and I do it all the time. In 2013, I read 27 books! Which is kind of a lot, I think? It may actually be a record for me. Granted, more than a few of them were brainless tween young adults reads that some people might not even consider literature, but I’m including them because sometimes those books are exactly what you need. A brainless read to whisk you away.
Without further ado, here are my “worth reading” and “don’t bother” books of 2013.
Tell the Wolves I’m Home– I read this without knowing anything about it, but I was pulled in from page one. It’s a sort of coming of age story about a 14-year-old girl whose best friend in the entire world is her Uncle Finn, an artist, who happens to have AIDS. It takes place in the 80s, a time when no one knew much about this disease. It’s told entirely through her eyes, and it’s heart wrenching but wonderful.
The Snow Child - This was one of those books that I was unsure about the whole time I was reading it, but once I finished, I couldn’t stop thinking about. It’s about an older couple living deep in Alaska, and the sudden child that comes into their life.
The Age of Miracles - I didn’t realize that this was YA until I was already a few chapters in, but this was hands down the best young adult book I’ve read in a long time.
Waiting To Be Heard– In light of (what I believe to be) the completely absurd and ridiculous verdict that happened last week regarding Amanda Knox’s case, I hope that more people read this book and support her. Sadly, it’s clear that her nightmare is far from over. While I think most people with even half of a brain will agree that Amanda Knox is innocent, there are a lot of people out there that disagree, and will do whatever they can to get her back in prison.
How To Be A Woman– Caitlin Moran is my feminist idol. I love her. I love this book. I think every woman should read it. I wrote a whole lot more about it here.
Sharp Objects - After reading Gone Girl, I decided to read Gillian Flynn’s other novels. Similar to Gone Girl, it’s a murder mystery that you won’t be able to put down.
Dark Places- This was my least favorite of Gillian Flynn’s books, and even saying that, I’d still recommend it. Perfect page turner, and an excellent audio book for a long drive or commute.
Crazy Sexy Diet - If Caitlin Moran is my feminist idol, Kris Carr is my health idol. This book has had more impact on how I eat, and and how I view food, than anything I’ve ever read. Kris Carr is a veggie rock star. I am not a vegetarian, and I still love this book. I highly recommend this to anyone interested in adopting a more plant-based diet.
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves – I recommend reading this without knowing anything about it. Don’t read the description, don’t read the reviews, just buy it and start reading.
The Art of Hearing Heartbeats– This book took me awhile to get into, but once I did, it was worth the initial struggle. A beautiful love story set in Burma,with twists and turns and characters that will stay with you for days.
The Handmaid’s Tale– I cannot recommend the audio book version of this enough, which is narrated by Claire Danes. She kills it. I wrote a bit more about this here.
Orange Is the New Black: My Year ina Women’s Prison- As a fan of the popular Netflix series of the same title, I decided to read the original book it was based on. It’s fairly different from the series, and not as funny, but it’s just as good. An easy and quick read.
Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape– So, the writing in this book is far from amazing, but if you’ve ever wondered just what Scientology is all about, this is an excellent source. It’s written by the niece of the current leader of the church (who is no longer a practicing Scientologist), and, well, it shows just how batshit crazy Scientology is.
The Cuckoo’s Calling– As the first adult book by J.K. Rowling, this novel seems to be all the rage. But it just wasn’t for me. I was never that into it, and though the ending is good, it wasn’t good enough to make me love the rest of the book. A lot of people loved it, but I found it pretty meh.
Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife– Boring. Very boring.
Shine Shine Shine– I was into this book while reading it, but overall I thought it wasn’t that great. It’s interesting, but really strange, and I was left feeling more weirded out than inspired.
The Unwind Collection: Unwind; UnWholly; UnSouled - Since I am a HUGE Hunger Games fan, a friend recommended this series to me. It’s horrible! I found this to be a big fat fail. I think I lost brain cells just by reading this. So stupid.
Neither Great Nor Terrible
And the Mountains Echoed - This book was a huge letdown for me, most likely because I had such high hopes for it. Khaled Hosseini is the author of both The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, two books I absolutely adored, so I was expecting the equivalent of greatness when it came to his 3rd book. Alas, I was sorely disappointed. It’s not a bad book, but it’s nowhere as good as any of his previous novels.
Jodi Piccoult Audio Books - Okay… so remember when I had LASIK last year and had all sorts of compilations and couldn’t open my eyes for extended periods of time? It completely sucked, and since I couldn’t keep my eyes open, I listened to a decent amount of audio books. Out of all of them, I found that Jodi Piccoult books were my favorite. They’re not great literature, but they’re easy and entertaining, and they keep you interested from beginning to end. They have different narrators for each character, and for me, it almost felt like I was watching TV. Her audio books have quickly become my go-to for a long car ride, and even Kevin is into them. This year I listened to The Storyteller, Sing you Homeand Lone Wolf. The Storyteller was by far my favorite, but the other two are good as well.
Divergent Series– I read this series because I heard it was similar to the Hunger Games. It’s not amazing, but it sucks you in and keeps your interest. It’s the perfect read for when you don’t want to think but need to be entertained. I thought the first two books (Divergent and Insurgent) were better than the third (Allegiant), but overall they were an enjoyable YA series.
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) - A quick read, and lough out loud funny. No life changing messages, but entertaining.
Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead - I had mixed feelings about this book. While I believe in Sheryl’s overall message of empowering women, I felt like it was rather repetitive. I’m also not sure how relatable it is for women that don’t work in the corporate America environment. However, a lot of my friends loved it, and I wrote a bit more about it here.
Have you read any of these? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Are you on Goodreads? If so, let’s connect!
You can find my 2012 list here.