Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Favorite Reads of 2013

Rather than trying to narrow my favorite books from 2013 down to a top 10, I went back through my reading log and asked which books had made a lasting impression on me. Here's what I came up with. 18 books in all, listed in the order I read them. I've included the year of publication in parentheses, since I don't necessarily nor even usually read books the year they come out.

Julie's Wolf Pack, by Jean Craighead George (1997). Middle grade/YA fiction mostly from the POV of wolves, and so incredibly absorbing and moving.

Libriomancer, by Jim C. Hines (2012). Contemporary-set fantasy where books are the source of magic.

A Year of Biblical Womanhood, by Rachel Held Evans (2012). Wherein Evans shows just how selective anyone who claims to interpret the Bible literally actually is by trying to live out its commands to women exactly.

Miss Jacobson's Journey, by Carola Dunn (1992). Traditional Regency romance (i.e. "sweet," though I hate that word for most anything other than dessert or a baby) with a very non-traditional heroine and setting.

Whose Names are Unknown, by Sanora Babb (written in 1939, published 2004). An account of the Dust Bowl, published decades after it was written because at the time Random House, which had acquired the manuscript, decided there was no room in the market for another book on the same theme as The Grapes of Wrath.

The Antidote, by Oliver Burkeman (2012). Wherein the key to happiness is to stop working so hard at being happy. I need to re-read this one...

Things I Can't Forget, by Miranda Kenneally (2013). YA romance in which a very good, very religious girl learns to be less hard on herself and others. I could relate since I pretty much was the heroine back in the day.

Bloodlands, by Timothy Snyder (2012). The horrors of WWII as experienced by the civilian population, both Jewish and Gentile, of Eastern Europe. A depressing read, but I'm glad I know more of that history than I did before.

Help, Thanks, Wow, by Anne Lamott (2012). On praying for help and with gratitude an appreciation for the wonders of the world.

Sacred Games, by Gary Corby (2013). My favorite entry to date in this mystery series set in Ancient Greece.

The Ides of April, by Lindsey Davis (2013). More historical mystery. I'm not yet as enamored of Flavia Albia as I am of her adoptive papa Marcus Didius Falco, but I'm willing to be won over.

Lawrence in Arabia, by Timothy Johnson (2013). Or, how the European powers planted the seeds of a century of conflict in the Middle East in jockeying for short-term advantage in WWI.

Discount Armageddon, by Seanan McGuire (2012). The most all-around fun book I read all year.

Blood of Tyrants, by Naomi Novik (2013). Left me waiting with bated breath for the next (and I believe final) book in the series.

The Black Count, by Tom Reiss (2012). A black general in Revolutionary France! And despite my extensive knowledge of the era, I'd never heard of him before.

This Wicked Gift, by Courtney Milan (2009). Milan's debut release, a Christmas historical romance novella with non-aristocratic characters.

Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell (2013). Among other things, a lovely valentine to fandom and what it brings to readers' and writers' lives.

Cracking Up, by Kimberlee Conway Ireton (2013). A memoir on parenthood, anxiety, postpartum depression, and stubborn faith.

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