Book Review · Life without Harry · Sara Dobie Bauer

Best Books of 2013

I read an embarrassingly high number of books in 2013. (No wonder my laundry never gets done.) Whereas many people spend the first few days of a new year looking forward, making resolutions, et cetera, I want to look back and pay homage to the greatest of the great—the best books of 2013.

18343847This does not mean the books were all released in 2013. But they were read in 2013, and they left a lasting impression that will not lessen with the passing of time. With great gnashing of teeth, I came up with nine, in no particular order.

1. Life without Harry
(Sara Dobie Bauer)
How could I? Pimp my own book on my “best of” list? Hey, gimme a break. I’m an author. If I don’t sell myself, who will? If you miss Harry Potter, head to Goodreads and download the eBook. Late Merry Christmas.

2. Splendors and Glooms
(Laura Amy Schlitz)
Puppets, weird magicians, London … well, it goes without saying I was going to love this one. I suppose it could be considered young adult, but there are enough twists, turns, and general creepy critters to keep any grown-up interested.

3. Neverwhere
(Neil Gaiman)
I can hear you: “How in the hell did you not read this book until 2013?” Yeah, yeah, I know, pathetic, especially when you consider The Graveyard Book is in my all-time top ten. Well, Neverwhere is better than The Graveyard Book. It’s a journey into the English underground where there are angels and any manner of murderous creatures. Follow the beloved hero, Richard Mayhew, to the place where the forgotten go …

157835144. The Great Gatsby
(F. Scott Fitzgerald)
I read this book in high school; didn’t get it. I read it this year; was crushed—by the story’s decadence, tragedy, and yearning for things lost. Maybe it’s me getting older, but I finally understand why this is a classic. If you didn’t “get it” last time you read Gatsby, read it again.

5. The Awakening
(Kate Chopin)
Also read this in high school, and although I liked it then, I fully understand it now. I’m a married woman, like sad, little Miss Pontellier. Chopin gives voice to the difficulties women go through, and although she was a pariah in her own age, her story is true and timeless.

6. The Ocean at the End of the Lane
(Neil Gaiman)
Again? Gaiman! Again? Yes, get over it. He signed this book for me, and I read it in two days. This, like Gatsby and The Awakening, is a book best understood after having lived a little. There are monsters and magic creatures, but there is truth and thorough melancholy as one man says goodbye to a childhood lost. Possibly the truest book Gaiman has yet penned.

7. Bellman & Black
(Diane Setterfield)
In this book, you just have to know what comes next. The lead character, William Bellman, is a curiosity yet someone you would like to know—at least for the experience of saying you once met him. It’s a novel about our own mortality and how the rooks are always watching and waiting to carry our souls away.

175719078. The Chatelet Apprentice
(Jean-Francois Parot)
Nicholas le Floche, investigator in 18th century Paris—what a sexy beast. I received this, the first in the several-book mystery series, as a review copy. I then ordered books two through six from ENGLAND. Yeah, I was that desperate. If you like mysteries, scandal, and sex, call London; tell them to toss Nicholas ‘cross the pond.

9. The Longings of Wayward Girls
(Karen Brown)
A woman searches for meaning in her current life by returning to a mysterious summer in her past, and we all know how scandalous things can get in the suburbs. This isn’t desperate housewife crap, though; this is a painful novel of regret and the blood that never washes away.

So that’s it for 2013, folks. One year over, a bunch of books read, and now, a new year. Know what that means? MORE BOOKS!

6 thoughts on “Best Books of 2013

  1. I listened to The Ocean at the End of the Lane on audio, read by the author himself. Neil reads as well as he writes–I recommend it! And yes, The Great Gatsby is a wonderful choice to reread. Nice post!

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