Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Top 20 Reads of 2013

Those of us on the west coast are still waiting for 2014 to ring in. And as I wait, I will quickly finish up this post I've been meaning to put up for the past several days. Let's hope next year involves less procrastination, yeah?

If you read my very-detailed post on everything I read in 2013, then you'll remember that I read nearly 130 books. Because of this relativity large quantity, I'm allowing 20 books to be chosen in this list of Favorite Reads of 2013.

Some notes on this post before I dive in:
  • only new reads of 2013 will be included (this will keep all-time favorites from reappearing on every list)
  • favorites will be split into categories based on genre
  • other than the genre categories, the list is completely at random (i.e. I don't want to make the difficult decision of listing in any other order)

I love making lists such as these. So I hope you enjoy.

**all book cover photos are courtesty of Goodreads

1. Kira-kira, Cynthia Kadohata
Cynthia Kadohata is one of my new favorite authors. Though her books fall under the "children" category, I find them to be great for all ages. This particular one, is my favorite that I've read from her. A book about two sisters, that greatly reminded me of my relationship with my elder sister.

2. Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn
To sum up this book in one word: chilling. I'm not one for thrillers or mysteries, but Gillian Flynn's book was not only enthralling- it was written so beautifully that I couldn't stop reading. If you're like me and appreciate a beautifully crafted story as much as a well-thought out plot, this book is for you.

3. The Cuckoo's Calling, J.K. Rowling
J.K. Rowling has been impressing me more than I thought possible. As I read this, I didn't even feel like I was reading a mystery. I wasn't constantly wondering "who'd done it?" It was just a wonderfully written story with characters I grew very fond of, that happened to pertain to a mystery.

4. The 5th Wave, Rick Yancey
The 5th Wave is probably one of my favorite YA post-apocalyptic/dystopian novels I have read in a long time. It's very detailed and has a great cast of characters. Having to wait until September for the sequel is going to be killer.

5. 1984, George Orwell
While, the 5th Wave is probably one of my favorite YA dystopian-type books, 1984 might be my favorite one of all time. This is a book I intend to reread again and again, and that is a sign of the best.

6. To Say Nothing of the Dog, Connie Willis
I love my time travel books. It's only a wonder I don't read more of them. Of all the time travel books I've read (The Time Traveler's Wife, The Time Machine, etc), To Say Nothing of the Dog is my favorite thus far. Completely hilarious.

7. Y: The Last Man, Brian K. Vaughan
Because of Y: The Last Man, Vaughan has been become a lookout comic story writer for me. Not only was Y pretty damn amazing, but I also really enjoyed Saga (also by Vaughan) as well. However, since I only got to read the first 2 volumes of Saga, it's hard for it to compete with 10 complete volumes of Y.

8. Eleanor & Park, Rainbow Rowell
Eleanor & Park was my introduction in Rainbow Rowell's works. And what a powerful introduction it was- a realistic romance that captures such strong emotion. I rarely find myself wanting to read romance titles more than once (aside from classics), and I know this is one I'll have to reread in the near future. 

9. Fangirl, Rainbow Rowell
 I've gushed about this book enough already. If I didn't already love Rowell before I read this book, this book has entered her on my list of all-time favorite authors (and not just amongst the YA crowd). If I had to pick a top 3, this would, for sure, be one of them.

10. Fly on the Wall, E. Lockhart
 Fly on the Wall is a play off of Kafka's Metamorphosis, and a very well-thought out one at that. Lockhart writes in her usual style of convincing teenage sass, and I love it.

11. The Treasure Map of Boys, E. Lockhart
 While I'm not sure if E. Lockhart can qualify as one of my all-time favorite authors, she is definitely one of the best in the YA category. She writes with such a convincing voice, that I'm always prone to believe she's a teenage girl living in a grown woman's body.

12. Every Day, David Levithan 
This book, about a person who wakes up in a different body every day, completely swept me off my feet when I read it. Not only was the premise captivating, the writing was engrossing, and the characters, very likable. A must reread, someday.

13. American Born Chinese, Gene Luen Yang
I've read multiple works by Yang this year alone, and this is by far my favorite. I love how the different stories intertwine. And as an ABC, I felt I greatly related to the character.

 14. The Lightning Thief, Rick Riordan
I've said this before, but The Lightning Thief is one of those books that I wish I had when I was a kid. If this series was around when HP first came out, I know I would've been sporting the orange Camp Half-Blood shirts. I do feel that as an adult I probably enjoyed it a smidgen less than if I were 10 years old. Nonetheless, great fantasy. I immediately went and read the sequel.

15. Neverwhere, Neil Gaiman
Short stories aside, this is my favorite read by Gaiman thus far. (And if you read my last post, I have read a lot of Gaiman this year.) Love the characters and the setting (real and fantasy).

When I initially read this book, I didn't think I'd be including it in this list. But the more I thought about what books in 2013 had the greatest emotional impact on me as I was reading, this book immediately came to mind.

17. Make Good Art, Neil Gaiman
Those of you familiar with this know that it began as a gradation speech. However, even if I never heard that speech, and only read it in this format, I think I still would have found it just as inspiring. This book came at a time in my life when I really needed it. A must read for those aspiring in artistic fields.

18. Mansfield Park, Jane Austen
Austen is simply superb. Emma was one of my 2012 favorites, and another one of Austen's works has found its way onto this years favorites as well. Not much else to say. It's Austen- that should say enough.

19.  Catch-22, Joseph Heller
I had waited years to read this book and it was definitely worth the wait. Not only is it comical, but its a wonderfully written story with vivid characters. A must read for everyone.

20.  The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison
I included this under the Classics section because there is no better place for Toni Morrison. Her books read like classics and I'm sure in 100 years, they'll be seen as such. The Bluest Eye is my favorite read by Morrison so far. Like I've said for almost all these books. it's one I'd reread again and again.

Well, that concludes this post.

I hope everyone is having a great celebratory New Years Eve.
May 2014 be even better~

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