Top 10 Books of 2013

Even though I ended the year without a bang, I still had a pretty spectacular year in books. I recently sat down and stared at my Goodreads 2013 shelf  thinking this list would be hard to compile, but not so much. Ten books immediately jumped out at me, and now I get to share them with y’all! They are also in completely random order and quotes are from my own reviews.

Without further ado:


#1 – Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

A BOOK FILLED WITH AWESOME. Richly layered, such amazing attention to detail, great sense of place. I want to read everything about geisha history and culture.


#2 – A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

Francie is my new favorite heroine of all time. Her sad moments are filled with joy, her happy moments sobered by sorrow. She’s independent, smart, and dreamily lonely. Her story is both tragic and uplifting. I wanted to crawl inside this novel and live there forever.


#3 – Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

I like to think of Walter as a storytelling magician.


#4 – Heft by Liz Moore

She writes people filled with a gritty humanity that makes you yearn for a happy ending. Kel and Arthur go through so many trials and push through so many obstacles that you barely understand how they are still surviving. But they are surviving and it is spectacular.


#5 – Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

So many tears – an ugly cry that I haven’t cried in a long time. Her ending is difficult, layered, and will leave at least a tiny hole in your heart, but I never really yearned for a different conclusion.


#6 – Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Hartman has built a world that was an absolute pleasure to visit. I wanted souvenirs!


#7 – The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

I sat down the next evening and read it in one sitting. Four hours that ran the emotional gamut. READ. THIS. BOOK.


#8 – The Illusion of Separateness by Simon Van Booy

The man can destroy you in six words and rebuild whole worlds in just six more. Talent oozes from every single sentence.


#9 – The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

So many of The Goldfinch’scharacters are a slave to their own artistic endeavors – Hobie and his restoration, Pippa and her music – and arguably, Donna Tartt and her writing. Familiar books such as Oliver Twist and Great Expectations were woven throughout The Goldfinch and gave life to each character. It would be ridiculous to think Tartt didn’t do this on purpose and for a very specific reason. I believe it’s her way of showing how she’s chained to past literary giants.

Sea Creatures

#10 – Sea Creatures by Susanna Daniel

I was sucked in from the first page and didn’t let go until the last word. Sitting here writing this review, my heart continues to break for these characters. Daniel’s writing feels almost like coming home amid one of the worst familial disasters ever.


30 thoughts on “Top 10 Books of 2013

  1. Oh–“A Tree Grows In Brooklyn” . . . one of my favorite books ever! I’ve probably read it at least five times over the years. In case you didn’t know, Betty Smith wrote three other books which are also very good–I think they may be out of print, but definitely worth seeking out at your library or used book store: they are “Joy in the Morning”, “Maggie Now” and “Tomorrow Will Be Better”.

  2. So many good books! And I’m sort of kicking myself that I didn’t include The Illusion of Separateness on my own list. There were just too many REALLY good books I read this year. It was terrible trying to whittle them down to 10.

  3. Funnily enough I just finished The Goldfinch this morning – it was only a four star read for me – but certainly unforgettable – not sure how I’ll review it. I also loved Memoirs of a Geisha when I read it and remember A tree Grows in Brooklyn with fondness. I also read The Illusion of Separateness this year – it is a remarkable novel. The others on your list are new to me. Happy New Year.

    • I hope you enjoyed them, as well! Memoirs of a Geisha was just such a masterful bit of storytelling. I haven’t seen the movie, yet. I’ll put that on my list of must-dos this year!!

  4. I am so excited to read the Goldfinch! I’ve still not heard a single bad review of it from people I trust or just random customers at my shop. I’m kind of afraid it wouldn’t live up to the hype but I’ve seen it on so many “Best Of 2013” posts that I’m OK with that risk. Excellent choices on your list. Reminds me of some things I bought but forgot to read (like Seraphina, which looks great).

    • The Goldfinch was a perfect novel for me, but I can see how others wouldn’t totally love it. Give it a chance, though! It’s a lovely, sprawling epic that does SO MUCH at one time. Seraphina is the cutest thing ever. READ IT!!

  5. I loved Me Before You as well and I’ve just downloaded the audio for The Ocean at the End of the Lane. I’m excited to get to it…just have to find the time for the audio! I hope 2014 is a great year for you.

  6. Beautiful Ruins was on my list as well as you know, and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is one of my favorites!!! I haven’t read Memoirs of a Geisha in years but I remember really liking that one as well. Great list!!

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