You know I love me a good list, so I’m always eager to log into Goodreads at the end of the year and browse my virtual bookshelf. I finished 19 books this year and covered nearly all my literary bases: memoirs, thrillers, classics, self-help… There are some real goodies in here, books that inspired me to be a better writer or to live a simpler life, books that entertained me through many a late night feeding, books that opened my eyes to gross injustice. The year in review:
Wild by Cheryl Strayed
The Art of Procrastination by John Perry
The Brothers K by David James Duncan
In the Woods by Tana French
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp
Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl Wudunn
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott
Seven: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker
On Love: A Novel by Alain de Botton
Carry On, Warrior: Thoughts on Life Unarmed by Glennon Doyle Melton
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay
Best books of 2013: Sadly, I don’t have any new all-time favorites up there. But topping this year’s list are The Brothers K and Gone Girl. They are wildly different, but so, so good in their own right. I loved Brothers K for the beautiful writing and the endearing characters and the perfect mixture of tragedy and humor – it’s a high-quality novel, though slow going at times. And then there was Gone Girl. Not a literary masterpiece, but man, what a freakin’ page-turner! I can’t remember the last time I read with such fervor. Fun (though disturbing) stuff.
Worst book of 2013: Divergent. I was looking for something quick and fun and engaging and thought this Hunger Games-esque young adult novel would fit the bill. But it was just a bunch of kids running around with guns speaking in cheesy dialogue. Not the least bit tempted to see the movie version coming out next year.
On the docket for 2014: The Sleepeasy Solution (yep, this is our life now!), Daring Greatly, and Half Broke Horses are at the top of my queue. Plus some Dr. Seuss and a little Maurice Sendak, for our little reader-in-training!