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:

20131230 books sm

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!