Kristan Hoffman - Writing Dreams Into Reality
Wed Dec 25 2013

My favorite books of 2013

To be honest, I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump these past couple weeks, so it’s particularly nice to take a look back on the books I’ve enjoyed this year and see that there were some really spectacular stories.

In order of when I read them:

Mind Games (Mind Games, #1) Eleanor & Park Code Name Verity Where'd You Go, Bernadette
Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead Olive Kitteridge Shadow and Bone (The Grisha, #1) Siege and Storm (The Grisha, #2)
The Secret Daughter
Fangirl The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle, #2) Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened

Interestingly, this group features several books with unconventional structures. BERNADETTE is told primarily through “found” documents — emails, court records, magazine articles, and passive-aggressive notes between neighbors. HYPERBOLE is an extension of the hilarious blog of the same name. FANGIRL includes snippets of fanfic for a book series that doesn’t even exist!

Maybe it’s a sign of our modern sensibilities creeping into our fiction?

Regardless, there’s one thing that I think will never change for me: My favorite stories are the ones that resonate with me emotionally. Make me cry, make me laugh, or best of all, make me do both.

(“Kiss me, Hardy! Kiss me quick!”)

What about y’all? What were your favorites books of the year?

filed Reading/Writing
9 Comments
  1. Shari says:
    Thu Dec 26 2013 at 9:07 AM

    I think I need to bump FANGIRL to the top of my to-read list! Everyone keeps raving about how wonderful it is! :)

  2. Kristan says:
    Thu Dec 26 2013 at 10:32 AM

    I hope you do enjoy it! I’ll be honest, I wasn’t wild about the fanfic sections, but everything else was so well done that I didn’t care. It totally took me back to my college days, which I loved.

  3. Browsing the Atlas says:
    Sat Dec 28 2013 at 9:16 AM

    I have been reading like crazy. If I could, I’d read all day, every day right now. My favorites from the past few months (can’t remember any farther than that) are:

    Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger (I just got around to reading it)
    Love, Anthony by Lisa Genova
    Save Yourself by Kelly Braffet (Stephen King’s daughter-in-law)
    Faith by Jennifer Haigh

    I got a few books for Christmas and have stacks of books to be read. One of which is Her Secret Daughter which you mention as a favorite. I’ll have to move that to the top of the stack.

  4. Kristan says:
    Sat Dec 28 2013 at 10:18 AM

    Thanks for sharing your list! HER FEARFUL SYMMETRY has been on my to-read list for awhile — glad to hear it’s a good read. I may need to bump that one up too. :)

  5. Laura says:
    Sat Dec 28 2013 at 2:28 PM

    These all look like such great reads! A few of my favorites this year have been:

    Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan (Cannot recommend enough!)
    Ready, Okay! by Adam Cadre (A little hard to get into at first, but one of the few books in which I can legitimately say “I laughed, I cried.”)
    The Raven Boys by Maggie Steifvater (Can’t wait to get my hands on The Dream Thieves! Glad to see it made your list:)
    Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
    Looking for Alaska by John Green

    Now it’s time to dive into the enormous stack of books I got for Christmas… o_o
    At least I can say my family knows me well :)

  6. Kristan says:
    Sat Dec 28 2013 at 2:40 PM

    Thanks for the recommendations! Someone else mentioned RULES OF CIVILITY to me, so I’ll have to bump that up the list too.

    Btw, I liked RAVEN BOYS, but I looooved DREAM THIVES. :D Maggie Stiefvater is amazing.

  7. jkftravel says:
    Sat Dec 28 2013 at 5:29 PM

    I very much enjoyed Where’d You Go Bernadette. And I’m giving everyone I know Hyberbole and A Half, I’m a huge, huge fan.

    For some reason, I’ve been on a non-fiction streak. I loved Drift, by Rachel Maddow. And Why I Jump by Naoki Higashida was amazing. I finally got around to reading the Steve Jobs biography. Very well done. I also recommend:

    The Dog Who Loved Cheerios (And Other Tales of Excess) by Cami Johnson
    Caliph’s House by Tahir Shah
    The Social Animal by David Brooks
    Bossypants by Tina Fey (but listen to the audio version because it’s read by her and that adds something to it. I’m not sure I would have finished it if I’d just been reading the print version.)
    Here on Earth by Alice Hoffman (fiction)
    All of the Chet and Bernie books by Spencer Quinn (mostly fiction)

    Thank you for this, Kristan. I love finding out what others are reading and beefing up my “to be read” pile. (Not that it needs it. It’s precariously tall as it is.)

  8. jkftravel says:
    Sat Dec 28 2013 at 5:31 PM

    Ooops, the Naoki Higashida book is called The Reason I Jump.

  9. Kristan says:
    Sat Dec 28 2013 at 5:39 PM

    Yay, another BERNADETTE and HYPERBOLE fan! (Weren’t the new dog stories the best, haha?) I liked BOSSYPANTS too, and in that vein, you might try Mindy Kaling’s IS EVERYONE HANGING OUT WITHOUT ME?

    Thanks for sharing your list! Like you, I love adding to my already ridiculous TBR stack. ;)

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