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The Top 10 Books I Read in 2013

In case you missed my previous post, I read 52 books in 2013.

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I know, I’ve been trying to repress it too.

In all seriousness- setting a reading goal was actually good for me. I spent way less time watching reality TV and checking Craigslist Missed Connections. It also gave me something to talk about at cocktail parties, instead of just standing in the corner, mindlessly hoovering canapes and white wine spritzers, counting down the minutes until I could go home.

I also had the pleasure of reading a lot of really fantastic books…so many that I had a hard time narrowing it down to just a few. 

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But alas- despite being a millennial, I recognize that not everyone can win the prize.. so here they are: 

 The Top 10 Books I

Read in 2013 

1. Middlesex

by Jeffrey Eugenides

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I’m not one to make gushy statements, but this multi-generational masterpiece about a Greek-American family in Detroit may be the best book I’ve read not just this year, but EVER. (You can read my initial review here).

I will caveat my glowing recommendation with the fact that it is a bit of a saga. If you’re looking for something a little shorter/less dense, check out Jeffrey Eugenides’ other books, The Marriage Plot and The Virgin Suicides (since adapted into a film by that boyfriend-stealing b*tch Sophia Coppola).

2. The Unbearable Lightness of Being

by Milan Kundera

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This book made me feel a lot of feelings. 

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………. Which is saying a lot, because I sort of pride myself on feeling as few feelings as possible.

A love story set in Eastern Europe during the infamous Prague Spring of 1968, this book is chock-full of romance, tragedy, metaphors and emo-goodness. It made me want to curl up with a fuzzy blanket, a glass of wine and a big-ass box of Kleenex. 

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3. Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls

by David Sedaris

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The latest collection of humorous essays by my hero/life model/favourite writer ever David Sedaris did not fail to disappoint. As I mentioned in my initial review,  I was lucky enough to attend a reading of his back in April when the book came out. He responded to fan questions, told funny stories and read from the book aloud.

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What a treat.

Someday I will become his straight, female counterpart…. and no that is not weird.

4. How Should A Person Be?

By Sheila Heti

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If you like artsy shizz and the HBO show Girls, then this book about a young writer struggling trying to find her way in the world is most definitely for you.

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It’s also set in Toronto, which endeared me to it further. Maybe once you read it, you will finally be able to answer the age-old question:

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5. Quiet: The Power of Introverts

By Susan Cain

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Reading this book about how introverts are undervalued in today’s society made me feel empowered and (ironically) less alone in the world.

I even stopped wearing this sweater all the time:

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If you fancy yourself an introvert- even a closet one- do yourself a favour and read this book.  

6. A Hologram For the King 

By Dave Eggers

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This book follows Alan Clay, a middle-aged divorcee who, in a last-ditch effort to turn his luck around ,goes to Saudi Arabia to sell the elusive King Abdullah a new hologram technology.

Think Tupac at Coachella

Think Tupac at Coachella

Although it’s not big on action (most of it takes place in a single room), the raw, effortless writing made it a standout for me.

Aaaand if you’re really lazy, you can always just wait for the film adaptation  starring Tom Hanks. (It’s gotta be better than Saving Mr. Banks.)

7. The Rosie Project  

By Graeme Simsion

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The Rosie Project centers around Don Tillman, a 39-year-old genetics professor who is somewhere on the autism spectrum- he just doesn’t know it yet.

Citing scientific evidence that “married men are happier and live longer”, Don sets out to find the “perfect” wife by creating an extensive, detailed questionnaire. Women who do not score 100% are summarily disqualified.

This book has all the makings of a great, offbeat romantic comedy- and in fact it has already been optioned by Sony Pictures. It would make a great book club pick, or to read on the beach for all you lucky b*tches going on tropical vacations this winter.

8. The Last Girlfriend on Earth

By Simon Rich

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You can check out my initial review of Simon Rich’s hilarious short story collection here. Each piece was incredibly clever, witty and well written- like a Saturday Night Live skit playing out right in front of me on the page. Loved it.  

 9. The Sun Also Rises

By Ernest Hemingway

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I feel like sort of a hipster try-hard doofus listing this as one of my top 10, but I swear that was not my intention. In fact, I initially chose this book because it was under 200 pages.

But as I started to read it, I was captivated by the beauty in Hemingway’s prose as he described a group of artistic expats attending the Running of the Bulls in Spain.

I even found myself quoting lines to friends- before realizing how much of a pretentious dink this made me sound. So instead, I just wrote them down in my journal of lame, private thoughts that are way too embarrassing to post on my blog. You know you want to read that, don’t you? Well you can’t! So go read this book!

 10. The Interestings

By Meg Wolitzer 

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The Interestings centres around a group of 6 friends who first meet as teenagers at a camp for the arts in the 1970′s, and follows them  throughout their decades-long friendship. Lives become complicated, relationships become strained, issues of class, money and power ensue, and in the end everyone is richer for the experience. You should read this book IF:

a) You have ever dreamed of a career in writing/the arts

b) You find New York City impossibly romantic.

Question of the Day:

What was the best book you read in 2013?  

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22 thoughts on “The Top 10 Books I Read in 2013

  1. Best of the year was a toss-up between A Hologram for the King and Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk. I guess male existentialism was big for me in 2013.
    Also, I said that The Interestings would be my next read but I may have to bump it. I got Winter’s Tale for Christmas and I see a film version is coming out in February so I have to get through it first just because. And it’s 750 frikkin’ pages!
    Finally, over Christmas, my sister sent me a YouTube link of David Sedaris impersonating Billie Holliday. If you have never heard this, I urge you to seek it out immediately.

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    • I heard him do his Billie Holliday impression once on an episode of This American Life and it is jokes. He used to think he could get famous by covering commercial jingles In that voice lol. Let me know how Winter’s Tale is, I noticed that was coming out this year also and wanted to read it.

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  2. Love this post! I will set out to read your picks :)

    I realize I only read 3-5 books a year, because I suck, but I would say one of my favourites from this year was Divisadero, by Michael Ondaatje. So beautifully written, every single sentence.

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    • I have never read any Michael Ondaajte. I’m such a shameful Canadian! I must rectify that and check out your pick as soon as I’m done Barney’s Version (further can lit edumacation)

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  3. I liked the use of static and moving images here, it gave the list an extra bit of oomph. I haven’t actually read any of these so I’ll have to take you at your word… and I don’t take people at their words lightly.

    I’m going to lump the Game of Thrones books into one volume to choose my favourite book of 2013, mainly because it makes life easier. Other than that it’ll be the book about the female pilots during WWII ‘cos I’m a WWII nut.

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  4. I’m admittedly not a big reader. It comes in spurts (oh, giggity!). Anyway, I read a Dean Koontz series called Odd Thomas that I really enjoyed. I was tricked into reading a book called Maine. It was a total chick read, but the matriarch was a disgruntled drunken Irish woman, so there’s that. I will check out a couple of the short story recs on your list. 52 books? Damn!

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  5. I love when people write book reviews and inspire me to add books to my own To-Be-Read list since I still have stacks and shelves full of others to read. I was looking forward to writing a review of some of the books I read this year, but somehow managed to lose or delete part of the review file I had saved; guess I should’ve drafted it while I had the chance. Thanks for sharing your reviews!

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  6. I really loved Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (sic fi, totally not my thing usually, but this one was amaze, trust), East of Eden by John Steinbeck (you won’t want to read another book after this one because it’s so well-written it hurts), and Pope Joan by Diana Woolfolk Cross(a historical fiction novel which nods to the idea that there was, indeed, a female pope). Oh and Divergent by Veronica Roth is a fun one too!

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  7. My favorite is a book I’m reading that one of my blogger friends wrote. It’s pretty impressive that people I know actually write and get books published. It is called Reave and her name is C. Miller.

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  8. Pingback: How to Read 52 Books In One Year (Without Going Insane) | The Camel Life

  9. Pingback: Why I Seem Unread to Some | TheJessicaness

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