In case you missed my previous post, I read 52 books in 2013.
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.
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
by Jeffrey Eugenides
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
This book made me feel a lot of feelings.
………. 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.
3. Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls
by David Sedaris
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.
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
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.
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:
5. Quiet: The Power of Introverts
By Susan Cain
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:
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.