There was some stiff competition, but these books prevailed. Here are my top 5 books of 2013!
5. City of Thieves, by David Benioff
I love when a novel can entertain me and teach me something new. In the case of City of Thieves, I learned about the Soviet Union during World War II, specifically the siege of Leningrad. Lev is a young man of Leningrad arrested for looting. Instead of receiving the usual punishment, he and an army deserter are sent on an unlikely mission to find eggs for a wedding cake. This book is both highly amusing and rather devastating, so it makes sense that the author is also an executive producer on Game of Thrones.
4. MaddAddam, by Margaret Atwood
My love for Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam trilogy is well-documented on the blog, from Oryx and Crake to The Year of the Flood. The final installment came out this fall, and I was not disappointed. The book satisfactorily brings together characters from the first two novels with typical Atwood flair for precise details. As if that wasn’t enough, MaddAddam also explores the history of Zeb, perhaps the most enigmatic character from The Year of the Flood. His story brings the reader to exciting new corners of this frighteningly familiar future.
3. Eleanor and Park, by Rainbow Rowell
Meeting Rainbow Rowell was one of the highlights of my year. It was the culmination of a lot of fangirling on my part, and it all started with Eleanor and Park. One thing that I enjoy about young adult authors, and Rainbow Rowell in particular, is that they don’t shy away from sentiment. Maybe they feel free to do this because their teenage readers are often highly emotional beings. Whatever the reason, Eleanor and Park will let you relive the agony and ecstasy of first love in the most delicious fashion.
2. The Giver, by Lois Lowry
I can’t believe that I didn’t read The Giver until this year. Several book-loving friends have reprimanded me for it. Once I had the book in hand, I read most of it in one night, which is something I rarely do. It’s a children’s book that raises some very mature questions. What is the role of pain, both physical and emotional, in human life? And if painful memories were removed, what would be the cost? Lowry examines these questions through simple yet powerful prose. This book deserves its status as a classic.
1. Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell
Fangirl is the obvious choice for number one, but it’s also the honest choice. No other book made me cringe so much for its characters and rejoice in their triumphs. You know how teenagers in movies or TV always seem completely unreal? (In part because they’re usually played by twentysomethings, but also in their behavior.) That is never a problem in Rainbow Rowell’s books. Her characters feel so real that you want them to be your friends, or maybe feel like they already are. (If you want even more thoughts on Fangirl, the link is here.)
I look forward to another great year of reading in 2014!