Best Books of 2013 and Books to Read in 2014

Best of 2013

Listen carefully… Do you hear that…? It’s the sound of pages turning.

I have a love/hate relationship with the “Best Of” Books lists that come out this time of year. I love that I get to see the literary year in review, but I hate that there are so many books I somehow missed during the course of the year. I love it when one or two of my personal favorites ends up on the lists, but I hate that so many of the “Best” authors are the same names we see every year… Often men, often writing about middle-aged male concerns. This year I was very pleased to see a bit of a shift away from that trend. This year I saw a lot of new authors on the “Best Of” lists, and a lot of women authors. Hooray!

Of course I couldn’t pass up this opportunity to jump on the bandwagon and share my own lists. So if you will indulge me (and please keep in mind that one or two on these lists are from 2012, but because I read them in 2013 I’m including them here)…

My “Best Of” List

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

The Golem & The Jinni by Helene Wecker

Glaciers by Alexis M. Smith

The House at the End of Hope Street by Menna van Praag

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

Other Notables

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

Maddaddam by Margaret Atwood

The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer

Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

You can see where my head was for much of the year–ALL of my “Best Of” list are written by women, and more than half of my “Notables” list. Was there not much great fiction by men this year, or was I simply in a place in my life where I was more attracted to the writing of women? I’m not sure. But as you can see from the paragraphs below, I intend to do some research into the matter…

A side-effect of the “Best Books Lists” time of year is that they serve to remind me of all the great books I haven‘t gotten around to reading. Inevitably (and purposefully, I’m sure) a large portion of the “Best Books of 2013” lists become the beginning of my “TBR in 2014” list.

Bkwurm’s To Be Read in 2014 (in no particular order)*

  • Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
  • I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
  • Tequila Mockingbird by Tim Federle
  • Z, A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler
  • Longbourn by Jo Baker
  • Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala
  • The Circle by Dave Eggers
  • Drinking With Men: A Memoir by Rosie Schaap
  • We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
  • The Bully Pulpit by Doris Kearns Goodwin

I’m sure there are plenty of other GREAT books from 2013 that I’ve missed. Please comment and let me know what other books I should add to my list. What were YOUR favorites of 2013? Let’s all get reading!


*If you need some ideas for your own TBR list, my list above was influenced by:


5 thoughts on “Best Books of 2013 and Books to Read in 2014

  1. I really enjoyed Life After Life. It surprised me, and was a very interesting construct. I’m really looking forward to reading I Am Malala, too. And I hear you. Inevitably, these lists are full of ones I need to put on my TBR list for next year. It’s why I almost never re-read: there’s so little time to read the new ones!

    • I’m glad to have your recommendation of Life After Life. The premise is interesting, but the first chapter didn’t pull me in, so I haven’t been inspired to pick it up again. But I hear so many good things about it, I think I’m going to have to give it another go. šŸ™‚

  2. I love to hear about what you are reading and find worthy-I consider you my own private book advisor. You choose-I’ll read, that’s how much I respect your opinion. Thank you Jenni for helping me find my way through the sea of books to be read.

    • Aww, thank you Barbie! You are consistently putting excellent books into my hands as well, so I think it’s a mutually beneficial relationship. I’m really looking forward to reading American Gods & discussing it together!

  3. Pingback: The Year of Women (Authors)! #ReadWomen2014 |

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