Thursday, January 2, 2014

Read in 2013

It's time for my annual round-up of all the books I read in 2013.  Unintentionally, it was the year of the memoir (with a good bit of fiction and self-help sprinkled in too, of course).

The Rules of Inheritance by Claire Bidwell Smith

This is going to be made into a movie with Jennifer Lawrence producing and starring in it.  (I'm pretty sure that is the definition of "making it" in memoir writing world.)

Sparkly Green Earrings by Melanie Shankle

I got to meet Melanie Shankle this fall at the Allume conference and she is just as adorable and down to earth in person as she is in her book.  Her second book, The Antelope in the Living Room - a memoir about marriage - is due out in 2014.  I can't wait.

Heaven is Here by Stephanie Nielson

Sweet story of a beautiful family. I'd call this one a "feel good and stop making excuses for not living a full life" book.

Carry on Warrior by Glennon Melton 

Glennon and I have a love-hate relationship.  (Ok, actually, it is totally one-sided.  She doesn't even know I exist.)  I agree with and lover her about 75% of the time; but, this book is right on the money.  This is a book to mail to your mom, your sister, your best friend.  (Also going to be a movie I think?  I'm a little confused about how.)

*** Read my (more detailed) reviews of the first four books here. ***

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn 

My favorite of the year bar none!  Another one with a movie on the horizonYou can read my complete review here.

Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan 

A powerful memoir about psychosis and its effect on the brain, body, and soul.  Very good, but hard to read at times.

Love Anthony by Lisa Genova

On autism, motherhood, friendship, courage, and perseverance.  Good, but considering that I can hardly remember anything about it six months after I finished it, not life changing.

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg (audio)

An unexpected favorite.  It covers the scientific, neurological, and psychological basis behind how habits are created and how individuals, companies, and the advertising industries use them.  This isn't typical of my reading choices at all, but it reads more like a story and is SO interesting that I found myself looking forward to the next chapter and being sad when it was over.

Afterwards by Rosamund Lupton (audio)

I can't remember which one, but a blogger I follow recommended this one and I immediately downloaded it.  It is one part mystery about a horrible case of arson in an elementary school and one part love story about a mother and her child at the crossroads between life and death.  It is beautifully written and full of surprising twists.  This would be a great book club choice!

A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout and Sarah Corbett (audio)

This is the memoir of Amanda Lindhout - a Canadian reporter who was held captive for more than 400 days in Muslim Somali in 2008.  The story is powerful and intense at times, but also one of hope and courage.  I especially recommend the audio book because it is read by Lindhout herself which gives it a very personal feel.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Greene

Another one due to be turned in to a movie this year (although my expectation is low - think what Hollywood did to My Sister's Keeper), I read this one at the request of several of my female students who could not stop talking about it this fall.  It is a sweet love story and the characters are well-developed; but, don't read it if you are looking for a happy ending.

On my list for 2014...

Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld
Going Clear by Lawrence Wright
... and maybe the Divergent series

What about you? What was the best book you read in 2013?  What's in the queue for 2014?


  1. Thank you! I just added almost all of them to my TO READ list. :)

  2. In 2013 I enjoyed:
    First You Have to Row a Little Boat | Richard Bode
    Reread The Awakening | Kate Chopin
    Someone Could Get Hurt | Drew Magary (An absolutely hysterical take on parenthood from a father's perspective)

    Up for 2014:
    The Fault in Our Stars (Michael has had this on his nightstand for a while because he has to read it for school. I'm thinking I'm going to steal it.) ;-)
    The Divergent series
    Bloom | Kelle Hampton

    Great list! You gave me some good ideas. Happy New Year!

  3. I really enjoyed reading the Divergent series this year, and ALL of Gillian Flynn's novels. I started with Gone Girl and was so blown away that I had to read the other two. I also adored The Fault in Our Stars, and discussing it with my students! One thing I just read that I'm obsessing over is I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak. He also wrote The Book Thief- as in the film that just came out- which I LOVE more than almost any other book and teach with Advanced 9th graders.

  4. love a good book list.
    Have you read the Divergent series? It has been on my list forever... but I have yet to crack it (and by crack I mean open on my kindle)
    The ONLY book (I know pathetic) that I have read other than five zillion board books has been Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History, GREAT read that I highly recommend.
    This has motivated my reading... THANKS!

  5. Divergent is so great (possibly better than the Hunger Games, which I loved). Also, Looking for Alaska which is another good one by John Green! Another one of my favorites was a YA book called The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker. The plot was surprising and different in a good way!

  6. The Fault in Our Stars destroyed me. Lordie.
    The Divergent trilogy is good, but I liked the Delirium trilogy by Lauren Oliver more, I think.

  7. I've got a half dozen books already lined up for this year!
    Must make time to read.
    First, I've gotta finish Bringing Up Boys, and then I've got the Divergent Trilogy on hold, Grace Based Parenting, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, and A Million Little Ways.


  8. A quick comment about A Fault in Our Stars-John Green, who I follow via Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and any other type of media, (because he's amazing in so.many.ways.) was involved every step of the way with the movie production. He has promised numerous times it would be as close to the book as possible, simply because he knows how close it is to his readers hearts. He also has gone on record as saying he hates most adults as they usually make stupid decisions. So, I think having high hopes for the movie might be OK.

    Love your blog! Your Sam and my Luca are 2 months apart and I found you while we were pregnant together. Congrats on a Clemson win!

  9. great list---ill have to check these out!


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