The 13 Best Books I Read in 2013

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I’m going to make a confession here: Since finishing graduate school, I’ve read almost no literature for the purposes of research.  I don’t want to make grand generalizations and say “I’ll NEVER read for research again!”, but at this point, I’m really, really enjoying reading fiction only for my own pleasure.  I have a job at a college teaching writing/rhetoric and I love it. While I do research, most of the academic writing I’m focused on now will be for a wider audience and will largely deal with education and writing pedagogy in general.  This has been incredibly liberating for me because I love to read and I’ve finally given myself permission to just read what I want, when I want, and not worry about writing a 30 page article about it for the pages of “New Inquiry in Post-Capitalist Literary TechnoModernism” (not a real journal).

The other day I totaled up everything I read in 2013 and came up with around 75 books. (Be jealous!)  Being the time of year for awesome lists, I thought that I’d make a list of 13 best books I read over the course of the year for my nerdy bookish friends. The list doesn’t include any of the Agatha Christie novels I read this year (I collect them), nor does it include non-fiction or poetry or drama, and while a few of the books were published this year, most were not.  I mostly read novels and short stories, so that’s what is on this list.  I’d love to talk about what you read this year, so please chime in here or on the Twitterz! :)

13. The Complete Sherlock Holmes (Heirloom Collection) by Arthur Conan Doyle, Classic Detective Fiction

12.  Wolf Hall: A Novel by Hilary Mantel, Historical Fiction

11. Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel, Graphic Memoir

10.  The Codex Alera series by Jim Butcher (technically 6 books, but we’ll let it slide!), Epic Fantasy

9.  Cinder (Lunar Chronicles) by Marissa Meyer, Dystopian YA Science Fiction

8.  Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor, Literary Science Fiction

7.  A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly, YA Historical Fiction

6.  The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters, Historical Fiction

5.  The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay: A Novel by Michael Chabon, Sort of Historical Fiction with Comic Books

4.  The Passage by Justin Cronin, Science Fiction

3.  The Last Nude by Ellis Avery, Historical Fiction

2.  Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson, Fantasy/Science Fiction

And finally, the best book I read this year was….

1.  Night Film: A Novel by Marisha Pessl, Literary Mystery/Horror


I will probably read several more books over the winter break, but those will have to be in contention for the 14 best books I read in 2014!

Happy Holidays and Happy Reading! :)

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