Thursday, December 19, 2013

My favorite books of 2013

Every year I try and compile a "favorites" list of books that I have read throughout the year. Some of these books were not published this year it just happened that 2013 was the year I got around to reading them. I have included my review of the book instead of the book blurb in most cases. Enjoy!

#1 Ready Player One (2011) by Ernest Cline

Adult/Young Adult crossover, Science Fiction
Thanks Ernest Cline for making me act like your main character, Wade. I did not want to leave my room or intereact with real people until I had finished your book. I don't even know where to start. I felt connected right away because of the references to 80s pop culture and the author's obvious love for all things GEEK. I found this futuristic world so interesting and so plausible it was a little frightening. I loved this book! All of you should read it. Now!

#2 The Composer is Dead (2009) by Lemony Snicket

Picture book, humor, music
** spoiler alert ** This picture book/audiobook/musical recording was amazing! I don't read a lot of picture books and I have not read anything by Lemony Snicket but after hearing  an interview with Lemony Snicket on Fresh Air I knew that reading something by him was inevitable. I laughed out loud with the humorous undertones as an investigator goes through an entire orchestra, questioning whether they have killed the nameless composer. Clever, witty and dramatic you must read and listen to this book no matter whether you like picture books or not, whether you know about orchestras or not. A few of my favorite lines are "This is called decomposing" and "Violins are the stars of any orchestra". Actually, just reading about the violin section brought back fond memories of playing 2nd violin throughout my school years. Don't miss the informative quote about second violins, apparently we are a lot of fun at parties. Other memorable quotes include "Everyone forgets about us, said the Violas bitterly" and of course "...the Conductor! You've been murdering composers for years!" Ok, I won't quote any more. The music is great and all of the profiles of each orchestra section ring true. I'm being a bit evangelical about this book so please, read it for you and if you happen to have kids read it for them too!

#3 The Fault in our Stars (2012) by John Green

Young Adult, Abe nominee 2014, Realistic Fiction
Hazel is 16 and has terminal cancer. She knows she will die one day and it will be sooner rather than later but for now she is alive.  She is part of a teen cancer support group where she meets Augustus. His cancer is in remission and he is gorgeous. They become fast friends and grow closer as the book goes on but love and life is not easy when you are ill. There are funny moments and incredibly sad moments.  A very quotable and memorable book. And yes, it will be a movie next year. I dare you not to cry when reading this book.

The rest are unnumbered:

Winter of the World (2012) The Century Trilogy #2 by Ken Follett 

Adult, historical fiction
The second book in a planned trilogy, spanning a century, is just as good as the first. I love the historical context(WWII), I love the characters, I love that this author can create so many authentic characters. Even though I haven't read the first book in a couple years I was able to remember most of what happened before and how all the characters are related. One of my favorites! I also highly recommend Pillars of the Earth by Follett. Amazing read!

The Shining (1977) by Stephen King

Adult, Horror
My review is really long and can be found here:

The River of no Return (2013) by Bee Ridgeway

Adult, historical fiction, fantasy…multiple genres
Goodreads plot synopsis: “You are now a member of the Guild. There is no return.” Two hundred years after he was about to die on a Napoleonic battlefield, Nick Falcott, soldier and aristocrat, wakes up in a hospital bed in modern London. The Guild, an entity that controls time travel, showers him with life's advantages. But Nick yearns for home and for one brown-eyed girl, lost now down the centuries. Then the Guild asks him to break its own rule. It needs Nick to go back to 1815 to fight the Guild’s enemies and to find something called the Talisman.
My comment: This has everything I like in a book; history, time-travel, mystery, romance.I love it!

The Golem and the Jinni (2013) by Helene Wecker

Adult, historical fiction, magical realism
The review is from an earlier post. It can be found here:

Seraphina (2012) by Rachel Hartman

Young Adult, fantasy
I LOVED this book! I really liked the main character. She was interesting, layered and not perfect but also not annoying! I liked the idea of dragons in this book. It was original and different. The ending did not leave you hanging but it was not completely resolved either. I just thought it was a great book and got angry every time I had to put it down or was interrupted. 

Honorable mentions: 

I do not have a personal review that I have written about these books but I did read them this year and they have stuck with me, in a good way!

Young Adult, Realistic fiction, 4 stars

Young Adult, Magical historical realism  ( I do not think that is a genre but it describes the book well). 
4 stars 

Adult, Nonfiction, 3.5 stars

Young Adult, Narrative Nonfiction, awesome! 4 stars

Young Adult, a story told in pictures, letters and other graphics. Very original and interesting. Read while listening to Chopsticks (unknown composer) and Bright White Jackets by April Smith. 4 stars.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my god I NEED to get my hands on that Lemony Snicket book! Orchestral playing is what I do and all the quotes you used already seem applicable to my every day life haha. And I've read Lemony Snicket aka Daniel Handler before and have enjoyed everything I've read by him so far!

    Surprisingly, I've not read ANY of these books, although some of them I have been meaning to (TFIOS, Century Trilogy, Chopsticks etc.) and some of them look awesome and I now need to check them out (all the rest of them. Except Stephen King because he scares the begeezus out of me and I enjoy not giving myself nightmares).