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Best reads - 2013

Discussion in 'General Book Discussion' started by Peder, Dec 5, 2013.

  1. Peder

    Peder Well-Known Member

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    Best Reads - 2013
    It's that time of year! Any genre, any year of publication.
    The few books that stand above all the others when you think back on 2013.
    The best-of-the-best. Create your own genres as needed.

    Literary Fiction
    New Finnish Grammar by Diego Marani. The utterly lost man seeks notice.
    The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa. Forgetful math professor.
    Ravelstein by Saul Bellow. Rambling, interesting fictional biography.
    Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler. Allegorical novel of the horrors of Stalin's Show Trials.

    Short Story
    The Lost Decade by F. Scott Fitzgerald (short story). Excellent.
    Brief Loves That Live Forever by Andrei Makine. Vignettes of Soviet life, vividly done.
    Akhnilo (short story) from Dusk and Other Stories by James Salter. Prize-winning stories.

    Espionage
    Asset by Jonathan Orvin. Excellent espionage story.

    Sci-fi
    World War Z by Max Brooks. The World-Wide Zombie War. Fabulous!

    Scholarly for lay reader.
    The Cambridge Guide to Thomas Pynchon. Excellent. Informative. Clearly written.
    General Relativity from A to B by Robert Geroch. Fabulous! Just Fabulous!.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2013
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  2. pontalba

    pontalba Well-Known Member

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    Currently Reading:
    dithering...
    I like the idea of best of genre, as opposed to best of the year. The latter is entirely too limiting! :D

    Have to think.....
     
  3. pontalba

    pontalba Well-Known Member

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    Best of Historical Fiction would be the wildly popular (for once with much reason).
    Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel. Oliver Cromwell, humanized beautifully.

    The Kingmaker's Daughter by Philippa Gregory. The story of Anne Neville, daughter of Richard Neville. She was married to King Richard III. Part of Gregory's series on the War of the Roses, and as far as I am concerned, the best.

    Best of Non-Fiction

    Destiny of the Republic by Candice Millard. The story of the assassination of President James Garfield.
    Blood Will Tell (A Medical Explanation of the Tyranny of Henry VIII) by Kyra Cornelius Kramer.
    Her Majesty's Spymaster by Stephen Budiansky. It is the story of Sir Francis Walsingham, you could call him the Father of Modern Spycraft.

    Best of Literary Fiction

    Dangerous Liaisions by Choderlos De Laclos.
    The Summer Guest by Justin Cronin.....yes, that Justin Cronin of the vampire (going to be) trilogy. This guy can write a wonderfully moving tale of love, sacrifice and redemption. Just lovely.
    Invisible by Paul Auster.
    Travels in the Scriptorium by Paul Auster. Twisted. :)
    A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams. I know, it's a play but fits the genre, IMO. Starkly intense, fantastic.
    House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III. It is realistic, and so artfully and intensely accomplished...heartbreaking.

    Best Science Fiction/Fantasy

    Replay by Ken Grimwood. How many lives does it take, with a twist.
    The Rook by Daniel O'Malley. Innovative.
    The Inverted World by Christopher Priest. It's all perspective.
    World War Z by Max Brooks. I've not been a fan of zombie books, but this, told in newspaper reporting style was terrific!

    Best Spy/Espionage

    Death Will Have Your Eyes by James Sallis. It is very different.
    Asset by Jonathan Orvin. A journey.

    Best New (for me) Author

    Ellen Ullman.
    I've read two of her books, so far.

    By Blood and
    Close to the Machine: Technopilia and it's Discontents.

    She is a computer geek's Geek, and can tell a wonderful story beautifully.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2013
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  4. Meadow337

    Meadow337 Former Moderator

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    There have been lots of books I have read this year that I have thoroughly enjoyed and wouldn't hesitate to recommend but I have to say that hands down the best books I have read this year were:

    When The Emperor Was Divine - Julie Otsuka
    The Buddha in the Attic - Julie Otsuka


    The Harmony Silk Factory - Tash Aw
    Map of the Invisible World - Tash Aw


    The Garden of Evening Mists - Tan Twan Eng
    The Gift Of Rain - Tan Twan Eng

    Each of these books deeply impacted me emotionally which is just about the highest praise I can give a book.
     
  5. Peder

    Peder Well-Known Member

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    Wonderful, wonderful, Pontalba, Meadow! Many more great books for TBR 2014 lists. :D
    Who else? What else?
    All bests gratefully received.
    :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2013
  6. Landslide

    Landslide Well-Known Member

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    Currently Reading:
    Yeah, for sure
    I still plan on reading a lot this month, but these were my favorites so far:

    Best of Literary Fiction
    Blindness, by José Saramago
    Jesus Cristo Bebia Cerveja, by Afonso Cruz (not yet translated to English; translates to Jesus Christ Drank Beer)

    Best of Historical Fiction
    The House of the Spirits, by Isabel Allende (it was a reread for me)
    The Forgotten Garden, by Kate Morton
    The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
    Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon

    Best of Mystery/Thriller/Crime Fiction
    Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn
    Edge of Black, by J.T. Ellison

    Best of Fantasy
    What's a Witch to Do?, by Jennifer Harlow

    Best of Romance
    It Happened One Autumn, by Lisa Kleypas

    Best of Non Fiction
    The World without us, by Alan Weisman
     
  7. Peder

    Peder Well-Known Member

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    Love that best non-fiction, Landslide! Somehow it missed all my TBR's. But not again. :D
    Thanks.
     
  8. Peder

    Peder Well-Known Member

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    Bump for everyone: Perhaps you've read the best book of all year in the past two weeks. :)
    Now's a good time to list it.
    Last chance coming, on Dec 31.
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2013
  9. Peder

    Peder Well-Known Member

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    OK! End-of-the-year time! :eek:

    Surely more than just four of us have read memorable books in 2013 -- this being a book and READER forum.

    Just 'fess up. :D There won't be no more bumps and last chances before this thread slowly sinks below the waves.

    Happy 2014 to all!

    Peder
     
  10. Meadow337

    Meadow337 Former Moderator

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    yeah discussing actual books seems to sort of not be happening all that much on the forum at the moment, which is kind of why we are all here.

    Come guys! Book forum! Books! Discuss!
     
  11. Meadow337

    Meadow337 Former Moderator

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    And don't be intimidated by all the books we list - I have at other points in my life been profoundly moved by not very literary books - the impact has more to do with the place you are in, and your experiences than the literary qualities of a book. Although of course if it is also well written then that is a bonus.

    I remember having a total A-ha moment in a rather forgettable little fantasy book - so forgettable I have forgotten it, but that year I read that paragraph in that book it would have topped my 'best book of the year' list.

    So come on share .... what was your best book of the year?
     
  12. ChaosTheory

    ChaosTheory Active Member

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    Currently Reading:
    the writing on the wall
    My favorite non-fiction (and favorite book of the year): The Disaster Artist by Greg Sestero
    favorite mystery/thriller: Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl. (I still need to read Night Film.)

    Other genres? Not sure, I'll have to think about it some more...
     
  13. Meadow337

    Meadow337 Former Moderator

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    Special Topics in Calamity Physics sounds interesting. Just one question - is it more adult or more YA with a teenage protagonist?
     
  14. ChaosTheory

    ChaosTheory Active Member

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    That's a good question....the heroine is a teenager but I would say it's more adult, though it's not overly graphic or anything; the writing style is a little heavy with a lot of literary/historical references. It doesn't seem to have been written for a YA audience.
     
  15. Meadow337

    Meadow337 Former Moderator

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    cool thanks!
     
  16. Peder

    Peder Well-Known Member

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    Yay! Many thanks, Chaos Theory. I have often wondered about Special Topics in Calamity Physics, it's such an unusual title. Your comments have helped clarify the matter, especially that it was one of your favorites for the year. Good enough for me. :D
     
  17. ChaosTheory

    ChaosTheory Active Member

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    Currently Reading:
    the writing on the wall
    It moves a little slowly but I really enjoyed it :)

    Best horror - House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski and Mr. X by Peter Straub
    Best historical fiction - Emperor: The Gates of Rome by Conn Iggulden and The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty
    Best literary fiction - Midnight Champagne by A. Manette Ansay

    My reading list this year was pretty random, I didn't get to much that was actually published this year. Oh well..
     
  18. shadforth

    shadforth Member

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    Currently Reading:
    The Yellow Birds by Kevin Peters
    General Fiction The Well And The Mine by Gin Phillips/Under The Same Stars by Tim Lott/Daylight Saving by Edward
    Hogan/Wilderness by Lance Weller/The Broken Cedar by Martin Malone/Little Wolves by Thomas Maltman.
    Crime The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith
    Thriller Red Winter by Dan Smith
    Fantasy Winter by William Horwood
    Sci-Fi Raft by Stephen Baxter/The Infinite Sea by Jeffrey A Carver
    Historical The Bleeding Land by Giles Kristian/Harvest by Jim Crace/Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
    Historical Action Odin's Wolves by Giles Kristian/The Burning Land by Bernard Cornwell/Shieldwall by Justin Hill.
    Historical Crime Martyr by Rory Clements/The Devil's Ribbon by D.E.Meredith
    Ghost Story/Horror The Ritual by Adam Neville/Duplex by Michael James McFarland
    Kindle In The Time Of Famine by Michael Grant
     
  19. Peder

    Peder Well-Known Member

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    Way to go, Shadforth! An excellent collection -- never heard of any of them :D A wonderful feature of this BAR book forum.
    Many thanks for taking the time to share.

    P.S. But my wife has heard of many of your titles and authors and also says they are great. :D
     
  20. shadforth

    shadforth Member

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    Currently Reading:
    The Yellow Birds by Kevin Peters
     

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