Here is every book I read in 2013 and my thoughts on them. Meant as reviews not as a brag. Presented in favorite to least favorite order.
1. The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbaugh
Loved this book. Really hard to describe, but I loved the writing and it had great characters and unlike a lot of the books it reminded me of, it ended well.
2. Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart
Loved this book. Takes place in a scary but believable future and had a main character I really related to. There is one scene where a bunch of old friends hang out that describes the sad aspects of male friendships better than almost anything I’ve read/seen.
3. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Great book, super fun read. If you were planning on reading but hadn’t got to it, do it. Before the movie comes out!
4. The Fault In Our Stars by John Green
This kicked off my YA reading mini-binge. Loved it.
5. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
This is a YA book about love. Never thought I’d be reading so many of these, but this one is really enjoyable. There is some Hollywood-ish stuff about the relationship that I didn’t mind when I was reading, but bug me now.
6. The Night Gardener by George Pelecanos
Great detective fiction. Read as part of my Read Everyone who Wrote on The Wire checklist. The best of that checklist.
7. The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp
They made an okay movie about this. The book is better (duh), but its a fun YA book about an alcoholic ultra-extravert (i.e. the kind of character you see in movies a lot but don’t see in books much).
8. Old Mans War by John Scalizi
Good book. Sci-fi book about old people who fight outer space wars in young bodies. Fun, but it doesn’t really end and apparently the sequels aren’t popular.
9. Swamplandia by Karen Russell
This was in a lot of 2012 Best Of lists. I see why because its a real fun read. Like Jonathan Lethem, etc where its literary-lite. Not genre-y so its “literary” but not at all dense with themes and such.
10. True Believers by Kurt Andersen
Fun novel by the host of Studio 360 on NPR. Probably will never think about it again, but I liked it while reading it.
11. Foundation by Isaac Asimov
Read this when I was young and re-read it. When people complain about the Star Wars prequels like Patton Oswalts bit about how its a movie about senate procedure, its because Asimov made it look easy. Its kind of amazing to read heady Sci-Fi thats not about characters at all but still works. That said every story works the same and you get a little sick of the twist endings.
12. The Whores Child by Richard Russo
Love Richard Russo, so I enjoyed it, but its not as good as his novels.
13. Mystic River by Dennis Lahane
Sad book. Real good, but if you’ve seen the movie you don’t need to read. Kindle Daily Deals and completing my ‘Read one book by all writers of The Wire’ checklist lead me to it.
14. The Loved One by Evelyn Waugh
Fun book, but pretty slight. Its a farce about an English writer in Hollywood.
15. The Blind Side by Michael Lewis
Michael Lewis is the most readable non-fiction author, his books are so much fun. This one is no exception and very different from the lame ass movie about it.
16. A Sport and A Pastime by James Salter
This is a sexy novel. I admired it but didn’t enjoy it, but then went to a book club where I found that nobody shared any of the opinions I had of it (even if they liked it too).
17. Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
Kind of a slice of life about a lady. Lots of loose threads, but in a realistic way. Took me forever to read because of the time shifts made it lose narrative drive. However, thats more a personal opinion, I think this book is better than many of the ones above it, I just enjoyed it less.
18. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
Re-read my old favorite book after watching the (not good at all) movie. Still enjoyed it and it was much better now that I had help visualizing the game they play.
19. Look at Me by Jennifer Egan
Okay book that I read because I loved A Visit From the Goon Squad so much. Good but not memorable.
20. Double Down by Mark Halperin & John Heilemann
Book about the 2012 election. Nowhere near as good as Game Change by the same people. Super insider-y which is the point. Both its best and worst quality.
21. The Optimists Daugher by Eudora Welty
Don’t remember much about this book. It was well-written but it didn’t speak to me. About a Southern lady whose father dies going back to her hometown.
22. Quiet: The Power of Introverts by Susan Cain
Therapist made me read it. Not a fun read but lots of useful info if you are an introvert.
23. The Mormon Regional Singles Halloween Dance by Elna Baker
Read it because of my book club. HATED IT and her as a result. She does good stories on This American Life. Don’t read this or you will find yourself not enjoying those either.
I tried and didn’t finish (even though I liked them): Keynes/Hayek, The Blind Assassin, The Year of Magical Thinking
I tried and put down because I hated: Fooling Houdini & Bleeding Edge