Top Ten Reads of 2013

Happy New Year! Well, almost. I think it is kind of fitting to end the year with a list of my favourite books of the year. This was hard, because books are awesome, and ratings often arbitrary. I read 79 books this year – and it’s not humble-brag or anything; I know that many people read way more than that, but it is still quite a lot to choose just ten from. My attempt, nonetheless:fireworks

1. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell – this might be one of the purest romances I have ever read. I loved the characters who were s0 perfect in their fallibility.

2. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein – I was skeptical about this book, but decided to take the plunge when I got it at a huge discount. What a fantastic friendship in this book, and one of the most unique WWII books I have ever read (yes, I just superlated unique).

3. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot – I read a lot of non-fiction, but few are as informative and simultaneously easy-to-read as this one. It was also one of the only non-fictions ever to make me cry. I loved this one so much that after reading it at the library, I went out to buy my own copy.

4. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood – picked up a seriously weathered copy at the SAS library, and learned how it got so weathered. It must have been the most-read book in that library. Fantastic dystopian-feminist writing. The first non-YA dystopian I’ve ever read, I believe.

5. The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker – Jewish and old Syrian folklore combined, along with a fantastic historic setting. I adored this book.

6. In the Shadow of the Banyan by Vaddey Ratner – do you know how many banyan trees you see when traveling Asia? Loads and loads. That little fact, the many banyans I rested under in those hot months traveling, made me feel a little closer to this book. It feels bad to name such a horror story a favourite book. I learned so much about Cambodia in the book, and it is fabulously written. But it really is such a sad story.

7. Railsea by China Mieville – this was like nothing I had ever read before. It challenged my imagination, my understanding, my vocabulary; it forced me to let go of conventional reading. It felt like a ride on an old rickety roller-coaster, and I loved it.


8. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman – two non-fiction titles on the list? Absolutely. This book was haunting. I learned more than just medicine in this one – I learned about culture and sociology and the truth of being a change-agent.

9. The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes – there was some gratuitous violence in this one, but it is worth reading the authors explanation of why she did not shy away from it. Possibly one of the most thrilling books I have read, ever.

10.Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly – WHY CAN I ONLY CHOOSE TENNNNN. I’ve read a few books about the French Revolution and was worried this would be just another run-of-the-mill book. It wasn’t. I loved it all.


  1. Deb Nance says:

    Thanks for sharing your favorites. It’s nice to see that you read widely.

    Here’s my Best of 2013!

    1. Thank you – I want to read more widely (and feel more cultured, ha, ha), but I am quite happy with what I’ve read so far.

  2. I think I am going to have to jump on the Rowell bandwagon soon now. It’s showing up everywhere! Also, I must explore Margaret Atwood. Great list!

    1. Two very different authors, but I’d definitely suggest giving them both a try. I was skeptical about Rowell but I don’t regret reading her for one second. Hope you will enjoy them!

  3. elena says:

    Code Name Verity was my jam last year! SO GOOD.

    1. Absolutely! I want to recommend it to so many people!

  4. It’s so hard to pick just ten titles, lol. Thanks for sharing these, definitely need to bump a few of these titles up my list next year (The Handmaid’s Tale, The Golem and the Jinni) xD Happy New Year! 🙂

    1. Yes, and YES! Both of those deserve bumping. Happy New Year to you, too!

    1. I’m pretty sure I first heard of The Handmaid’s Tale on your blog, actually 🙂 so thanks for the recommendation!

  5. I adore your list because it’s making my reading list fatter! Railsea had a really imaginative World – I don’t know how Mieville manages to always come up with such unique Wrolds. And I have no idea why I haven’t read Code Name Verity yet – and Atwood – I need to get to those stat!

    1. I’m glad you like it! Code Name Verity and Atwood are both excellent. I think you would enjoy them, given the bit that I know of your reading tastes and personality 🙂 let me know if you read them and what you think of them!

  6. finlaygwynne says:

    I totally agree with what you wrote about “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks”. Very interesting book. And I’ve always wanted to read “The Handmaid’s Tale”, maybe I should try soon…
    Good list!

    1. I’m glad you agree! The Handmaid’s Tale is so worth it. I was scared of reading it because it is so acclaimed, but I did not regret it for one second. Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Maggie says:

    Great list! I read several of those books this year: Eleanor & Park, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, and Handmaid’s Tale (a re-read, but apparently I remembered absolutely nothing from when I read it in high school.) I’ll have to check out a few of your other books. Happy new year!

    1. Thank you! I hope you’d like the other books on the list 🙂

  8. Shoshanah says:

    It looks like you’ve read some awesome books this year! I haven’t red any of these, but there’s several, Eleanor & Park, Code Name Verity Henrietta Lacks, and The Golem and the Jinni, that I’ve been wanting to read for a while now. But this actually made me really curious about In the Shadow of the Banyan, I haven’t heard of it before, but I’m really curious about it now.

    1. Thanks! I hope you will read and enjoy Banyan. It’s a good book. But quite sad.

  9. Leigh says:

    Thanks for your suggestions – look forward to getting my hands on these

  10. katherine says:

    Always good to read your posts some great books that have inspired me over years as I want to work for the Royal Flying Doctor Service one day some include Nurses with Altitude, Great Australian Flying Doctor stories all 3 books from it, legend of the Kimberley. Others include Great Australian shearing stories, Great Australian ute stories ( I think that what it’s called) I hope that these help with some interesting reading.

    1. I’ve never heard of the Flying Doctor Service. I’ll look into those books – thank you!

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s