Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The Books of 2013

Unfortunately, I read a lot faster than I review and between work and school, I don't get to talk about all the books I read this year. So, here's all 55-some books I read this past year with links for those I reviewed, and for those I didn't, a rating and maybe a sentence or two.


Swamplandia! by Karen Russell - 4/5

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs - 2/5 YA

Stay Awake by Dan Chaon - 3.5/5

Maverick Jetpants in the City of Quality by Bill Peters - 3/5

The Cranes Dance by Meg Howrey - 3.5/5


The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry - 3/5

The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling - 4.5/5*

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan - 2/5

If You Were Here by Jen Lancaster - 1.5/5

Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea - 3/5
While the writing wasn't the greatest, it was cute, upbeat, and overall enjoyable. I also had some nice insight into the story as I was able to see the author give a talk on it. 


Kind of Kin by Rilla Askew - 3.5/5 

The Middlesteins by Jami Attenberg - 4/5*

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki - 5/5* 

City of Dark Magic by Magnus Flyte - 2.5/5

The Best of Youth by Michael Dahlie - 3/5

Laika by Nick Abadzis - 4/5 YA/GN


Summer of the Mariposas by Guadalupe Garcia McCall - 3/5 YA

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card - 4.5/5 YA*

The Year of the Beasts by Cecil Castellucci & Nate Powell - 3.5/5 YA/GN*

Tenth of December by George Saunders -4/5*

The Road by Cormac McCarthy - 4.5/5
The sparse prose truly conveys the bleak, desolate setting. 


How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia by  Mohsin Hamid - 3/5
A rare example of the second-person book done right. Interesting in how vague and yet still specific it manages to be. 

Pastoralia by George Saunders - 4/5*
There really isn't anything I can say about George Saunders any more that won't sound like gushing. 

The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick - 4/5*
I have to say it, it was better than the movie. 

The War at Ellsmere by Faith Erin Hicks - 3/5 YA/GN (not included in final tally)
Zombies Calling by Faith Erin Hicks - 3/5 YA/GN (not included in final tally)

The Obsidian Blade by Pete Hautman - 2/5 YA


CivilWarLand in Bad Decline by George Saunders - 4/5*
Probably my favorite of Saunders' collections--at least containing my favorite short story, the eponymous CivilWarLand in Bad Decline.

After Dark by Haruki Murakami - 3.5/5*
Interesting read, though the ending left a bit to be desired. 

Dreams & Shadows by C. Robert Cargill - 2.5/5 

The Teleportation Accident by Ned Beauman - 3.5/5
Delightfully a dark sort of way, if not slow-moving at first. The main character was surprisingly endearing.


Blankets by Craig Thompson - 3.5 YA/GN

Twilight of the Superheroes by Debora Eisenberg - 3.5/5

Vampires in the Lemon Grove by Karen Russell - 3.5/5


Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstock - 3.5/5
A really unique concept. 

The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith - 3/5
Well-written, though mystery has never really been my thing. Not sure I completely bought the culprit.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman - 2.5/5

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley - 3/5

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton - 5/5 YA*
Now why couldn't we have read this in high school instead of Catcher in the Rye? 

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness - 4/5 YA*
Excellent look at childhood loss and letting go, along with some brilliant illustrations. 


Proxy by Alex London -  3/5 YA
A young adult dystopia where the main character is gay AND not-White! 

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie - 4/5 YA*

Inexcusable by Chris Lynch - 3/5 YA

The First Part Last by Angela Johnson - 3.5/5 YA

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey - 4/5


The Hive by Gill Hornby - 3/5
Cute and funny. 

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky - 4/5 YA

The 9/11 Report by Sid Jacobson - 3/5 YA

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon - 2.5/5
Creative world-building and well-written, though plot left some to be desired.

Incarceron by Catherine Fisher - 2/5 YA
Interesting world-building, though ultimately tedious. 

The Body of Christopher Creed by Carol Plum-Ucci - 3/5 YA


The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame - 4/5 J*
October Mourning by Leslea Newman - 3.5/5 YA

Luna by Julie Ann Peters - 4/5 YA

Stoner and Spaz by Ron Koertge - 3/5 YA

The Fields by Kevin Maher - 3.5/5

Winter Town by Stephen Emond - 2.5/5 YA
Would have been better as a completely graphic novel, as the prose was awkward in places. Story could have been better fleshed out. 

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys - 4/5 YA
If you must read a book about shades of gray, let it be this one about the forcible relocation of Lithuanians by the Soviet Union. 


The River of No Return by Bee Ridgeway - 3.5/5
The plot bits were interesting, the romance bits tedious--but hey, maybe it's just me. 

Boxers and Saints by Gene Luen Yang - 4.5/5* YA/GN 
Heartbreaking look at the Boxer Rebellion from two different point of views. I'd say definitely read Boxers first. 

Money Boy by Paul Yee - 3/5 YA
Interesting, though the writing style was a little hard to get into and the story felt somewhat abrupt.

Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh - 4/5*
Simply hilarious. 

The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien - 5/5*
There's nothing I can say about this book that hasn't already said.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid (Vol 1-8) by Jeff Kinney - 3/5 (not included in final tally)
It's just too funny. 

The Rehearsal by Elizabeth Catton - 4/5
A little confusing and slow moving at times, but very well written.

* - highly recommend
YA - Young adult
GN- Graphic Novel
J - Children's

Stay tuned for the FANCIEST BOOK of 2013!