Saturday, January 4, 2014

My favorite books of 2013

I read fewer books in 2013 than I have read in many years.  My new crochet hobby took up more time than I thought!  However, I easily found 10 favorites for 2013.

1.  My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor
I found Justice Sotomayor's autobiography enlightening and inspiring.  What a childhood she had and what incredible experiences as an adult. 

2.  Criminal by Karin Slaughter.  I discovered Karin Slaughter through this book, which was featured in the Book Page Daily email I get from our library.  I then went back and read all of her books.  The protagonist of this book is a Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent named Will Trent.  He first appears in her book Triptych, and I would highly recommend reading the whole series (Triptych, Fractured, Undone, Criminal, and Broken).

3.  Beyond Cold Blood by Larry Welch.  This book, while non-fiction, follows nicely after Criminal.  Welch is the former director of the Kansas Bureau of Investigations and he highlights the role of the KBI in some of the biggest crimes in the state of Kansas.  Absolutely fascinating!

4. The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton.  I just love Morton's books!  Mystery and history wrapped together.  For fifty years, Laurel Nicolson has kept a secret from her family - while hiding in a tree during a family picnic, she saw her mother commit a terrible crime.  Now, as the family gathers to celebrate their mother's 90th birthday, Laurel is determined to find the truth.

5. Love Anthony by Lisa Genova
This book contains two intertwined stories, one of which I found wanting but the other which truly touched my heart.  Olivia's son, Anthony, was diagnosed with autism at age three.  Following his death, she seeks to understand the meaning of Anthony's short life.  Author Lisa Genova is a PhD neuroscientist, and her fiction focuses on disorders of the brain.  Her first, Still Alice, was a favorite of mine in 2009.

6. The Distance Between Us by Reyna Grande.  This was our first CASA book club selection of 2013 and a great way to start the year - for once, a book without a depressing ending!  Reyna Grande and her two siblings were left behind in Mexico while their father sought work in America.  Reyna details their live in Mexico (poverty beyond anything we can imagine in America), their attempts to cross the border and find their father, and their life in America once they do find him.

7. Joyland by Stephen King.  This is King at his best.  Novellas have always been his strong suit (The Body, which became the movie Stand By Me, and Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redepmption to name a couple).  I also read and enjoyed his Dr. Sleep this year, but not as much as I enjoyed Joyland.

8. Astor Place Vintage by Stephanie Lehmann.  One of the few books of historical fiction I found this year.  Amanda Rosenbloom owns a vintage clothing store.  She discovers a journal written by Olive Westcott in 1907 sewn into the lining of a muff she purchased from an older woman.  

9. The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult.  So often I read Picoult's books only to find that I HATE the ending; however, this time it was worth the read.  Sage Singer is a baker who meets a man named Josef Weber in her grief support group.  After developing a relationship, Weber reveals a life-altering secret to Sage.  What will she do with the information he shares?

10.  Inferno by Dan Brown.  While is wasn't as good as The Da Vinci Code, it was the first book I read this year that I couldn't put down.  Read it from cover to cover over a weekend.

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