Monday, December 30, 2013

2013, A Fabulous Year for Literature!

The book is dead! The book is dead! Like Chicken Little's falling sky, doomsayers seem to think that the book is going the way of the dinosaur. I think that all you readers out there will agree that "it ain't necessarily so." Even though more news organizations are dropping their book pages and literary book reviewing is giving way to blogs and amateur analysis, reading is going great guns.

There have been scads of "best books" lists in print over the past few weeks and there are plenty of titles on those lists that are on my radar and that I hope to get to, books like the hefty Goldfinch and Luminaries. Still, I managed to burn through 107 books this year, not all released in 2013, so you can imagine that trying to name my ten favorites is like pulling teeth. Perhaps if I separated the non-fiction I could give a more accurate description of the wealth of books that knocked me out this year, some of which I've written about in this blog and others in Library Journal.

The following is a stab at a list of books that spoke to me this year for the quality of the writing, the poignancy of the subject matter, or the sheer audacity of the imaginative spirit of the creator.

1. Billy Lynn's Long Half-Time Walk by Ben Fountain (

2. Just Kids by Patti Smith (

3. The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert (

4. My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor (

5. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche

6. Joseph Anton by Salman Rushdie (

7. The Dinner by Herman Koch (

8. Five Days at Memorial by Sheri Fink (

9. Dust by Yvonne Owuor (

10. How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny (

There were so many more that deserve mention, Alice McDermott's deceptively simple Someone, Ishmael Beah's devastating The Radiance of Tomorrow, JoJo Moyes' lovely Me Before You and Ivy Pachoda's debut Visitation Street come to mind, not to mention the education I received on Florida's shameful history from reading the Pulitzer Prize winner Devil in the Grove.

Thank you all so much for reading this year. I'm looking forward to 2014 and getting a handle on some of the classics that are sitting on my bookshelves awaiting my perusal. I also want to tackle some of those big, fat multi-volume tomes that I've been saving for my retirement. Who knew the days would flash by so quickly? I'll also keep you up to date on the new, new literature sent to me by Library Journal for review.

Let's keep the conversation going. Please let me know what you're loving and hating, whether you think I'm all wet on an evaluation or whether you agree wholeheartedly. I want to hear from you!


Lesa said...

Louise Penny! It's the only book I've read on your list, although I recognize most of the titles. It's fun to go back and look at the last year' sera dings, isn't it, Sally?

Sallyb said...

Hi Lesa, Yes it is. I know from reading you that Louise Penny is one of your all time faves. I thought this last one was the best of all. And that's saying something!

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