Ever since I began blogging about books, I admired everyone else’s year-end stats reports and annual round-ups before finally managing a Favorite Reads of 2012 list last year. I also started keeping detailed reading stats (titles, authors, page counts, etc.) last January 1, but only kept it up for a few weeks before forgetting all about it for too long to go back and catch up.
I did keep an ongoing list of favorite books and audiobooks throughout 2013, so here it is, posting just under the wire. Links will go to my review if I wrote one, either here on the blog or on LibraryThing (baystateRA). These books weren’t all published in 2013; they’re just the ones that really wowed me this year and that I want to push on the most people to read. (The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud wowed me in a literary sense, but I know she wouldn’t want me to choose her novel as a favorite, anyway.)
#1The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer (Riverhead, 2013)
A sprawling novel about Jules, a teenaged girl from New Jersey, and group of friends from the city she meets at summer arts camp (She’s on scholarship.) and heads to New York City to try for a life more like theirs.
#2 The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (Little Brown, 2013)
Another sprawling NYC (but also other places, like Las Vegas) novel that spans years, this time the life of a traumatized and bereaved teenage boy who has a visceral attraction to the small masterpiece painting called The Goldfinch when he sees it hanging at the Frick.
#3 Big Brother by Lionel Shriver (Harper, 2013)
The power of family takes center stage here, when 40-year-old Pandora’s really big brother Fletcher needs to stay with her, and she finds out how much literal space, as well as psychic space, he takes up in her small, carefully assembled nuclear family.
#4 A Thousand Pardons by Jonathan Dee (Random House, 2013)
A truly spectacular marriage break-up, complete with public scandal, starts off this sharply observed, very funny but ultimately humane, contemporary New York novel.
#5 The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout (Random House, 2013)
A thought-provoking novel also with a New York City connection, but about dealing with an incident in small-town Maine where one of the Burgess brothers’ nephews throws a pig’s head into a mosque.
#6 The Mermaid of Brooklyn by Amy Shearn (Touchstone, 2013)
Yet another New York novel, this one explores the highs and lows of parenthood as well as the friendships that spring up among parents who happen to live in the same neighborhoods and visit the same parks.
#7 The Supremes at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat by Edward Kelsey Moore (Knopf, 2013)
I somehow never reviewed this warm-hearted novel of the ups and downs of a long-running friendship between a trio of women in small-town Indiana here, cemented by their regular meet-ups at the local diner, Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat, but maybe I still will.
#8 The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. by Adelle Waldman (Henry Holt, 2013)
This wickedly fun debut novel explores the world of male-female relationships in the context of the contemporary Brooklyn literary/publishing scene with all its perils and pitfalls.
#9 The Last Summer of the Camperdowns by Elizabeth Kelly (W.W. Norton: Liveright, 2013)
Another one that I loved so much I never wrote my review for the blog. This novel, set on Cape Cod, was even more darkly funny than her first, Apologize! Apologize!, which was set on Martha’s Vineyard.
#10 Wish You Were Here by Stewart O’Nan (Grove, 2002)
An elegiac novel about the passing of an era, when an extended family gathers at their aging Lake Chautauqua house for a vacation week at the end of the summer, preparing the old lake house to be sold, after the patriarch of the family has died.
See my list of favorite audiobooks from 2013 here.