Friday, December 27, 2013

My Top Ten Books of 2013…

… and some from 2012and even 2008and some that weren't new in 2013 but I read them in 2013 (or 2012) or thought about them fondly in 2013 and so therefore thus hence am including them on this SEO-friendly list. 

Anyhoo, in no particular order, here are some reads that are well worth your time. (If you so happen to have the exact same taste in books that I do, that is.)

1. A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra
War, love and the reinvention of oneself—all painfully well noticed. Perfection. I gush about this book too much (here and here) so I'll say no more. 

2. The Crooked Maid by Dan Vyleta
A dark, strangely funny, WWII-era page-turner. It’s likely an under-the-radar-novel outside of Canada, so pick this one up, my international friends, and you'll have something "undiscovered" to recommend to that guy you always end up in the sauna with at the gym.

3. Treasure Island!!! by Sara Levine
Oh how I laughed and laughed! You will hate/love the main character and you will marvel at how Levine managed to pull it off.

4. Drunk Mom by Jowita Bydlowska
I normally don’t fall all over myself for non-fiction, but Bydlowska’s memoir left me dumbfounded for weeks after reading it. The tale she tells is brutally honest and scary and illuminating. Plus, the writing knocked my socks off. Say what you will about her actions while in the grip of alcoholism and new motherhoodsome members of the Canadian press certainly didbut Jowita Bydlowska is one of the most exciting up-and-coming writers writing today.

5. How Should a Person Be? by Sheila Heti
Some have argued that this novel is not really a novel. I think they’re just jealous that Heti came up with the idea first.

6. Orkney by Amy Sackville
A must-read for every writer of literary fiction, in my opinion. It will school you hard. 

7. The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner
I don’t care about motorcycles or the New York art scene in the 1970s, but the writing was so good and the characters so well realized that what I don't care about was quickly made irrelevant. Rachel Kushner is one of my new favorites.

8. The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson
I’m half obsessed with North Korea, and the weirdness/horror presented in this brilliant book did not disappoint.

9. Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan
Featuring a spy (who didn't set out to be a spy) and a writer (who has doubts about his ability to write), this is a fun, smart romp that explores two of the things I'm most fascinated with: writing/ego and the practicalities of espionage. 

10. City of Thieves by David Benioff
This novel was published back in 2008 but my love for it still burns as white hot as the night we first met. I don't lend it often because I'd feel deeply hurt if the borrower didn't want to marry City and have its babies like I did. It's on my Must Re-Read List for 2014.