My Favourite Reads of 2013

  • Thursday, January 02, 2014

I welcome the new year yet look back on the past year with some sentimentality.

It's been a great reading year, as I say in my previous post. I've read a fantastic lot of books ... thanks to fellow book lovers/bloggers for their reviews and recommendations, to publishers and authors who pitch their books to me ... and to serendipity (because really, sometimes, I just have a gut feel about certain books)!

In no particular order, here are some of the books I enjoyed in 2013.

(I've reviewed majority of them, but there may be that odd one that I haven't so don't be too surprised if the link leads to a Friday 56 post!)

Oh, and let me know if you've read any of them, as I'd love to compare notes :)


  • Some Else's Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson (romance): An atypical romance for those who gag (me) at typical romances.
  • Countdown City (The Last Policeman II) by Ben H. Winters (sc-fi): 74 days left for the asteroid to hit the earth, and Hank is still being the policeman! The anticipated second book in the trilogy, it exceeded my expectations! 
  • The Death of Bees by Lisa O-Donnell (dark comedy): Weirded me out that I liked it so much. 
  • Ru by Kim Thuy (essays based on true events of a Vietnamese immigrant to Canada): Stark, stripped, unsentimental writing. An immigrant story that hits really hard.
  • The Round House by Louise Erdrich (Native American lit): Hard-hitting. This book's story about the desecration of what is considered sacred in life and in the Native American culture is such a powerful read.
  • An Abundance of Katherines by John Green (young adult): Intensely smart, witty, and funny young adult lit.
  • The Tragedy of Fidel Castro by Joao Cerqueira (satire, alternate reality): Definitely out of my comfort zone, but so funny it felt good. A satire of the Cuban missile crisis.
  • Persephone's Torch: A Novel in Three Acts by freder (historical fiction): An homage to theatre and theatre professionals, this book is deliciously atmospheric. 
  • This is Paradise: Stories by Kristiana Kahakuwila (short stories): I had an affinity to the cultural context of these short stories about the gritty side of Hawaii. Loved every single story! A debut novel.
  • A Vision of Angels by Timothy Jay Smith (crime/suspense): An intense read, this humanizes and highlights the futility of war as depicted in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The author was a journalist who covered this area and he really breathes life into his characters. 
  • Loteria by Mario Alberto Zambrano (novel, but more like a novelette): A short quick read which has Mexican Loteria cards being revealed as the page turns, and slowly piecing together the tragic pieces of 11-year-old Luz. Yet another great debut novel!
  • The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro (historical fiction): A story that draws upon the powerful memories that scent triggers. Set in both the 1920s and the 1950s, this is about the mystery of identity. Intriguing and sensual. 

  • The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (mythology): A re-imagining of Homer's Iliad, this s a look into the life of Achilles and his friendship with Patroclus ... amidst wars, and the bickerings of gods and goddesses. Inventive, engaging, and makes mythology so damn sexy!
  • The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga (satire): Balram Halwai is "The White Tiger, a Thinking Man and an Entrepreneur," who in his autobiography announces he is a murderer. Apparently that's what it takes to move up in a corrupt India!


  • Mountainfit by Meera Sethi Lee: Essays ruminating about life and the sheer wonder of being out and interacting with the natural world. 
  • This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett: Essays about life, love and commitment. Funny, insightful, and oh-so-accessible.
  • However Long the Night by Amy Molloy: A biography about a woman and a group that put a stop to female genital mutilation in Africa. Amazing stuff. 
  • Pain, Parties, Work: Sylvia Plath in New York, Summer 1953 by Elizabeth Winder: A magazine-like compilation of Sylvia Plath as a young woman, pre-suicidal. Compelled me to read Plath's The Bell Jar. Such a provoking read!


Special mention

Uno Kudo Volume 2: Naked: I wasn't sure how to classify this book but it is unlike anything I have ever seen! It is the product of an art collective and draws in the best of art -- poetry, photography, essays, graphic art -- to explore nakedness. It is all around gorgeous! 

Well, that's it for this round-up! Happy New Year! Have a wonderful reading year ahead!


  1. Uno Kudo looks awesome - on my wish list now :)

    I've read The Song of Achilles - loved it. A very well done piece of work!

  2. Looks like you read some fantastic books in 2013. I haven't read any of them- but I have heard of some of them. :) I am most curious about The Death of Bees. Sounds interesting! An Abundance of Katherines is one I will have to pick up. :)

    Happy New Year!

  3. Happy New Year! Great list :) I haven't read any of these titles but I certainly have The Song of Achilles and The Perfume Collector on my want-to-read list :)

  4. I have only read The Death of Bees. All the books look amazing, though. THANKS for sharing.

    ENJOY your 2014 reads.

    Silver's Reviews
    My Spread The Love Post

  5. The Death of Bees, The Perfume Collector . . . soooo good! Song of Achilles??? A favorite of mine!

    Thanks for linking up to the Spread the Love Linky Party!!! I pinned this, too! :D

  6. Such an array of choices! Most of them appeal to me! I especially want to read the book about Plath. I am reading the Bell Jar again and marveling at her prose....

    1. It is quite the spread :) Feel really lucky to have discovered many of these through tours and recommendations. I hope you enjoy the Plath book -- very insightful!


© guiltless readingMaira Gall