And now for my final top five list of 2013. Of course I saved the best for last. I made a real effort to read more in 2013 than I have been reading lately, and lucky for me, I pulled that off! So of those 34 books I managed to read in 2013, here are the five that were my favorite.
On Writing, by Stephen King – This automatically gets my number one spot (and the rest are in no particular order). In fact, this was the first book that I read in 2013 and the one that inspired and encouraged me to read as much as I did. Ironically, I have never read another book by Stephen King and I’m not sure if I ever will, but he is now totally my hero. The advice he gives about the craft and practice of writing is second only to the amazing story of his life. It’s so heartening to hear that a writer as accomplished as King has gone through all of the stages of doubt and angst, triumph and frustration that I have gone through myself. This is one of those books that I’m going to have to go back and read again and again whenever I feel the writer doubt sneaking up on me.
The Governess Affair, by Courtney Milan – I think this was probably my favorite fiction book that I read for the first time this year. (I re-read the Hunger Games trilogy, but I’m not counting them in this top five because I’d read them before) Courtney Milan writes exactly the kind of novel that I love. Both her hero and heroine were ordinary people, which you don’t usually see in a historical romance. They were not the upper crust, even though they worked with the upper crust. I found that refreshing.
But what really sold me on this book was the sharp, witty exchanges between the hero and heroine. Those letters they sent to each other when she was sitting out on the bench in front of the duke’s house were to die for! The originality of this story was the other major selling point for me. It wasn’t your same old tired historical romance plot. I loved that!
Welcome to Temptation, by Jennifer Cruisie – Oh my gosh, this may be the funniest thing I read all year! I haven’t read all that much contemporary romance, but books like this are the kind of thing that would get me started. The characters were off-the-charts wacky, but they also managed to be believable. I love the way Jennifer Cruisie kept piling on one outlandish twist of circumstance after another until the whole thing had me rolling with laughter. Not only that, the love scenes were totally steamy! You’ve got to love that!
Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card – I can’t believe I waited this long to read Ender’s Game! I mean, I’ve known about the book for years. Oh boy, was it good! Completely absorbing. I have to confess that I kind of love good sci-fi, and I really love good alternative worlds. But what really made this book awesome to me was the fact that I was so absorbed into Ender and his world that I didn’t see some of the plot twists coming. I probably would have seen them if I had more distance and didn’t care about the characters so much, but nope. I wept bitterly when the truth of what was going on came out at the end. You know a book is awesome when you have to blink in order to read it!
The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak – Okay, maybe this one is cheating a wee little bit because I haven’t technically finished yet. I’ll post my complete book report once I do, but I am loving this book! It’s so moving and real, and at the same time the world of this book is so foreign to me. But one of the most incredible aspects of this book to me is the fact that Zusak breaks all the rules in the way he tells the story. You know, all those rules writers are told about plot structure and narrative style and backstory and not telegraphing the ending and oh so many things. Those rules lay in tatters around each brilliant page of this book! I’m in awe. And I think I’ll probably need Kleenex at some point when I near the end too!
So those are the books of 2013. 34 books overall. Eight 5-star books, two 4.5-star, eight 4-star, one 3.5-star, seven 3-star, three 2-star, one 1-star, and five “Did Not Finish”. And no, I don’t post those ratings when I do my book reports for several reasons. But there you have it.
My goal for 2014? At least 40 books. Here’s to hoping they’re all 4 and 5 stars!
What books did you read this year that really stood out?