2013 was a great year for books
2013 was a great year for books. Here is a list I made, based on a long list of books purchased this year. I combed through that list, which wasn’t easy, as I bought a LOT of books this year, and pulled out the best.
The Fun Parts, by Sam Lipsyte. Nobody writes a better or funnier sentence than Sam Lipsyte.
The Goldfinch, by Donna Tart. Modern freakin’ masterpiece by a woman who only publishes about once a decade.
Building Stories, by Chris Ware. This is ingenious. Not really a book, but definitely an epic collection of stories and narratives, based around an apartment building in Chicago . In the guise of a board game.
The Good Lord Bird, by James McBride. A novel about a slave boy dressed up as a girl, the abolitionist John Brown, and the power of music. Won the National Book Award for fiction in the U.S.
Tenth of December, by George Saunders. Incredible story collection. If you can’t get with this collection of stories, then there will never be a collection of stories you can read and you are really missing out.
How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, by Moshin Hamid. A novel written in the guise of a how-to book for young Asians.
The Flame Throwers, by Rachel Kushner. A young artist in 1970s New York City and Rome. Motorcycles and art and revolutionary leftist politics.
Vampires in the Lemon Grove, by Karen Russell. An amazing, fantastical story collection featuring vampires, 19th century Japanese sweat-shop workers turning into silkworms, and Gothic homesteaders in Nebraska. Among other things.
Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche. A love story/coming of age story set in Nigeria, England and America and touching on issues of identity, loss, and loneliness.
The Unwinding, by George Packer. A novelistic non-fiction account of the crumbling of America from within.
The Sports Gene, by David Epstein. A fascinating and almost always surprising investigation into the role of genes and environment on sports performance.
The First 20 Minutes, by Gretchen Reynolds. Exercise smarter by utilizing real scientific findings and not the latest fads that the spandex-clad trainers at your gym are all jumping on. Well-written and easy-to-read based on the author’s New York Times blog.
Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief, by Lawrence Wright. A more than fair account of the bizarre world of the Church of Scientology, including an in-depth look at its founder, L. Ron Hubbard.
Men We Reaped, by Jesmyn Ward. Last year she debuted with an award-wimming novel Salvage the Bones. This year she has published a heart-breaking memoir about the men in her life – black men in rural Mississippi, who all died too young. An excellent, beautifully written book.