The Year in Books – 2013

December 31, 2013

Every year, I like to keep track of what I read. I used to just jot it down in a spiral notebook, then I 1557522_10202304540750770_392068234_nhad a database in excel for a while. Now I keep track at Goodreads. At the end of the year, I like to reflect back on what I read. Now that my children are getting older, I invite them to play along with me as well.

I’ll list the categories here and later this evening I’ll try and come back and fill in some books.

Best History: 
Farewell to Manzanar I have read a lot of books about the Holocaust and the concentration camps in Germany, but though I’d heard of the Japanese internment camps in America, I hadn’t really learned much about them. This was a beautifully written book about one families experience in those camps during World War II.

Best Parenting/Homeschooling:
Book Love: Help Your Child Grow from Reluctant to Enthusiastic Reader 1st Edition I admit, this is also the only parenting/homeschooling book I read this year. A nice book about how to get your child to learn to love reading.

Best Non-Fiction:
Book Crush: For Kids and Teens -Recommended Reading for Every Mood, Moment, and Interest I’m a sucker for a booklist – and this is a book is full of great recommendations! And there really is something for everyone in here. 

Best New-to-You Author: 
Joe Hill – did you know Stephen King’s son was a writer? Because I didn’t! I’ve been a King fan for years, and this year I discovered his son writes too – and he’s got a quirky, sick style of writing, much like his father.

Best New Book in a Series:
Dead Ever After: A Sookie Stackhouse Novel  Well, it’s the only new book in a series I read this year. The Sookie Stackhouse series is my guilty pleasure reading – and I was glad to see it end this year. It tied up all the loose strings pretty nicely and was a fun beach read while I was on vacation this past summer.

Book That Made You Laugh Out Loud:

Book That Made You Cry:
The Devil’s Arithmetic  I’ve read this book several times, and it never fails to make me sob uncontrollably. It’s just such a good, moving story, and Jane Yolen is a brilliant writer.

Best Series:
Harry Potter Paperback Box Set (Books 1-7) 2013 will be remembered as the Year of Harry Potter in our household. My 11 year old twins had been wanting to know what all that Harry Potter stuff their big sister loved so much was all about. So, I read each book aloud, and followed up with the movie version. It was a great year, and I’m sad to see our time at Hogwarts end. I’m looking forward to when my youngest (now 4) is old enough to start the journey into the wizarding world.

Best Plot Twist:
I’m going to go with Horns: A Novel by Joe Hill, just because there were so many plot twists – I started to get a bit dizzy!

Best Historical Fiction:
The Book Thief – this is a gorgeous book. Narrated by Death, it’s a bit quirky, but entirely appropriate, since it’s set in Nazi Germany. The story is at times charming, heartbreaking, and beautiful beyond words.

Best Fantasy/Sci-Fi:
The Dunk and Egg stories by George R.R. Martin. As I anxiously await the 6th book in the Song of Ice and Fire series, I stumbled upon the short stories about Ser Duncan the Tall and his squire Egg. These are really fun, set about 100 years before the events of Game of Thrones. My only complaint is that they are so short! I wish there were more!

Best Childrens’/YA Book:
Angel on the Square Gloria Whelan is a brilliant writer – she pulls you right into the story of pre-Revolution Russia.

Best Read Aloud:
I asked my children and they voted for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Book 7) as their favorite read aloud this year. I think I have to agree with them.

Worst Read of the Year:
Uglies (The Uglies) I disliked it so much I couldn’t even finish it. I was so disappointed because based on the summary on the back of the book, this was right in my wheelhouse of sci/fi dystopian lit. Unfortunately, it suffered from flat, unsympathetic characters and an overly predictable plot. About halfway through I realized that I really didn’t care what happened.

Best Read of the Year:
I read a lot of great books this year, but when I look over my list, I’m going to have to choose Life of Pi as my best read. It started a little slow, but once the story started moving I was completely riveted. I have a feeling this will be one of those books I re-read and discover new nuggets of beauty and profundity each time. It’s the story of a shipwrecked boy and his survival, but it’s so much more than that. There are layers beyond layers of beauty and depth.


So what books did you enjoy this year? Feel free to use this list – or even add your own categories!   Share your list in the comments section or link to your blog.

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