So after a not so great 2012 reading year, 2013 proved to be awesome. I read 86 books this year and a record number of 29735 pages (thanks goodreads). I am really proud of this number considering school and my college applications have been hell. I hope next year turns out to be even better and I’ll try to read less YA. Anyways here is the list of my top 13 books of 2013.
1. Les Misérables: I’ve wanted to read this book for years and I actually managed to do it this time around. It took me a month (yikes) to get through it. I absolutely adore it, the characters are really complex and the ethical dilemmas presented in the story are very thought provoking. Up to this day I still find myself pondering over the story.
2. The Night Circus: I just read this book and I am mesmerized by its beauty. The imagery that the author manages to create is absolutely stunning. The writing is amazing and I love the story plot. The characters are extremely charming and worth rooting for.
3. The Book Thief: I’d had this book sitting on my shelf for 3 years but tumblr got me to finally read it; thank god for that. I love the characters in the book so much, especially Rudy. The narrative of the story is one of the most clever ones I’ve read. I recommend this book to anyone anywhere, I get to see the movie next week so yay!!
4. Paper Towns: I got to read this beauty over the summer and I am obsessed with it. Margo reminds me of a girl I know and reading this book helped me understand my friend and what’s she’s going through a little better. I love the first part of the book with all the pranks and the road trip.
5. Eleanor and Park: I remember the exact day when I read this book. I could not put it down. I loved that Rainbow Rowell challenged every stereotype and created original, complex characters worth remembering. Even though the ending broke my heart, I still love it and think it fits the story perfectly.
6. Catcher in the Rye: I know not everyone likes this book but I adored it. The book gains so much meaning once you learn Salinger’s story; it is awing.
7. Anna and the French Kiss: This is my favorite romantic novel ever. This story taught me so much about love and friendships. I laughed and cried throughout the book, I fell in love with Etienne. I love how Stephanie writes, the atmosphere of her books, the characters she creates and how strongly she manages to convey emotions.
8. Clockwork Princess: I’d shied away from the shadowhunter universe but I got back into it this year. I am really glad I read this book. I believe it is one of the best conclusions to a series ever. The book is hearbreaking and joyful. The ending fit the story and pleased fans; it was perfect. It was also great seeing how much Cassie’s writing style has improved. I have high hopes for CoHF.
9. Unravel Me: This book is everything. I love Tahereh’s writing so much, it is odd to find someone who writes so poetically and beautiful. I love the struggle between good and evil. I love seeing Juliette turn into a stronger person and the struggle between using or not her powers.I love seeing the differences between Juliette with Adam and Juliette with Warner.
10. Spirit Bound: This was the book that made me fall in love with the VA series. I loved the twists and turns. I think Rose is one of the most original protagonists in YA series. You know that whole screw writing strong women thing? Rose is what authors should aspire to create in terms of female protagonists.
11. Champion: I am obsessed with the Legend trilogy. The writing is very captivating. I love the complexity of the series. Plus can we thank Marie Lu for writing about the rest of the world and not just the US.
12. Daughter of Smoke and Bone: I don’t read that much paranormal anymore but boy did I love this book. The universe in this series is unbelievable. I love the complexity of both the story and character. I adore the way it is narrated and the settings.
13. My Life Next Door: This book was amazing. I love the character and the relationships. It is deeper than it appears to be. Every character in the story is well developed, it is resolved beautifully and it stays with you long after the last page is turned.
Top 13 Books I've Read In 2013 (In No Particular Order)
Earlier this year I told myself that I would be more picky in choosing which books to read. I was only partly successful. Because this year, I’ve read close to forty percent of all the books I’ve read in my whole life. That’s a lot, I tell you. My goal was to read at least one book per week and I’ve successfully accomplished that and then some. This is what I’ve realized:
Read. It doesn’t matter what it is. Because you’re either a pro-reader or you’re not. And if you complain about things like a character being whiny or crass or dull, or some other things you consider “flaws,” know that someone’s got to write these stories. Someone’s got to write about the good-natured, clumsy girl. Someone’s got to write about the headstrong, independent woman. About the boy who is lonely and cruel. Or the swoony guy next door with a dysfunctional family. All of them could be whiny or stubborn or both. And it shouldn’t matter. Because fictional characters are representations of real people. Therefore, they should be flawed. And books, like people, are different. Don’t expect them to be wonderful right from the beginning. Take your time. It is our job as readers to give these stories a chance. It is the only way we can give back to the brilliant, brilliant writers who poured their hearts into making them. Besides, you never know which ones will disappoint you, move you, break you, make you think, or make you want to hurl the book at someone – you’ll never know these feelings unless you start reading and make it to the end. And we can only say we are fully human when we allow ourselves to experience all these feelings. Don’t be afraid.
This reminds me of the Doctor’s love for the human race and how he thinks we’re giants and, of course, this makes me emotional. But I digress. (I just had to put a Doctor Who reference.)
Either quality equals quantity when it comes to books or it’s completely irrelevant. Read what intrigues you. You can be picky and still read a lot. This is the only way we can discover which books we love and which ones we hate. We define ourselves by the words we keep close to our hearts and the words we’d rather forget. You never lose by reading. You build yourself and you win. You always win.
Read, read, and read.
Below is my Top 13 Books of 2013. For the record, these are only the top 13 books I’m willing to share. I also have another list of books I want to keep to myself. That’s not to say the ones I’ve included here aren’t personal. All of them are personal. But some things are best kept secret.
(All images were taken from Goodreads.)
Blankets by Craig Thompson
I think this is the only graphic novel I’ve read this year, but it turned out to be very significant. I read it at a time when I was questioning my own faith and religion, and I connected with the protagonist in a way that felt like his journey was also my journey.
Love & Misadventure by Lang Leav
I don’t have much to say about this poetry book except that it is simple, uncomplicated, and deeply relatable. If love can be captured into words, this is it.
The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
This book reinforced my belief that characterization is more important than plot. And that is saying a lot. Because the plot of this book is unlike any other dystopian books out there and the character development blew me away. I also want a Liam.
Wonder by R.J. Palacio
If you want to feel better about the world, this book is for you. I am constantly surprised by how powerful middle grade books can be. I came out of this book crying happy tears.
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
This book is so atmospheric. When I was reading it I felt like I was there, running through the fields, feeling the wind, smelling the sea, sitting by the cliffs, and fighting my way through my first Scorpio Race. The story is unhurried and there is a certain quietness to it that hit me to my core.
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
Wow. A few chapters in and I couldn’t put it down. The best thing about Patrick Ness is that he transcends genres. I’m having a hard time putting into words my feelings for this book but there are some scenes here that I will think about for the rest of my life. I’ve been so fortunate to discover Patrick Ness and his works this year and I think he’s actually my spirit author.
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
This is one of those books that I want to keep a secret but feel like not many people know about it, and I want more people to read it. I mean, clearly, historical fiction is not for everyone, but this book is so much more than that. I rarely encounter female friendship this powerful in books and I found it to be both unsentimental and emotional. I know it makes no sense but god, this book keeps haunting me. I could cry just thinking about it. Sometimes I think that there is nothing more beautiful than best friendship and I live for these stories.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
The beauty of this book is in the way it just is. The story involves some kind of wizardry, yes, but it doesn’t feel the need to tell you its origin and how supernatural things keep happening. It simply is. And it’s so refreshing. Neil Gaiman’s talent is something you can’t deny.
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
This is also one of those books that I want to keep to myself, but unlike Code Name Verity, this one became so popular that I had to come out of some closet just because it was bothering me so much. It felt like other people reading my diary. I really tried not to tell anyone about it, but you cannot bottle greatness and hide it away. This book is so personal to me and one of the books to which I will keep coming back. I will read anything this woman writes.
Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson
This is the only contemporary YA that really stuck with me this year. The way all the characters develop throughout the story is very satisfying and heart-warming I couldn’t help but give Morgan Matson a slow clap. Yes, I was clapping through my tears. (For the record, I don’t consider Eleanor and Park contemporary. I think it’s historical fiction, sci-fi, sometimes fantasy, coming-of-age, romance, young adult, and non-fiction rolled into one and you can’t make me change my mind.)
The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
You either love this book or hate it. I love it. Rick Yancey’s writing is very distinct and unlike any other YA voices that I’ve read. I judge a book more by its beginning (than anything else really) and this book got me hooked right from the start. The story reminded me of The Walking Dead combined with The Hunger Games. But it’s also very special on its own.
The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach
Okay, this book is long. But when I got to the last page I realized I didn’t want it to end. There were a lot of feelings involved and I was positively surprised by how much I loved it, considering it was my first sports fiction. This book means so much to me and, like The Book Thief, I finished it with nothing but love for all the characters. Chad Harbach, you are skilled. I exhort you!
The Realm of Possibility by David Levithan
This has become my go-to book. I bring it everywhere. I personally think this is David Levithan’s finest work to date.
So there you have it! I’m very fortunate to have read so many personal and memorable books this year and I’m so excited for what 2014 has in store. A quote I love goes, “A good book is an event in my life.” So thank you, authors, you’ve made my 2013 rather eventful and one I will remember fondly.