Best Books of 2013 (so far)

These are not all books published in 2013 (that’ll be another list, I guess?), just my personal favorite reads of 2013 so far. So!

Cordelia's Honor 1. Barrayar by Lois McMaster Bujold
What I thought:

The sci-fi in this book is more perpendicular to the main story than it was in Shards of Honor; Barrayar reminds me more than anything of those classic books where people duked it out for the succession of some kingdom and there’s a lot of conspiracies and spies and stuff. And fighting! So if you like more action than romance, you’re set. (But the romance is SO NICE! Yes.)

The Raven Boys 2. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
What I thought:

The writing! It reminds me a bit of a John Green’s writing, only with less lyricalness. There’s humor! I wasn’t expecting there to be funny bits. The balance between spooky and non-spooky is practically perfect. There’s really interesting stuff about class, money, how people perceive each other based on what they THINK is true, etc. Stuff about friendships and obsessions and death! The raven boys are SUCH PERFECT teenagers, albeit more enthralling than real life teenagers tend to be. And the plot is very exciting!

Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

3. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson
What I thought:

I don’t think I’ve laughed this much while reading a book since the first time I read one of David Sedaris’s books. It’s got that same sort of absurd, situational humor that comes from living with weird people. JL’s father, for example, spends most of the book terrorizing his children with dead animal puppets and whatnot. Out of context: scary! In context, through the lens of JL’s writing: hilarious! (And a bit scary.)

Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett 4. Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett
What I thought:

Also like Equal Rites, Monstrous Regiment is about overturning the conventions of a society fairly thuroughly. Women? In the ARMY? Oh no! etc. Polly’s country is pretty terrible, and that’s mostly because their god is insane. Everything’s an abomination, nobody’s happy, and to get anything done you practically HAVE to stick a pair of strategically placed socks in your pants.

But it’s really not a story about a gung-ho soldier lady! I mean, that’s PART of the story, but it’s also about friendship and family and wanting to do right even in the face of a crazy god and the people who follow him.

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki5. A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki
What I thought:

It’s not just a diary about a teenage girl in Japan writing about her Zen Buddhist great-grandmother. It’s also not just about fictional!Ruth Ozeki and her life on a remote Canadian island. It’s about both of those things, and the interaction between them, and the interaction between US as readers and the book we’re reading. It’s got quantum thingies and Zen thingies and lots of meta and history woven throughout. It’s mind-blowing! Almost Inception-y, by the end, only literary and amazing.

The Thin Man6. The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett
What I thought:

For all that The Thin Man was written in 1933, it still feels like a pretty modern book. Partly that’s because of the short, sharp sentences and partly it’s because it’s just a COOL book. If this book were a person it’d be a hep cat smoking a cig in the corner of a gin joint (or something).

Magic or Not? 7. Magic or Not? by Edward Eager
What I thought:

My favorite part about Magic or Not? is that you really CAN’T tell if there’s actually any magic in it. Is it a fantasy book, or is it something else? Magical realism, if that’s what it IS, is still an unusual thing to find in modern children’s books. A 1950′s kids book with magical realism elements is unusual, and that just makes me love it more.

Year of the Griffin8. Year of the Griffin by Diana Wynne Jones
What I thought:

The best thing about Year of the Griffin is how each individual character gets their own little spotlight, and how they get to grow just a little bit as people (and as characters). The entire freshman class is full of interesting characters– there’s a prince and a rebel dwarf and a griffin of course, and a runaway pirate’s daughter and a thief and LOTS more. And they’ll all somewhat tragic and/or have problems that need fixing!

What are your favorite books of this year (so far)?

4 thoughts on “Best Books of 2013 (so far)”

  1. I LOVE Terry Pratchett! Do you like Neil Gaiman too? I’m going to his signing in San Francisco next week. Where in Cali are you? I loved The Raven Boys. Were you able to snag a copy at BEA?

    1. I do like Neil Gaiman! I haven’t read his new book yet but it’s on my TBR list.

      I’m in Anaheim. It’s so nice to meet another Cali blogger– I’m sorry we missed each other at BEA, btw!

      And yes, I did manage to get a copy of The Dream Thieves at BEA! Pretty randomly, actually, because I didn’t even know they were doing a drop until someone happened to mention it to another person who I was standing in line with. And then we all went together! I got some REALLY good books through “just happened to be there” moments, actually. 😀

  2. I’ve read a bunch of awesome books this year! A Tale for the Time Being was one of my favorites of this year, and I also read Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s new book, Americanah, which was really great. And oo, Binny for Short came out and that was wonderful, and Laini Taylor’s books were wonderful — man. There are a lot of things. I have read a bunch of amazing books this year. Way to go 2013.

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