Yearly Wrap-up Part 1: Best (and worst) books of 2013

best books 2013

Jamie of The Perpetual Page-Turner is hosting her annual end of year book survey again, and since I had fun doing it in 2012 I figured I’d do it for 2013, too! This time, though, I’ve divided it up into three posts. For easier reading, see?

All wrap-up posts: Part 1 (Books) | Part 2 ( | Part 3 (Goals) | Part 4 (Stats)

Part 1: Reading

1. Best Book You Read In 2013? (If you have to cheat — you can break it down by genre if you want or 2013 release vs. backlist)
Scifi: Shards of Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold, and not just because it started me off down the path of amazingness that is the Vorkosigan saga. I love

Fantasy: Crown of Dalemark by Diana Wynne Jones, although more properly it’s the entire Dalemark quartet. It ruined my life. I can’t even review it, that’s how much I loved it. (I’ll be talking about it for Diana Wynne Jones Month in March though!)

Non-fiction: Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir) by Jenny Lawson

Mystery: The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye. I’m still thinking about how awesome it was months later! I have GOT to get the sequel soon.

Audiobook: The Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera (read by Jay Laga’aia)

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
Makers by Cory Doctorow. Holy crap. It made me swear off CD’s books for life.

Also Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella. Usually I like her fluffier books, but this one was just too ridiculous.

Harry Potter eyeroll gif

3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2013?
Sparks by S.J. Adams. It’s the romance of Pretty in Pink mixed with the charm of Sixteen Candles, starring a lesbian Duckie who goes on a mini-road trip with two people who created their own religion. From the cover and the summary I wasn’t sure I’d like it, but I totally DID. Just goes to show that a book can be more than the sum of its promotional parts!

4. Book you read in 2013 that you recommended to people most in 2013?
Probably an even mix between any Georgette Heyer book, any Dorothy L. sayers book, and any Lois McMaster Bujold book.

5. Best series you discovered in 2013?
The Vorkosigan saga by Lois McMaster Bujold. omg, such a good series. (I have a hunch I’m going to end up rereading most if not all of the books next year.)

I also really liked the Sally Lockhart mysteries by Philip Pullman, though I’ve only read the first book and haven’t yet managed to recreate my lost review.

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2013?
Marie Brennan, Marjane Satrapi, Lois McMaster Bujold, and Courtney Eldridge.

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?
As an eclectic reader I pretty much read everything anyway, but maybe Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi counts as “out of my comfort zone.” Here’s what I said in my review back in May:

I put off reading Persepolis for the longest time because I thought it’d be depressing and I’m a big emotional scaredy-cat. While Persepolis DOES have its darker moments, what I ended up reading wasn’t a story of unrelenting sadness. Instead, there’s humor, lots of love, and a big fat epiphany that I’m a dunderhead.

(Which is almost exactly what I said in my survey last year for this same question, only about Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer! Ha!)

8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2013?
Ghost Time by Courtney Eldridge, for sure, and also any of the Vorkosigan books, really. Emotionally exciting things + physical action (like fight scenes or running from weird FBI agents) = staying way up past my bedtime to keep reading, y’all.

9. Book You Read In 2013 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
Definitely the Dalemark quartet, for Diana Wynne Jones month in March! Also The Black Moth for the Georgette Heyer Month readalong in February.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2013?
Beautiful Music for Ugly Children

11. Most memorable character in 2013?
Actually, Mark Vorkosigan from, you guessed it, the Vorkosigan saga. When he first showed up I hated him, when he showed up again I pitied him as well as hated him, and then by the end I really liked and admired him. He’s not perfect and he’s not heroic in the same way Miles is, but he’s definitely memorable.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2013?
A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki.

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2013?
Crown of Dalemark. See above re:how it ruined my life and I’ll never read another fantasy book as good as that one ugh

Ponyo rain gif

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2013 to finally read?
The later Narnia books (maybe from Prince Caspian onwards), though I still can’t remember if I actually HAVE already read them and thus they are rereads. They all seem so familiar! But I don’t remember reading them before. So frustrating.

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2013?

“I meant,” said Ipslore bitterly, “what is there in this world that truly makes living worthwhile?”

Death thought about it.

CATS, he said eventually. CATS ARE NICE.” ― Terry Pratchett, Sourcery

16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2013?
Longest: March to the Stars (672 pages)
2nd Place: River of Stars (656 pages)

Shortest: Chicken with Plums (84 pages)
2nd Place: Sideways Stories from Wayside School (128 pages)

17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers!
Most recently: that conversation between Lord Peter and Harriet Vane in Have His Carcase in the hotel, sort of near the halfway mark. They’re trying to work out a relationship, and Harriet is stymied by feeling grateful towards Lord Peter for saving her in an earlier book. This upsets him, and then! HE SAYS THINGS AND THEN SHE SAYS THINGS AND OMG nothing much happens but it’s so emotionally perfect and

Conan happy glee gif

I loved it.

18. Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2013 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).
HARRIET VANE AND PETER WIMSEY. ♥ Miles and Mark Vorkosigan’s brotherly relationship is great, too.

19. Favorite Book You Read in 2013 From An Author You’ve Read Previously
Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett. I should read that again soon.

20. Best Book You Read In 2013 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else:
A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan, which I read because of this review at WORD for Teens. (See, people do read reviews!)

21. Genre You Read The Most From in 2013?
My guess was either scifi or fantasy, and the answer is: fantasy! By a huge margin. Guess I didn’t read as much scifi as I thought I did.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2013?
Miles Vorkosigan. And Cordelia Vorkosigan. Actually, all the Vorkosigans.

swoon gif

23. Best 2013 debut you read?
So apparently getting all those books at BEA was pointless, because I only read like three debut 2013 books and only one of them was any good. Poison by Bridget Zinn.

(Sidenote: holy crap do I need to read my BEA books.)

24. Most vivid world/imagery in a book you read in 2013?
A Tale of Time City by Diana Wynne Jones. Weird futuristic time-travel-y city, yay!

25. Book That Was The Most Fun To Read in 2013?
Cotillion by Georgette Heyer. Comedy + romance = fantastic read.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2013?
Crown of Dalemark, that rat bastard.

27. Book You Read in 2013 That You Think Got Overlooked This Year Or When It Came Out?
I’m gonna have to say Ghost Time, if only because almost all the other blog reviews I read for it seemed to be negative. It needs more love!

Part 2: Blogging will be up tomorrow!

*Graphic at the top of the post is from The Perpetual Page-Turner.

11 thoughts on “Yearly Wrap-up Part 1: Best (and worst) books of 2013”

  1. I haven’t heard of the Vorkosigan Saga but looked it up on Goodreads and it sounds really good. What is your recommendation for reading order? On Goodreads there is a publication order and then a chronological order which is recommended by the author. Where to start with this series? I’m so confused!

    1. I would definitely go with chronological order if possible. It makes things less confusing!

      That said, the order I read them in doesn’t quite match the Goodreads list– I read the omnibus versions, which has them mostly in chronological order but skipped over Falling Free for some reason. So my first book was Shards of Honor! I think that’s a good place to start, since it introduces two of the main characters and sets up the rest of the family saga sort of thing that’s in most of the other books.

  2. Oh that scene in the hotel in Have His Carcase. I feel so sorry for them both. But the sad feelings that scene gives me are ultimately balanced out by how happy it makes me when Harriet buys the claret-colored dress because Peter says she would look good in claret. Hooray! Baby steps.

  3. I read 1 Vorkosigan book, loved it, and then life got in the way. I am only now getting back to the series! My goal for 2014 is to read as much of the series as possible, but we will see how that goes…

    1. You totally do need more DWJ! I sincerely recommend the Chrestomanci series as it’s my very best favorite, but the Dalemark Quartet is my next favorite and just as worth a read.

  4. I *still* need to read Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, even though it’s been sitting on my shelf for, oh, over a year and a half. Maybe in 2014! *fingers crossed*

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