There were a ton of books I wanted to read this year, but I couldn’t get to them all. Here’s my five favorites of those I enjoyed (in no particular order).
1. The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson — “Lennie plays second clarinet in the school orchestra and has always happily been second fiddle to her charismatic older sister, Bailey. Then Bailey dies suddenly, and Lennie is left at sea without her anchor. Overcome by emotion, Lennie soon finds herself torn between two boys: Bailey’s boyfriend, Toby, and Joe, the charming and musically gifted new boy in town. While Toby can’t see her without seeing Bailey and Joe sees her only for herself, each offers Lennie something she desperately needs. But ultimately, it’s up to Lennie to find her own way toward what she really needs-without Bailey.”
2. Wonder by R.J. Palacio — “August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He’s about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you’ve ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie’s just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, despite appearances?”
3. And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini – “…a new novel about how we love, how we take care of one another, and how the choices we make resonate through generations. In this tale revolving around not just parents and children but brothers and sisters, cousins and caretakers, Hosseini explores the many ways in which families nurture, wound, betray, honor, and sacrifice for one another; and how often we are surprised by the actions of those closest to us, at the times that matter most. Following its characters and the ramifications of their lives and choices and loves around the globe—from Kabul to Paris to San Francisco to the Greek island of Tinos—the story expands gradually outward, becoming more emotionally complex and powerful with each turning page.”
4. Fire and Ash by Jonathan Maberry (the fourth and final book in the Rot & Ruin series) — “Benny Imura and his friends have found the jet and Sanctuary—but neither is what they expected. Instead of a refuge, Sanctuary is a hospice, and the soldiers who flew the plane seem to be little more than bureaucrats who have given up hope for humanity’s future. With Chong hovering between life and death, clinging to his humanity by a thread, Benny makes a startling discovery: A scientist may have discovered a cure for the zombie plague. Desperate to save Chong, Benny and his friends mount a search and rescue mission. But they’re not the only ones on the hunt. The reapers are after the cure too, and they want to use it turn all the zombies into superfast shock troops—and wipe humanity off the face of the earth.”
5. 11/22/63 by Stephen King — “Dallas, 11/22/63: Three shots ring out. President John F. Kennedy is dead. Life can turn on a dime—or stumble into the extraordinary, as it does for Jake Epping, a high school English teacher in a Maine town. While grading essays by his GED students, Jake reads a gruesome, enthralling piece penned by janitor Harry Dunning: fifty years ago, Harry somehow survived his father’s sledgehammer slaughter of his entire family. Jake is blown away . . . but an even more bizarre secret comes to light when Jake’s friend Al, owner of the local diner, enlists Jake to take over the mission that has become his obsession—to prevent the Kennedy assassination. How? By stepping through a portal in the diner’s storeroom, and into the era of Ike and Elvis, of big American cars, sock hops, and cigarette smoke. . . . Finding himself in warmhearted Jodie, Texas, Jake begins a new life. But all turns in the road lead to a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald. The course of history is about to be rewritten . . . and become heart-stoppingly suspenseful.”
What books did you read in 2013 that hit your favorite list?
Hi, Janice, I liked 11/22/63 as well. And the Mountains Echoed is on my to read list. Here’s my top five: Benediction by Kent Haruf, Little Century by Anna Keesey, Elsewhere by Richard Russo, The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman and The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton. Happy reading and writing in 2014!
Thanks for sharing your favorites Linda – I haven’t read any of those, so I’ll have to check them out. Happy reading and writing to you too!
Thanks for the list, Janice. I haven’t read any of them, but the plots sound intriguing. Happy New Year.
Happy New Year to you too Jeanne!
Yes, #1 and #2 are on my list too in that order! When did you have time to read the King novel? I am impressed, Janice. A non-fiction book I read in 2013 that had an impact on me was Twyla Tharp’s The Creative Habit – for all creatives and non-creative folk as well.
I read the 11/22/63 last spring some time. It was long but worth the time. And the Twyla Tharp book is fantastic – I read it years ago but should give it another read soon.