I read a lot of great books in 2013, and these are the best of the best. Please note: these were the best books I read in 2013, not the best books published.
Organization is not my strong suit, so I’ve jumbled fiction and nonfiction together. I used Goodreads to track my 2013 reads, but it’s quite possible I forgot something. (I’m still kicking myself for leaving Rules of Civility off my favorite books of 2012 list.)
That being said, my favorites from 2013, in order, are:
1. Crossing to Safety, Wallace Stegner
2. Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes, Shauna Niequist
This beautiful memoir is about food, and so much more than food. I loved it enough that I included it in my summer reading guide, and am already plotting to re-read it. (The ebook is on sale for $2.99 right now, along with a slew of other great books from Thomas Nelson/Zondervan, including Niequist’s previous release Bittersweet.)
3. Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead, Brené Brown
File this one under “game-changer.” This wonderfully written book is books-that-can-change-your-life material, and worth reading over and over again.
4. The Secret Keeper, Kate Morton
I’m finally caught up on all of Kate Morton’s novels. This one is my favorite.
5. The Little Book of Talent: 52 Tips for Improving Your Skills, Daniel Coyle
I spent 2013 geeking out on the concept of deliberate practice, and this short little book is dense with wisdom on the subject. This book sat on my to-read stack for the better part of a year before I opened it, and I’m still kicking myself for not reading it sooner.
6. Eleanor & Park, Rainbow Rowell
I fell hard for this short novel of young love, lost. The storyline is good but a few deft Shakespeare references elevate it to greatness. Rainbow Rowell’s hinted at a sequel in interviews, and I hope she means it.
7. The Getaway Car: A Practical Memoir About Writing and Life, Ann Patchett
In this mini-memoir, Patchett sketches a path from childhood through the completion of her ﬁrst novel, The Patron Saint of Liars. Stops along the way include her college years, a failed marriage, the Iowa writing program, and a waitressing stint at TGIFriday’s. I loved this one enough to include it in the summer reading guide.
8. When We Were on Fire: A Memoir of Consuming Faith, Tangled Love, and Starting Over, Addie Zierman
Addie’s gift is to make you feel the emotional weight of the seemingly no-big-deal yet simultaneously life-altering events common to Christian adolescence and young adulthood. A brilliant debut. (I wrote more about When We Were on Fire here.)
9. Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, Sheryl Sandberg
I’m sure you’ve heard all about it by now, so I’ll just say: this one’s a game-changer. (I wrote more about Lean In here.)
Let’s share our favorite books of 2013
On Friday, January 3, we’re going to have a Best Books of 2013 link-up here on MMD. If you have a blog, get your post ready! If you’re not a blogger, get ready to share your favorite books of the year in comments.