Top 5 Picks of 2013

Happy New Year! I thought I’d start out 2014 by reflecting on my 5 favorite reads from 2013.  I missed doing this post before New Year’s Eve because I was busy celebrating the hell out of Christmas and working.  My rules for this list are as follows:

  • I read the book in 2013 but it could have been published in another year.  I spend a lot of my reading time playing catch up from other publishing years.
  • To avoid repeating myself, my picks are going to be books that I haven’t reviewed yet on the blog.  I realized that a lot of the books I read this year that I was most excited about I read before I started this blog in June.  

Here are my Top 5 picks for 2013….

GoneGirl BeforeIGoToSleep GeeksGuideToDating Room BrainonFire

1. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn- It is the day of Amy and Nick Dunne’s 5th wedding anniversary when Amy suddenly disappears.  This is really all you need to know to begin this book.  It has so many twists and turns that the reader’s trust is constantly misplaced.  Already being filmed as a movie, directed by David Fincher, read this novel before October so nothing is ruined for you.  Because if there is one thing I can predict about this movie, it is that everyone will be talking about how twisted it is. If it’s done correctly, we’ll see about that.

2. Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson- This book was a recommendation to me from my local librarian because I loved Gone Girl. It’s the second book on this list to feature an unreliable narrator, but one you can feel sympathy for. Christine suffers from short term memory loss from a terrible incident.  She can’t remember events from one day to the next, her memory is wiped as she sleeps. One day she wakes up and realizes she has started to seek treatment to help her live her life from day to day. Keeping a journal helps her to relive the past that she doesn’t remember and begins to help her unlock clues about the fateful night that led to her condition.  This book has as many twists as Gone Girl with a protagonist you want to root for.

3. The Geek’s Guide To Dating by Eric Smith- A dating guide for those of steeped in the geek life.  This guide is written for males from a male POV, but I still found it very funny and full of useful information on dating in the 21st century.  I love how Smith breaks down the types of geeks in the world and plots out how they can successfully find love.  The best thing about this book is that it doesn’t mock its audience.  It’s a thoughtful look at dating through the eyes of someone who participates in the culture to whom he is speaking.

4.  Room by Emma Donoghue- 5 year old Jack lives in a room which is, in fact, his whole world. Jack lives their with his Ma, who has called the room her prison after Old Nick kidnapped her 7 years ago.  Narrated by Jack, this book explores the different ways Ma and Jack see Room, which is almost a character instead of a setting.  But Jack is getting to the age where he is starting to question what is beyond Room and Ma is beginning to realize she has to make a choice that will affect both her and Jack’s lives. This book is heart-wrenching.  I’m from Cleveland and finished this story about 2 months before Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight were rescued from the home of Ariel Castro.  It made me look at this book in a whole new light.

5. Brain On Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan- So far this list has featured two novels with unreliable narrators.  This non-fiction memoir and medical supense story features a third.  Susannah Cahalan was a young reporter for The New York Post when she started struggling with a mysterious illness. Her systems range from violent rages to catatonia. She is hospitalized for a month and doesn’t remember any of it.  Brain on Fire is Cahalan’s attempt at understanding her life during that month.  Using her reporter skills, interviews with family, friends and her treatment team, and her own medical records she slowly puts the pieces together.  This year was the year where I read a lot of non-fiction and this was the most riveting memoir I’ve ever read.  It’s terrifying that, if not for one doctor, Cahalan might have just been thrown in a mental institution to live out the rest of her life instead of being treated so that she could live a normal life.

My favorite books that I DID review this year: Red Shirts by John Scalzi, Joyland by Stephen King, Big Egos by S.G. Browne, and Fire & Ash by Jonathan Maberry.

Overall, a pretty good reading year.  To look ahead to 2014, I’m going to publically set some goals for this blog for the year. My 2014 blog resolutions are:

  • To write a review for every book I read. I’ve been pretty lax about that, mainly because I am also doing some job searching as well. Hopefully something comes along so I can devote more mental energy to this blog.
  • Read 45 books this year.  My goal in 2013 was 50 and I fell 9 short.  45 might be a more achievable goal this year.

For now, I think these are simple enough goals. I’m still new to this whole blogging thing.

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