Best Books of 2013: Just in Time for Thanksgivukah!

I am feeling conflicted.  It’s only mid-November and I am posting a “Best of 2013” reading list.  I feel like this is almost wrong–like seeing Christmas decorations in the stores before Thanksgiving!  However, it’s an unusual holiday season this year with Hanukkah coinciding with our annual turkey day celebration–an event, according to the Mail Online, that last occurred in 1888 and won’t occur again for another 79,000 years!  Wow!  I can see why their headline read “Happy Thanksgivukah!”–this is something to celebrate!

And while we’re at it, let’s celebrate some wonderful books that have been written, read, and discussed in 2013.  I will be posting more titles and “Best of 2013” lists throughout the coming weeks and into the new year, but for now, here’s the first.  It’s from Publisher’s Weekly, and you can click here to find out more about each of these intriguing titles.

Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2013
Seas of Hooks by Lindsay Hill
Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief by Lawrence Wright
Dirty Wars: The World is a Battlefield by Jeremy Scahill
Men We Reaped: A Memoir by Jesmyn Ward
The People in the Trees by Hanya Yanagihara
Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery by Robert Kolker
Miss Anne in Harlem: The White Women of the Black Renaissance by Carla Kaplan
A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra
The Silence and the Roar by Nihad Sirees, translated by Max Weiss
The Good Lord Bird by James McBride

Wow!  What a list–we are spoiled for choice.  Something for every reader on your holiday list!

Happy 2013! Best Books of 2012!

Happy 2013!!!

It has been a busy, busy holiday season!  Hence, I am a little late in posting the best books of 2012.  Below you’ll find my take on my favorite ten 2012 reads as well as some links to “Best Books” lists I have found elsewhere.

So, I have enjoyed the following ten books:

Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel. The second in a trilogy, this novel won Mantel her second Booker award.  Yes, the first was for Wolf Hall.  No, you don’t have to read WH to “get” BUTB, and the latter is much more accessible, easier to read.  Henry the 8th, Anne Boleyn, palace intrigue…what’s not to love?  This book is scooping up all the major prizes, by the way.  More importantly, it is Literary Masters selection for May. 🙂

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter.  Funny, poignant, multi-layered.  This wonderful novel will make you laugh out loud and cry into your tissues.  Best of all, it just may make you be a little more forgiving of people around you.  And of yourself.  It has landed on many “Best Books” lists; in fact, it was one of the NY Times‘ Notable Books of 2012.  But not until after it was Literary Masters’ selection for September 2012!

The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham.  No, it wasn’t published last year, but I read it in 2012 because it was Literary Masters’ selection for October.  By far the most popular book across all my Literary Masters book groups and salons, this little novel has it all.  If I awarded stars, I would give it five!  Much, much better than the movie.  Here’s my original post on it.

What Happened to Sophie Wilder? by Christopher Beha.  I loved this book.  I found it while trolling some other blogs–I can’t remember who to thank for this recommendation–but I couldn’t put it down and I look forward to more from this author.  A very literary yet readable novel, a love story, a deeply thought-provoking book.

West With the Night by Beryl Markham.  Another oldie but goodie that I read last year.  Here’s my original post on it:

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach.  This was Literary Masters’ May 2012 selection, and just about everyone loved it.  Some of us were even inspired to read (or re-read) Moby Dick.  If you haven’t read TAOF yet, you are in for a treat. 

Gillespie and I by Jane Harris.  I have Reading Matters, a blog I follow, to thank for this one.  Hard to get into at first, but then you can’t put it down.  A psychological thriller, set in Victorian times.  My niece read it and came away with a totally different interpretation than I did.  I love it!

Coral Glynn by Peter Cameron.  I couldn’t stop thinking about this slim novel after I read it.  Here’s my original post.

Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates.  Another classic.  One of the best books I read in 2012, and probably one of the best books I’ve ever read.  Here’s my original post.

In the Country of Men by Hisham Matar.  Yes, another Literary Masters 2012 selection.  Here’s my original post.

Once you’ve read all of the above, here are some other lists to consult:

From the NY Times, a list of ten–click here.

From The Huffington Post, a longer list–click here.

From the Guardian, a really long list–click here.

From Trevor over at The Mookse and the Gripes, another blog I follow, click here.  Thanks, Trevor!

And from Kevin over at Kevin from Canada, click here.  Thanks, Kevin!

I could sit here all day and do this, but my other duties call!  Here’s wishing you and yours a wonderful 2013–read a book, join a book group, talk about it with others, and as E.M. Forster so aptly put it: only connect!