Thursday, December 5, 2013

Best Books I Read This Year

If you know me, you know I'm big into reading. This year, my goal was to read 100 books, and I've completed 92 so far, not including picture books. I'm pretty much on track to complete my goal, although since the last week of the year will be spent with family in America, we'll see how it goes. I do have that international flight, though, which should be good for at least a book or two. This list includes books I read this year, not necessarily published this year. With each book I have included a link to my Goodreads review, in addition to whatever brief annotations I have included here. I don't have any kind of Amazon affiliate account, so if you see something perfect for a gift, just buy it from your e-tailer or retailer of choice.

I had originally planned to either choose some arbitrary number, or do categories like "best children's," "best mystery," or whatever but I changed my mind. Instead I'm just looking through the list of what I read this year and picking the ones that were really, really amazing. As of the moment I'm typing this, I don't know how many there will be, although my ballpark would be between 8-12. These are books that I think are well-written, interesting, and/or stuck with me in some way. I read many books I enjoyed, but these are the very very best.

And now, the list!

Night Film by Marisha Pessl.
There is a set of people I've encountered who are under the delusion that the only books published these days are crap. I wouldn't hand this book to every one of those people, but I certainly think it provides good evidence to the contrary.

Doctor Sleep by Stephen King
Stephen King gets a bad rap because his books are popular and he's written a lot of them. Not all of them are amazing, but this one is what I would give to someone who dismisses him as "just" a pop author.

The Secret Life of Pronouns by James W. Pennebaker
This one probably has a pretty narrow audience, but if you love words and linguistics this book is fascinating and easy to understand.

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein
This is a kid's book, but if you are an adult who loves children's books you would probably enjoy it. Perfect for the kid who loves books.

The Maze Runner by James Dashner
This is the first in a trilogy, and it is by far the best one. Very action-packed, can't-put-it-down. Great gift for a pre-teen or teen boy.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
John Green is one of my favorite authors ever. This is probably the only book on the list I would recommend to every person I know.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
Another from one of my favorite authors. I take back what I said about TFiOS; I would also recommend this one to everybody I know.

Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
My current answer to the question, "What is your favorite book of all time?" I read this doorstopper for the third time this year and plan to read it again next year.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt
I'd been hearing about this book for so long and was not at all disappointed. This might be the most "literary" of the books on this list and is probably the oldest. For fans of dark, academic intrigue.

The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russel
This was another re-read; we read it for my church's book club. It's a very powerful book blending sci-fi and religion.

Honorable Mention for WORST BOOK
Thank God for Evolution by Michael Dowd
I can't even go into all of the things that were wrong with this book. If you don't want to read my full review, I'll sum it up by saying the only "pastor" the author's atheist wife could get into was Joel Osteen. WHAT.

Well, I ended up with a round ten books. If you want to see ALL of the books I read this year, you can click here. And if you want to see all of the books I have read and reviewed in the past few years, plus all of the books I want to read, you can click here.

Happy Reading!

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