July 2014
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2013 In Review

2013 was a mixed year. I think I’ll always remember it as the year I lost my grandma, so it probably won’t go down in memory very well. But that’s the only bad thing that happened; I started a job that I actually might like back in March and just got promoted in December, we finally sold the flat which had been preventing us from gaining substantial savings after over 3 years of trying, and everything in a relationship and friend direction has been positive.

My reading year went well. I set myself a goal of 150 books, as I’d read 138 books in 2012 and wanted to do slightly better than that. I ended up finished 160 books, which is great; I found reading much easier to fit in when I started commuting as I’d read a guaranteed 50-100 pages per day just sitting on a train. Commuting itself is not that pleasant, but I like the reading benefit.

And I read some great books this year. Now that the year is finally over, I can finally sum up my favorites. So, without further rambling, my top ten of 2013 (not in any particular order, or in any particular genre or type of book):

vanished kingdoms

  1. Vanished Kingdoms, Norman Davies – This book stands out so strongly in my memory, because it filled in so many gaps in what I already knew and spurred me on to learn more, the perfect combination for a book about history. I’m now just waiting for Davies to pick up his pen and write about vanished kingdoms in the rest of the world!
  2. The Spirit Keeper, K.B. Laugheed – For some reason, I fell in love with this book – the historical setting, the romance between two unlikely characters, and just the surprise that I enjoyed a book in this setting so much. It still lingers in my mind. I think I might need to buy a paper copy.
  3. The Truth of Valor, Tanya Huff (and the rest of the series, all of which I read this year) – I loved these books. I’m sorry that I didn’t rave about them individually, but I loved so much about them. Strong yet imperfect Torin was the star of the show for me, but all the books also had that epic, no-holds-barred feel about them that I adore.
  4. Daughter of the Sword, Steve Bein – This was my favorite new urban fantasy of the year. I think I’ll be getting myself the next for a birthday present this month. I loved the way this book intertwined history with a modern fantasy; either storyline could have stood on its own.
  5. Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie – I didn’t manage to even review this book – plenty of stellar reviews out there already, anyway – but I loved the way it subverted gender expectations, made me feel sympathy for a ship, and ultimately confused me until suddenly everything popped into place. So much good about this book – if you haven’t read it already, you should make it a 2014 priority.
  6. the spirit keeperEleanor and Park, Rainbow Rowell – I didn’t review this one, either, but I never caught up with November’s reviews. I loved the way that Rowell created two imperfect characters whose love for each other shone through the pages. She perfectly captures what it’s like to be a teenager but still made me fall in love with these two. There will be more books by Rainbow Rowell in my future.
  7. Carter Beats the DevilGlen David Gold – This was one of 2013′s long-awaited reads and it was definitely a book I should have read sooner. Fantastic characters, a whirlwind story, a perfect conclusion, with an unusual historical setting and magical focus that helped it stand out.
  8. Proust and the Squid, Maryanne Wolf – I loved this in depth look at the reading brain and how complex it is, plus an overview of the history of reading and alphabets. Not to be missed.
  9. The Wild Girl, Kate Forsyth – Another historical novel that I adored this year. I can’t believe I hadn’t discovered Forsyth earlier; this is something I’m going to look to remedy in 2014.
  10. Cooked, Michael Pollan – Taking a look at each type of cooking, Pollan goes on another journey through food that inspired me to think about what I could create. A lot of things have contributed to me becoming more conscious of what we’re eating and cooking from scratch more often, but this book is definitely up there.

I should also mention Chasing Magic by Stacia Kane, Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews, and Chimes at Midnight by Seanan McGuire for continuing series that I love with solid, wonderful books. I can only hope for the same this year.

Here’s to a happy and healthy 2014, everyone!

7 comments to 2013 In Review

  • First of all, congrats on your promotion! :D

    I didn’t lose anyone close to me in 2013, but I think I kind of know what you mean about one or two bad events towering above everything else, even thought the final balance of the year includes plenty of good stuff. I guess some things just take their emotional toll. Here’s to a 2014 without bad things towering above the good.

    You read lots of great stuff in 2013. Vanished Kingdoms sounds amazing, and I was really happy to see it at my library the other day – definitely one to bring home sometime. Also, I need to read The Wild Girl – Bitter Greens was really memorable and interesting and I’d definitely recommend that to you. I hope 2014 is filled with lots of great reading for us both!

    PS: Read Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell! Also The Raven Boys :D
    Ana @ things mean a lot´s last post …Happy New Year

  • We had a sad ending to our 2013 and I know I too will always remember 2013 as a year of losses. On the other hand, as you note, there are always positives as well.

    I really need to read Rainbow Rowell!!
    Beth F´s last post …Wordless Wednesday 270

  • Congrats on your promotion! I am glad I either own or have read a bunch of books on your list because I find we have similar reading tastes. :) If 2013 was a better reading year I might have crossed over more. Happy reading in 2014. I hope you read lots of awesome stuff.
    Kailana´s last post …End of the Year Book Survey – Best Books!

  • Guaranteed reading time would be the silver lining of commuting. I’ve only read one book on your list – Eleanor and Park – and it’s on my best of 2013 list too. Happy New Year!
    bermudaonion (Kathy)´s last post …Wondrous Words Wednesday

  • Happy New Year Meghan. Here’s hoping 2014 is a great year for you and if its possible you read even more great books!
    jessicabookworm´s last post …Goodbye 2013, Hello 2014

  • What a wonderful list! Sometimes I wish I had a commute just so I could have the extra reading time, but it sure would be a bigger bother to have to get up earlier than I do and to not get home until much later than I already do now. I hope you have a Happy New Year.
    Literary Feline´s last post …2013: A Year in Review

  • Yay Rainbow Rowell! And I LOVED Carter Beats the Devil when I read it. I meant to read his next book, Sunnyside, but I…well, sort of forgot about it. So thanks for reminding me!

    I’m so sorry you lost your grandpa this year. I lost mine almost 12 years ago and I still miss him everyday. There’s just something special about grandpas. I’m glad to hear the pluses though! Here’s hoping for more of the same in 2014!
    Heather´s last post …Top Ten Tuesday – Goals/Resolutions For 2014