This time of year, the “Best Books of the Year” lists are everywhere you look: in all the major newspapers, on all the blogs. I read a lot of new releases, but I tend to skip the blockbusters, and I am always discovering (or rediscovering) great books from other years.
I wrote a post about my mid-year favorites back in June, but I’ve read a lot of books since then (total for the year: 239 and counting). So here are the books I loved the most this year.
Not all these books were published in 2013, but I read them all for the first time (except Best Reread) in 2013. Links are to my reading roundups, which contain brief reviews.
- Most Delicious Collection of Foodie Essays: Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant, ed. Jenni Ferrari-Adler.
- Best Reread: Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers. It was even more wonderful than I remembered, and it inspired me to read Sayers’ entire Lord Peter Wimsey oeuvre.
- Favorite New Chick-Lit Author: Hester Browne. I devoured all her books within a few weeks this summer.
- Most Delightful Bookworm Memoir: Howards End is on the Landing by Susan Hill.
- Best Historical Novel: The Movement of Stars by Amy Brill. Gorgeous.
- Heftiest Classic: Les Misérables. I finally read the book after years of loving the musical, and I’m so glad I did.
- Best Portrait of a Creative Genius: Jim Henson, about the creator of my beloved Muppets.
- Most Addictive Light Mystery Series: Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen.
- Best Book Inspired by a Classic: Longbourn, a wonderful retelling of Pride and Prejudice from the servants’ perspective that grows into so much more.
- Most Poignant Classic: My Ántonia by Willa Cather. Such gorgeous writing.
- Wisest Books on Writing and Life: Handling the Truth by Beth Kephart and Still Writing by Dani Shapiro.
- Favorite Rediscovered Sleuths: Harriet Vane and Lord Peter Wimsey. After nearly 10 years, I so enjoyed rereading Harriet’s stories and reading many of Lord Peter’s adventures for the first time.
- Wisest Portrait of Faith and Doubt: When We Were on Fire by Addie Zierman. The story of her Jesus-freak days resonated so deeply with me.
What were your favorite books this year?