2013 Favorites

Jaime’s bookshelf: 2013-favorites

The Rosie Project
5 of 5 stars

Professor Don Tillman was once told by his friend, Daphne, that he would make someone a wonderful husband. Daphne’s declaration flabbergasted Don, as it was “so contrary” to his “experiences of being rejected by women.” Determined to …

Rivers
5 of 5 stars
“He had forgotten the last day that it hadn’t rained, when the storms gave way to the pale blue of the Gulf sky, when the birds flew and the clouds were white and the sunshine glistened across the drenched land,” Mississippi nativ…
The Maid's Version
5 of 5 stars
No one brings the Ozarks region to life like Daniel Woodrell, critically acclaimed author of Winter’s Bone. Woodrell’s newest work The Maid’s Version explores the causes and repercussions of a dance hall fire in West Table, Missouri, in…
The Good Lord Bird
5 of 5 stars

Throughout history and fiction, women have disguised themselves as men; it is quite uncommon, though, for a boy to disguise himself as a girl and continue the charade for decades. However, that is just what Little Onion does in James M…

The Girl You Left Behind
5 of 5 stars

This book is not just about a painting; it’s not just about a wife left behind during wartime; it’s not just about a young widow whose husband died unexpectedly; it’s not just about a random girl a guy meets in a bar; it’s not just abo…

Snow Hunters
5 of 5 stars

“That winter, during a rainfall,” Yohan “arrived in Brazil,” Paul Yoon, 5 Under 35 National Book Foundation honoree, writes in his lyrical and arresting debut Snow Hunters. Yohan, a North Korean war refugee, seeks a new life in Brazi…

The Rathbones
5 of 5 stars
As summer slowly fades into fall, we sometimes yearn for something more in a novel, a story that invades our hearts and our souls, a tale that leaves us astounded. I always find myself turning to the sea this time of year. September is …
A Marker to Measure Drift
5 of 5 stars

Jacqueline, a Liberian refugee, ekes out the barest of existences on an island in the Aegean Sea in Alexander Maksik’s stunningly visceral second novel, A Marker to Measure Drift. “Only go down the path. Only find water. Find food. …

The Violet Hour
5 of 5 stars

Katherine Hill begins her intimate and utterly beguiling first novel, The Violet Hour, on a boat. This leisure cruise ultimately charts the course of Hill’s novel. What we assume will be a fun excursion on the San Francisco Bay for …

The Curiosity
5 of 5 stars

I still remember the sensation I felt when I read some of my favorite novels for the first time—Yann Martel’s Life of Pi, Rachel Joyce’s The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain, Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl,…

The Resurrectionist
5 of 5 stars

Impeccably researched and minutely detailed, Matthew Guinn’s first novel The Resurrectionist is mined from the dark and almost-forgotten pages of buried history—literally. During renovations of one of the oldest buildings on the campu…

The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls
5 of 5 stars
We’ve all known girls like Thea Atwell—girls who made mistakes so big they were sent away, fast girls, precocious girls, daring girls. Thea narrates Anton DiSclafani’s debut novel The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls, an exquisite peri…
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
5 of 5 stars

Karen Joy Fowler begins her eighth work of fiction smack-dab in the middle of the story. “In 1996,” she writes, “ten years had passed since I’d last seen my brother, seventeen since my sister disappeared.” How odd it is for one woman …

You Are One of Them
5 of 5 stars

When two school-age girls have a falling out, the clash can seem like the outbreak of world war. Both sides have many friends, allies who declare war simply because of loyalty to one party. Think of them as NATO versus the Warsaw Pact…

The Other Typist
5 of 5 stars

“They said the typewriter would unsex us,” Suzanne Rindell writes in her dark and arresting debut The Other Typist. A typewriter “is a stern thing, full of gravity, its boxy angles coming straight to the point, with no trace of curvace…

Southern Cross the Dog
5 of 5 stars
If you are looking for a substantial read, I highly recommend two historical epic novels that may, at first glance, seem very dissimilar yet share many characteristics.In elegant, lucid prose, fiction newcomer Kent Wascom brings the fr…

The Third Son
5 of 5 stars

Rocky Balboa had an anthem, and so did Daniel LaRusso. Saburo, the irresistible protagonist in Julie Wu’s dazzling first novel, The Third Son, does not have an anthem; neither does he have a title nor does he win a championship trophy …

Dear Lucy: A Novel
5 of 5 stars

I have never felt fiercely protective of a character before, but the urge to shield Lucy, the main speaker in Julie Sarkissian’s quirky, unique, and weirdly beautiful debut, Dear Lucy, overtook me. And there’s a good reason why: Lucy …

Life After Life
5 of 5 stars

The Greek philosopher Heraclitus (535 BC-475 BC) famously said that you cannot step into the same river twice. Well, he didn’t know Ursula Beresford Todd, the main character in Kate Atkinson’s bonny, daring, and sublime novel Life Aft…

A Tale for the Time Being
5 of 5 stars

The relationship between a writer and a reader is sacrosant. Nowhere is that truer than in Ruth Ozeki’s wildly imaginative, ambitious, and brilliant novel A Tale for the Time Being. Ozeki redefines that sacred link between novelist a…

Orleans
5 of 5 stars

Katrina, Isaiah, Lorenzo, Olga, Laura, Paloma, and Jesus are the names of a series of hurricanes that hit the New Orleans area from 2005 to 2019, killing thousands and thousands of people, flooding the city, and eventually giving rise…

Ghana Must Go
5 of 5 stars

A pair of slippers. A car ride with one’s father. A garden statue. A Mickey Mouse nightgown. A visit with an uncle. A dream to be just like daddy. A meeting with a law school dean. A routine surgery. These seemingly trivial and in…

The Painted Girls
5 of 5 stars
During the Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871), the Prussian army laid siege to the city of Paris, cutting off supply lines and transforming the “center of the universe” into a mean, alien environ. It was not long before the stomachs of Par…


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3 responses to “2013 Favorites

  1. Jill White

    I haven’t read all of the gems on your list yet, but of the one’s we’ve both read, I agree with your assessment! I would also add: “Flora” by Gail Godwin and “We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves” by Karen Joy Fowler. Both are delightful. Something may get bumped from my top ten list before year end, but for now the Godwin and Fowler reads are still there along with “The Painted Girls”, “Yohnalassee Riding Camp”, and “Life After Life” — though it took me a while to get into “Life After Life”.

    • Hey Jill! We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves intrigues me so I will have to read it and Flora. I am now reading The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells. It’s really good so far.

  2. Jill White

    Oops — I meant ONES not one’s with the apostrophe!!!!!

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