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Favorite Books of 2013

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I loathe top 10 lists, and at the same time, always read them and get great tips for stuff I enjoy later.  So…yeah.  Hipster hypocrite, thy name is Felicia.

Anyway, I have read some great books this year (branched out a bit from traditional romances) and wanted to share my faves with you! ONLY FIVE OF THEM BECAUSE HIPSTER ME DOESNT WANNA DO TEN!


Golem and Jinni by Helene Wecker

This is one of my favorite books of the year. I didn’t know a ton about it going in, other than loving the gorgeous cover, but I’m very glad I didn’t. It is a historical urban fantasy of sorts, about a Golem and a Djinn separately stranded in turn-of-the-century New York city. The two character’s storylines intertwine beautifully, with themes of identity, religion and friendship weaving in and out of a wonderfully detailed world. If you liked The Night Circus, or Dr Strange and Mr. Norrell, you’ll really love this book.


How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran

I don’t read a ton of biographies but this one was so outrageous and smart and funny that it made me a fan of the genre.  Caitlin Moran is unabashedly a feminist, but she fills out the word in a way you actually WANT to identify with the phrase. Weaving her opinions in and out of her crazy family stories, she spurs the reader to re-think concepts of woman’s rights and feminism, which for some weird reason have accumulated a negative stigma over the last few decades. In a day and age where more and more legislation is being passed against BIRTH CONTROL (I mean, what the hell people?!) we need more writers, men OR women, to put sexual issues in plain, and hilariously dirty language like this author.  Recommended!


Alex Verus Novels by Benedict Jacka

Technically this is not a book, it’s a series, but I gobbled all 5 (6?) of them up in a few weeks. It’s an urban fantasy series set in modern day London about mages and secret light and dark magic and YUM is it fun!  I love the main character, his magic is divination, so he can see all possible outcomes, which is dealt with in a really fun and believable way.  His assistant is a girl who has a curse, and the characters are really fun and multi-dimensional.  Very evocative of the Harry Dresden books (not a bunch of romance, for those Vaginal Fantasy ladies out there, sorry!)


Quiet by Susan Cain

I have had a lot of issues I’ve been dealing with this year, mental and physical, and it was wonderful to read this book about where some of the possible roots lay, and how to cope with them.  This book was so helpful and methodical in highlighting the differences between extroverts and introverts, and how society has an (unjustified) bias towards the more outgoing people.  It had great suggestions in how to cope and assert yourself in an organic way, how there is a lot of strength in being the type of person who can be quiet and thoughtful, and that good leadership isn’t always about the brashest and most dynamic.  Highly recommend for other shy people out there!


Alif the Unseen by G Willow Wilson

Another Genie book!  This one is set in the modern-day Middle East, and it mixes mythology and technology in a really fun, engrossing story.  Alif is a hacker in love with a woman above his station, who gets dragged into the hidden world of genies while trying to avoid frightening prosecution by the state, who has eyes everywhere, especially the internet.  It’s a romance, a thriller, a mythic epic and a religious contemplation all in one.  Wonderful insight into Islamic culture as well as the magic of Djinn.  So inventive and original, even if it sounds like a strange mash-up, try it!  You’ll enjoy it!

Let me know what really struck you this year!  It will allow me to avoid OTHER people’s top 10 lists ;)
HAPPY NEW YEAR!

 

  • Robert

    I didn’t read anything exciting this past. All I read were a lot of cookbooks, since it was for school.

  • http://www.pixyofwhimsy.com Mellisa

    I loved:

    “Shadows” Robin McKinley
    “Through the Door” Jodi McIsaac
    “Beauty Tips for the Bereaved” Sunny Haralson
    “Hyperbole and a Half” Allie Brosh
    “The Ocean at the End of the Lane” Neil Gaiman
    “Cooked” Michael Pollan
    “Dreams and Shadows” C. Robert Cargill

    I need to stop now before I really get going.

    • http://n/a jody anderson

      “Truth is stranger than fiction” I don’t recall who said that. Have you had the chance to read “A New Earth” by Eckhart Tolle? I still use it for reference, sort of. “Qi Gong for Beginners” by Stanley Wilson Phd. is really cool. I got ‘em both at Half Price Books. Amazzing, insightful wisdom arrive from these, that I only wish I’d discovered sooner. If you make opportunity to explore the content of these books, I’d be pleased to learn of your evaluation.

  • http://jdsavage.com Jeff Davis

    Trying to get through a few books, but two that I managed to read were Mockingbird and The Blue Blazes by Chuck Wendig . Profane and jolting, Mockingbird seats you uncomfortable on the lead character’s shoulder as she makes her way down the seedy, violent path she’s on. Blue is a thrill ride with people unaware of the entire realms of beings living beneath them, and the handful of mooks who know. Not for the faint of heart, but sweet in a demonic, shoot-em-up kind of way.

  • Stephen Alexander

    READY PLAYER ONE by Ernest Cline. Yes, it took me a year, it was probably on Felicia’s list from last year.
    BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP, S. J. Watson

  • Chris

    The Ocean at the End do the Lane, by Neil Gaiman. Beautiful fantasy that really captures the difficulties of youth.

  • http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/26148679-nick Nick

    The Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson
    (Mistborn, The Well Of Ascension, Hero of Ages)

    Divergent Trilogy by Veronica Roth
    (Divergent, Insurgent, Allegant)

    A Quest of Heroes (The Sorcerer’s Ring #1) By Morgan Rice

    Technically that’s 7 books, not 5, but these were my favorites this year and that’s after tackling the entire set of George R.R. Martin books for a Song of Fire and Ice and the 1st five of twelve of Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan!

    The 1st two trilogies listed are my favorites because they evoked emotional reactions while reading the stories (Sorrow, excitement, joy, tears, etc..) The rest were just some really good stories!

    If you are interested in reading any of them I recommend checking them out on Goodreads! (my profile on Goodreads is: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/26148679-nick – it makes it easy to see the full list of the 25 books I finished this year)

    Looking forward to some more reading in 2014! Happy New Year!

  • Alan K R

    The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a great read, I’m a Neil Gaiman fan so I’m going to favor anything he writes. For other reads this year for me I would put Atlas Shrugged on my list, by Ayn Rand. Ender’s Shadow by Orson S Card. I have read more than 3 books this year, but the non conformist in me just doesn’t want a top five list.

    • Alan K R

      I read Quite last year and that is a good as well. It would be on my list if I read it this year!

  • Eric C

    Happily Ever Afterlife

    A collection of short stories based on fairy tales. Definitely a little on the dark side.

    My favorite story, “In the Belly of the Wolf”, picks up just after Red Riding Hood is eaten. Very interesting with a great twist at the end.

  • Ashley D

    A small handful of the goodies I’ve read include Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn which is so incredibly twisty. And there is a new Paranormal mystery series I found. I think it’s called Immortality Bites, but the first book is called Bled, Bath and Beyond. Very fun, about vampires and their governing body through the eyes of a fledgling who is engaged to one of their investigators/founders.

    But right now I’m reading a book called Ashes. It’s about an orphaned, dying, girl on a trek through the mountains to deal with her personal demons. But it’s interrupted when an electromagnetic pulse starts the apocolypse and she finds herself changed and now with a little girl whose grandfather dropped dead because the pulse fried his pacemaker right in front of them. It’s amazing. There’s also zombies… kinda… sorta.

  • https://plus.google.com/?partnerid=ogpy0 Antonio (Portugal)

    Hi Felicia,
    Have a nice and beautiful Saturday! I’m going to be honest with you! In the past few years I don’t reade so much books! More newspapers and magazines newus! But for what I saw “Alif the Unseen by G Willow Wilson” must be very intertisting!
    Congratulations and have a nice 2014!

  • ZombieSalmon

    I read “Chaos Quarter” by David Welch this last fall and loved it. I was looking for a good space opera and this one was a pleasant surprise. I rag tag crew with a very firefly like feel to them, but with some interesting twists.
    I’m always looking for new books to take a chance on, thanks for the list!

  • gabe cool

    read “house of hades” a couple weeks ago and in my opinion best book ever

  • jillz

    The Matthew Swift Books by Kate Griffin are soooo much better than the Alex Versus ones. Also Falling London by Paul Cornell is a police procedural set in urban fantasy London. My third favorite is Among Others by Jo Walton.

  • Scott

    “Year Zero” by Rob Reid
    Who doesn’t love a sci-fi comedy based on the ridiculousness of our copyright laws. Where aliens owe Earth so much money in copyright fines that it has bankrupted the Universe.

  • Meghan

    I struggled with finding new inspiration for creative works this year, but reading Guillermo Del Toro Caninet of Curiosities provided a surge of inspiration. Seeing the beautiful pages from his notebooks and reading more about his thought process and inspirations really got me going and helped me start and finish several new paintings.

    I’ve also really enjoyed the first half of Scott Snyder and Sean Murphies graphic series The Wake this year.

    And my final recommendation to you would be fHorde, the conclusion to Ann Aguirre’s Razorland trilogy. The conclusion provided answers and so much more to consider along the way. It’s probably my favorite young adult dystopia series.

  • Barbara

    I agree with “Oceans at the end of the Lane” by Gaiman as others have recommended. I recommend:
    “The Luminaries” by Eleanor Catton” (Winner of Booker Prize this year) which was brilliant. A historical mystery as told by multiple viewpoints during the gold rush in New Zealand. “The Circle” by Dave Eggars is a modern take on 1984 and while not as well written as his other books, was really creepy
    Thanks for your list, Felicia. I have added them to mine

  • Jason

    Have already read Quiet and agree that the examples she gives of the cultural differences between East and West as to the introvert versus extrovert ideal were illuminating and empowering. I don’t have to apologize so guiltily over preferring quiet solitude to high-energy socializing. I’ll have to check out The Golem and the Jinni. I just now put it in my Goodreads to-read list.

  • http://shellssimplelife.blogspot.com Shell

    I don’t get to read a lot right now, but my favorite book of the year is definitely Sacred Blood by Alys B. Cohen. It’s supernatural with a very strong female lead. I loved following along as Juliette began to discover herself and her strengths.

  • Jay

    John Dies At The End – David Wong

  • David

    Romance? Really? I would have suspected you were a Sci -Fi nut? Oh well, I would recommend Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie as a good one this year.

  • Mike

    My suggestions are:
    White Trash Zombie by Diana Rowland,
    Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson
    but my two favorites have to be The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne and Pendragon by D.J. MacHale.

    I am currently reading A Captain’s Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs, and Dangerous Days at Sea. I use Goodreads.com to get suggestions and keep track of what I have read.

  • http://pubwrite.wordpress.com/ Rob

    A Memory of Light (the final book in The Wheel of Time series) by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson
    The Thief of Always: A Fable by Clive Barker –> horror-ish, suitable for youth
    The Legend of Drizzt Anthology, The Collected Stories by R.A. Salvatore, Edited by Philip Athas –> short stories about Drizzt Do’Urden, his friends, and a few enemies
    Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl –> I liked a lot about this book…the exception being the ending that seemed a total cop out
    The Candy Shop War by Brandon Mull –> Another youth book, but well written and enjoyable

  • Michelle

    I am also reading Quiet.

    If you like Jinn, I recommend the Bartimeus Trilogy (The Amulet of Samarkand, The Golem’s Eye, and Ptolemy’s Gate) by Jonathan Stroud but as audio books instead. I got mine via Audible. The books have a lot of footnotes that the narrator, Simon Jones, weaves in wonderfully. He also does a great job with varying voices for the characters. There is a 4th book which i haven’t heard and can’t vouch for but it serves as post series prequel called The Ring of Solomon.

  • http://www.chrisfeyrer.com Chris Feyrer

    My wife has been adding your books to her book club’s reading list, with much success. I’ll send her this link.

    Also re: “mental and physical issues” – sending you heals.

  • Matthew

    Anything by Tad Williams i swear you should love. He does old fashioned and modwrn fantasy and his current series is a noirish urban fantasy about angels and demons called The Dirty Streets of Heaven but without shoving religion down your throat. But if I have to suggest an aqwesome series by him to read then I would recommend Otherland…. Its an amazing series and there is an online pc mmo being made right now based off of it. Even if you dont wana read it just check out the Otherland game being made which looks amazing and see if you still dont wanna read Otherland. Btw the first book is a lot of character and plot swetting but by the second book ita just pure amazing. Please please please give it a chance and then spread the word because more people need to read this amazing series.

  • http://booksbeforebed.com Scarlett

    Thank you so much for sharing this list! I have added quite a few to my TBR and am excited to try them out. Happy 2014!

  • https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-oUzBcQ0LP94/UDiowtHzCvI/AAAAAAAAADY/-2E20cikuxw/w372-h371-no/01.jpg Djelloul Nacer

    L’introversion, c’est quoi ?

    Timide ? Réservé ? Effacé ? L’introverti est bien mal connu. Quelques définitions :

    Les comportements qui caractérisent l’introverti :

    Il refait le plein d’énergie en se concentrant sur lui-même, en manipulant seul des idées, des souvenirs, des réactions. Il préfère être seul ou avec une à deux personnes proches. Lors d’une prise de décision, il prend le temps de réfléchir pour avoir une idée précise de ce qu’il veut faire.

  • https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-oUzBcQ0LP94/UDiowtHzCvI/AAAAAAAAADY/-2E20cikuxw/w372-h371-no/01.jpg Djelloul Nacer

    J’a besoin d’une femme qui m’aimera avec sincérité qui me dira toujours la vérité
    J’ai besoin d’une femme avec laquelle je bâtirai des souvenirs qui jamais ne va me trahir
    J’ai besoin d’une femme Pas forcément la plus belle Cependant, à moi, restera fidele
    J’ai besoin d’une femme qui apportera bonheur en mon âme qui ne tournera pas la vie au drame
    J’ai besoin d’une femme Prête à partager chagrins et joies qui ne me quittera quoiqu’il en soit
    J’ai besoin d’une femme c’est tout ce que je veux exprimer
    Une femme qui saura vraiment aimer… m’aimer

  • https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-oUzBcQ0LP94/UDiowtHzCvI/AAAAAAAAADY/-2E20cikuxw/w372-h371-no/01.jpg Djelloul Nacer

    Eh bien Felicia, je vais trouver cette femme , je suis encore en doute ! Mais il faut aussi parfois la chercher ! Je souhaite de la rencontrer le grand amour de ma vie ! Car la vie sans amour est bien trop triste.

  • https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-oUzBcQ0LP94/UDiowtHzCvI/AAAAAAAAADY/-2E20cikuxw/w372-h371-no/01.jpg Djelloul Nacer

    Il nous est permis de mourir à tout âge,pourquoi donc se priver d’aimer, à n’importe quel âge ? Boire ensemble, le même breuvage et faire , ensemble un beau voyage !
    L’amour n’est pas une question d’âge et surtout pas une mise en cage c’est la douce loi du partage.

  • Tom

    ‘Quiet’ Susan Cain
    ‘Ocean at the End of the Lane’ Neil Gaiman
    ‘Stray Souls’ Kate Griffin
    ‘A Discovery of Witches’ Deborah Harkness
    ‘The Windup Girl’ Paolo Bacigaliupi

    These are my top five that I read in 2013. All were remarkable.

  • Star*Strider

    Most of the fantasy books I would list have already been mentioned.

    One that hasn’t: ‘Among Others’, by Jo Walton (ISBN: 978-0-7653-3172-4) An interesting and entertaining read, and also an incidental narrative annotated bibliography of sci-fi and fantasy books and authors.

    Currently reading: ‘The Magical Universe: Everyday Ritual and Magic in Pre-Modern Europe’, by Stephen Wilson (ISBN: 1-85285-445-6) Non-fiction; an exploration of popular magical beliefs and practices, and an interesting, entertaining read. I suggest it to Pagans and anyone interested in the topic.

    Just for fun: ‘Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir)’, by Jenny Lawson (ISBN: 978-0-425-26101-9) Not sci-fi or fantasy; a poignant to laugh-out-loud-funny memoir.

  • Laura

    I really wanted to say thank you for the recommendations, I loved the Golem and the Jinni! I was hesitant, because I wasn’t really a fan of Dr. Strange and Mr. Norrel (I just couldn’t get into it.. maybe I need to give it another try?) but your description really drew me in and I’m so thankful I gave it a try. I absolutely fell in love with Chava, and the nature of the Jinni and his kind was so fascinating.

    I’m putting Alif the Unseen on my next to read pile and I’m excited to get into it! Thank you for sharing!

  • https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-oUzBcQ0LP94/UDiowtHzCvI/AAAAAAAAADY/-2E20cikuxw/w372-h371-no/01.jpg Djelloul Nacer

    L’amour en virtuel si présent sur ce site. Il doit tout même rester un rêve inaccessible mais il être sincère. Les mots ne doivent pas mentir, mais donner du plaisir à celui qui les lit
    Amicalement

  • https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-oUzBcQ0LP94/UDiowtHzCvI/AAAAAAAAADY/-2E20cikuxw/w372-h371-no/01.jpg Djelloul Nacer

    …pour prolonger un “amour de clavier”

    Il faut savoir trouver son bonheur dans ces échanges et les prendre pour ce qu’ils sont.:yeah:

  • https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-oUzBcQ0LP94/UDiowtHzCvI/AAAAAAAAADY/-2E20cikuxw/w372-h371-no/01.jpg Djelloul Nacer

    J’ai remarqué que mes écris te plaisaient car tu viens souvent me lire.Merci de ton com félicia et au plaisir de se lire
    Amicalement

  • trollificus

    post PS) Thanx for the recommendation of “Quiet”. Any approach that deals with introversion as a non-pathological aspect of someone’s personality is welcome, and should enlighten the default approach that it is something to be ‘cured’.

  • https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-oUzBcQ0LP94/UDiowtHzCvI/AAAAAAAAADY/-2E20cikuxw/w372-h371-no/01.jpg Djelloul Nacer

    bonheur
    État de plénitude et de satisfaction durable, par opposition au plaisir éphémère. La philosophie antique en fait le souverain bien, c’est-à-dire la fin suprême de la vie humaine, indissociable de la vertu.

  • AnibalRicardoBanfi

    Estimate Felicia Day, me impresiona lo productora que eres, las cosas que haces con gusto y empiezas y terminas, dime, ¿te gustaría hacer algo más grande, como por ejemplo una
    película? yo tengo un libro escrito, y dos mas para escribir,
    Ya han hecho dos películas con temas míos, and Iam have in ist moment , money and time
    ya que me retiro of mi working official .trabajo in EEUU pero soy argentino, por favor contestame..

  • Colin

    Only read one book last year that I’d really recommend, and that was The Ocean at the End of the Lane. Yes, I know everyone else recommended it too.

  • JMichael

    I also liked “The Golem and the Jinni”, and ran across “Encyclopedia of the Exquisite” by Jessica Kerwin Jenkins. My big discovery this year has been the “Sherlock” BBC series-great writing and acting. Ben Cuberbatch even fakes the violin playing pretty well! As you know, bad violin faking is pretty painful to watch Do you still play or sing?

  • Amber

    You should read “Dr. Homebrew.” http://www.doctorhomebrew.com I’ll send you a free copy of the book if you want it. Let me know!

  • greybirdtoo

    I’m sorry I didn’t see this before; now I have two other books/series to read. I really enjoy the Dresden books (and the series) and am impatiently waiting for the one about to come out. If you haven’t read them, the Iron Druid Chronicles, by Kevin Hearne, is excellent! Everyone I’ve recommended it to has read them as fast as they could. Atticus is a 2,000 old Irish druid, the last one, in modern times. Kevin manages to spin pantheons from many different mythologies, not just the Irish one, into the stories in a seriously entertaining way!

  • Raoul Woot

    If you get a chance, read The Strain trilogy by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan. Exceptionally well written, tight, logical and hits hard where it needs to. A highly recommended read.

  • Tim Nesham

    Interesting books! Thanks for posting!

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