Archives: Books Read in 2013


  • Wonder, by R.J. Palacio (A+ – awesome book for tweens about how kindness trumps popularity. Must read!)
  • Girl Walks Into a Bar, by Rachel Dratch (B – interesting but she’s a bit like her most famous SNL character: Debbie Downer)
  • The Year of the Gadfly, by Jennifer Miller (C – a review compared it to “Secret History” but I thought it was lame)
  • The Age of Miracles, by Karen Thompson Walker (B – near-future sci-fi/coming of age tale based on the Earth’s rotation slowing)
  • The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D, by Nichole Bernier (B – interesting premise but slowly paced and an ending most readers will predict before the half-way point) 


  • Shadow of Night, by Deborah Harkness (B- – second book of the fantasy series is a fun – but long – escape)
  • Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, by Robin Sloan (A- – playful, smart and optimistic – if you like books, technology and mystery, you’ll enjoy this quick little escape)
  • Wintergirls, by Laurie Halse Anderson (D – book for teens about eating disorders; maybe teens will like it, but I thought it was dumb)
  • The Stonecutter, by Camilla Lackberg (A- – very reminiscent of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” – but better)
  • The Round House, by Louise Erdrich (A – compelling, well-written, though-provoking. Good pick for book clubs.)


  • Every Day, by David Levathin (A – teen book but so well written it’s great for adults) 
  • A Good Hard Look, by Ann Napolitano  (B+ – good debut featuring a fictionalized take on Flannery O’Connor)
  • Silver Linings Playbook, by Matthew Quick (B+ – haven’t seen the movie, but really enjoyed the book)
  • Ice Princess, by Camilla Lackberg (B – solid, fun mystery – I’m a fan)
  • I’m Feeling Lucky, by Douglas Edwards (B+ – interesting peek behind Google’s start-up curtain)
  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie (A+ – loved it!)
  • Creating a Charmed Life, by Victoria Moran (B – I’m not into self-help books, but this one was research)
  • The Preacher, by Camilla Lackberg (C+ – a bit far-fetched and less enjoyable than her others)


  • The Good House, by Ann Leary (C+ – an alcoholic, an affair, and real estate = convoluted)
  • Girlchild, by Tupelo Hassman (D – white trash, Nevada, incest, death = horrible)
  • The Folded World, by Amity Gaige (C – well-written characters, but boring)
  • The End of Wasp Season, by Denise Mina (A- – fun, fresh voice for a beach-worthy detective novel set in Glasgow)
  • The Orchardist, by Amanda Coplin (B- – well written, but slow moving and depressing)
  • Pure, by Julianna Baggott (B+ – pretty good dystopian teen novel)
  • Garnethill, by Denise Mina (C+ – meh – her first mystery is definitely rough around the edges)


  • Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls, by David Sedaris (C – I love Sedaris, but this book is a bit harsh/bitter/political for my taste)
  • Gulp, by Mary Roach (A – humorous, informative look at the alimentary canal)
  • The Memory of Running, by Rob McLarty (D+ – all over the place, confusing, unsympathetic characters – meh)
  • The Obituary Writer, by Ann Hood (B+ – two women and the choices they made – a bit shallow but interesting)


  • Too Bright to Hear to Loud to See, by Julian Garey (B – Interesting and sad fictional look at bipolar disorder)
  • The Lost Wife, by Alyson Richman (A – WWII novel about a couple who was separated)
  • Those We Love Most, by Lee Woodruff (C – slow-paced look at family dynamics – just OK) 
  • Joyland, by Stephen King (B+ – solid summer beach thriller)


  • The Other Typist, by Suzanne Rindell (C+ – had potential but was too slow moving – not the page-turner it’s billed to be)
  • Code Name Verity, by Elizabeth Wein (B+ – apparently this is for teens, but I enjoyed it – WWII women spies)
  • The Burgess Boys, by Elizabeth Strout (B+ – character-driven portrait of a Maine family)


  • Duma Key, by Stephen King (B – dark and entertaining but not his best)
  • And the Mountains Echoed, by Khaled Hosseini (A – great multi-generational story about the bonds of family)
  • Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple (B+ – entertaining, great beach book)
  • Inferno, by Dan Brown (C – Typical Dan Brown fare, but at least he tackles a decent problem – population explosion)
  • The Interestings, by Meg Wolitzer (B – Character-driven, without a ton of action or even a point, but well written)


  • Me Before You, by Jojo Moyes (B – Fast-paced and discussion-worthy, but no literary bombshell)
  • All the Summer Girls, by Meg Donohue (C – three friends go to the beach to heal old wounds – bit boring)
  • Beautiful Ruins, by Jess Walter (B-  – he does a good job weaving together different story lines, but they’re not that compelling)
  • The Last Summer of the Camperdowns, by Elizabeth Kelly (B- – interesting setting/characters, but somewhat slow moving although the ending provides a decent payout)
  • The Orphan Train, by Christina Baker Kline (B+ – enjoyed this book that toggles between the stories of two different orphans – one past and one present)
  • Orange Is the New Black, by Piper Kerman (B+ – interesting memoir of her time in prison) 


  • The Dinner, by Herman Koch (B – well-written and fascinating, but nary a sympathetic character in the lot)
  • The Orphan Master’s Son, by Adam Johnson (A- – so much potential, so well-written… just needed a stronger ending to balance the pain spread throughout the rest of it)
  • The Google Resume, by Gayle Laakmann McDowell (B – hard to get excited about a business book, but I’d recommend this for people who need to jazz up their resumes and compete in the interview process)
  • Tell the Wolves I’m Home, by Carol Rifka Brunt (B+ – coming of age story combining AIDS, the ’80s, NYC and art – what’s not to love?)
  • Blood, Bones and Butter, by Gabrielle Hamilton (A – hard to call a kitchen memoir a page-turner, but this is so interesting and so well written, it actually is)


  • The Aviator’s Wife, by Melanie Benjamin (B – learned something but there were no sympathetic characters)
  • Robopocalypse, by Daniel Wilson (C – initially fun and fast-paced, but I got bored)
  • Divergent, by Veronica Roth (B+ – pretty solid dystopian teen fare)
  • Dr. Sleep, by Stephen King (A – totally fun sequel to The Shining – great to know what Danny Torrance has been up to)


  • Her: A Memoir, by Christa Parravani (C- – trainwreck of a memoir about a dead twin sister who overdosed)
  • Ordinary Grace, by William Kent Krueger (B+ – good coming of age story against a religious backdrop)
  • Bedwetter, by Sarah Silverman (B – generally funny, but a bit all over the place)
  • The Last Chinese Chef, by Nicole Mones (B+ – spans generations but action is rooted in the present)

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