See disclosure at end. This is not a sponsored post.
It’s that time of year- Top Books of 2013! What a wonderful year of reading this was! The list shows my varied reading tastes- from lighter books to very serious fiction. Enjoy!
There was simply no way to limit the list to 10 so I am proudly presenting the Top 20 Books of 2013!
And the Great Thoughts’ Top Book of 2013 is…
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
Simply put, I love this book! It is long- over 400 pages and I devoured it in 2 days time. Reading Crazy Rich Asians is like reading People Magazine and Vanity Fair at the same time, with a touch of Britain’s Hello and Tattler, while watching Sex in the City. As soon as you finish it, you will want to order a Cosmopolitan (made with Grey Goose) to discuss it with the author. I was not at all surprised to find out that the book will soon be made into a movie. I hope the movie stays true to the book for, if so, hello Academy Award!
From the publisher, “Crazy Rich Asians is the outrageously funny debut novel about three super-rich, pedigreed Chinese families and the gossip, backbiting, and scheming that occurs when the heir to one of the most massive fortunes in Asia brings home his ABC (American-born Chinese) girlfriend to the wedding of the season.”
I hope Kevin Kwan is quickly writing his next book because I must read it soon! And, this is the first time one of our top books has a male author- go Kevin!
Top Books of 2013 (in alphabetical order):
The 52 Weeks: Two Women and Their Quest to Get Unstuck by Karen Amster-Young and Pam Godwin- This non-fiction book just came out and I love the premise! Two forty-something women decide to get “unstuck” and try one new thing every week. I loved reading this book and their blog. We all need to heed their advice and try new things!.
The Ambassadors Daughter by Pam Jenoff- After reading this book, I immediately read all of Jenoff’s books in a binge-like fashion. My review is here. I love the twists and turns in Jenoff’s books and how certain characters are featured in each book but they are not sequels. Her books are set in around World Wars I and II. This is an author you will keep at the top of your list.
Bridget Jones: Mad About The Boy by Helen Fielding– You know the feeling of getting together with an old friend and laughing the whole evening, like you are still the closest of friends? That is the feeling you get reading this book! This book is funny, laugh out loud funny. But it is also poignant and moving. Just go buy it and read it immediately. This New York Times review does a fabulous job of describing the book.
A Certain Summer by Patricia Beard- I love summer books set on islands and I love World War II fiction. This book is both. It is set just after World War II on Wauregan Island and combines a beach book, historical fiction and a thriller. This is simply a great, cannot put down, book! Review is here.
Family Pictures by Jane Green- I love all of Green’s books but this is her best yet. She is one of my favorite authors because her writing draws you into the story immediately and you can’t stop reading. The characters are so real- you feel like you might know women just like them. At times, this book is witty and at times it is sad- the trademarks of a perfectly written book. My review is here. I loved this book!
A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams – This is another fabulous book set ocean front and details the challenging relationship between old friends. The character development in this book is simply perfect. Did I mention the characters? Did I mention the plot? Loved it! Review is here.
The Husbands Secret by Liane Moriarty- Ok, I’m going to say it- this book is better than Gone Girl. I loved it as have all of the friends I immediately recommended it to. This was a very close contender to be number 1 of the year. The quirky Australian characters, crazy good dialogue and masterful intrigue make this one hell of a book. My review is here. Whatever you do, read the Epilogue at the end AFTER you read the book. Repeat, read the Epilogue.
The K Street Affair by Mari Passananti- This is an incredibly suspenseful political, financial thriller. This book is like a John Grisham novel combined with a Stephen King. I stayed up until 2 a.m. on a vacation to finish this book as I simply could not put it down. Review is here.
Lake Como by Anita Hughes- This is the second of Hughes’ books to be in a Great Thoughts’ Top Books of the Year list. Last year, Monarch Beach made the list. Lake Como is, simply put, delightful. There is heartache, love, handsome men, royalty and, most importantly, Italy. What more can you ask for? You will crave good champagne and an Armani dress after reading this book. Review is here.
Last Train to Instanbul by Ayse Kulin (Author) and John W. Baker (Translator)- The author of this book, Ayse Kulin, is the top author in Turkey. The translation of it is perfect- you would never know that it was not originally written in English. This is the very detailed amazing story of a group of Turks who need to leave France which is already under Nazi control. On this train, they must cross enemy lines, a war zone to get to freedom. Loved it!
The Light in the Ruins by Chris Bojhalian- A power house of a novel by a power house of an author. This is a mystery set after World War II set in Tuscany. Spell binding, gripping and amazingly well-written. Read it! My review is here. I am now reading all of Bojhalian’s earlier books and looking forward to his next.
Looking For Me by Beth Hoffman- Remember how much we loved Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman, the Great Thoughts’ Top Book of 2010? Beth’s newest book, Looking for Me, is just as wonderful but is totally different! Like in CeeCee, the writing and descriptions are perfect, as is the dialogue. In my review, I liken this book to fine literature as it is is a step above a novel.
Margot: a Novel by Jillian Cantor- What if Anne Frank’s older sister, Margot, lived and becomes Margie Franklin, living in Philadelphia? And what if Margie then goes to see The Diary of Anne Frank movie that comes out in 1959? All of this happens in Margot. I felt like I was reading non-fiction and sorely wish that it was true. This is an amazing book.
Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberley McCreight- Not only have I read this book and loved it, now ALL of my closest friends have too. This is a tough book to read if you have a teen daughter due to the subject matter, but McCreight writes a powerhouse of a novel. I was delighted to learn after reading and loving this book that Nicole Kidman will make it into a movie. Again with this book, I hope the movie stays true to the book. My review is here.
The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure- This is a very clever book and plot. Booklist calls Belfoure “an up and coming Ken Follett.” I agree! It is 1942 Paris and a gifted architect can find no work to support himself. He is offered a great deal of money to design a secret hiding place for a wealthy Jewish man that the Nazis will not discover. This leads to his being paid to design even more hiding places, all of which as so clever that the people are not found. I am hopeful that Belfoure writes more quickly.
The Sisters Weiss by Naomi Ragen- Naomi Ragen is one of my favorite authors of Jewish fiction. I follow her writing in the Jerusalem Post and her blog This book, set in the 1950s, is the story of two Orthodox Jewish sisters who follow much different paths. These paths intersect 40 years later. Like in all Ragen work, the ending is not perfect but is poignantly realistic. And, most of all, the book demonstrates the ties of family. If you haven’t already, I also suggest you read Women’s Minyan, a play by Ragen that has been performed over 500 times internationally. And, I can’t stop- I also LOVED The Saturday Wife by Ragen.
Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella- The queen of British lit is unquestionably Sophie Kinsella. We must have books in our world that make us laugh out loud and every single Kinsella novel does that. I hope this book will soon be a fabulous romantic comedy movie. Lottie expects her boyfriend to propose- and he does propose a vacation using frequent flyer points. Angry, Lottie goes away alone and runs into the old flame. Lottie’s sister gets involved trying to save the day and reminded me of Ethel and Lucy. Six words- pour wine and read the book!
The Whole Golden World by Kristina Riggle- This book is only listed last due to alphabetical order. This too was a very close contender to be the Top Book of 2013. I think all parents of teen girls must read this novel. Seventeen-year-old Morgan Monetti shocks her parents and her community by choosing to stand by the man everyone else believes has exploited her—popular high school teacher TJ Hill. Morgan’s mother, Dinah, believes TJ took advantage of her daughter. TJ’s wife, Rain, is shocked. The book is told from the perspective of each of these women. The book is shocking at times as is the story, but so incredibly well told. I have read and liked all of Riggle’s books, but this one is far superior.
I received review copies of Crazy Rich Asians and Looking for Me. I received digital review copies of Ambassador’s Daughter, A Certain Summer, A Hundred Summers, Lake Como, Last Train to Instanbul, Margot, Paris Architect, The Sisters Weiss and The Whole Golden World. I purchased the others. All opinions and gushing are my own.
What are you reading and where are you going?