I was looking back over what I’ve read this year as recorded on the marvelous site goodreads.com. According to them (which is according to my own input/record keeping), I’ve managed to finish and rate thirty-two books in 2013 – twenty shy of my fifty-two book goal. It seems fitting for this Top Five Friday, the first in what should be a fabulous 2014, to reflect on this group o’ books and pick out my favorite reads of the past year. As you join me for a literary look behind, keep in mind these are books that I’ve read in 2013, not necessarily books that were released in that year.
Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn
Such a good, good read. The first half of this mystery is superb – easily among the best stuff I’ve seen on a page. Gone Girl is the story of a wife gone missing around the time of her wedding anniversary . . . though things aren’t always what they seem. The characters are crafted so well they fairly jump off the page at you. If you haven’t read this, go do it. Now.
The Drop / Black Box – Michael Connelly
I have a serious literary crush on Michael Connelly. He’s just about the only author I know who doesn’t get old writing-wise. There has been a whole slew of Harry Bosch novels – as well as some set in the same world as Harry but not necessarily starring him – and each one is simply excellent. They are so well done that you could pick up any novel at any point along the journey without having read any of the others and still have a satisfying read. These latest two focus on Harry doing what he does best: giving victims a voice and a chance for justice, even when higher-ups tell him to look the other way. If Harry ever really retires as hinted at in these later novels, I’ll probably cry!
The Exorcist – William Peter Blatty
Though it’s not a new book by any means, The Exorcist proved to be one great read for me this past year. Even though I had seen the movie and knew the story, the book was seeing and understanding the story in a whole new light. Much emphasis is given to the priest with the face and build of a boxer, Damien Karras, and his struggles not only with the evil at hand, but his own faith. So well written and so chilling; a must for those who are looking for a good creepy read.
The Innocent Man – John Grisham
I enjoy this kind of book from time to time – nonfiction written in such a way that you forget you’re reading nonfiction. True life provides such a rich basis for stories, and this recounting of a murder pinned on the wrong guy just ’cause he was handy and a little off his rocker is no exception. Grisham pulls right into the story of the murder, but more importantly brings us deep into the title character’s life and the life of those around him.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid – Jeff Kinney
So I bought this one at a garage sale at the insistence of my seven-year-old twins and read it one blazing summer afternoon while they played in the pool. And I laughed out loud several times. It’s the mark of a good book that can make me do that, so that’s why I’m including this first-in-a-series in my top five for 2013. Part comic, part graphic novel, and purely juvenile, this is a breeze of a read that tells about a middle-school student’s adventures and hijinks. Zoowee, mama!