Thursday, December 26, 2013

My Best of 2013: Top 10 Books of 2013

I always have a very hard time picking top 10 of anything, but Paula asked me to do it, and I’ve tried my best. Here are my Top 10 Books of 2013, and I’ll also tell you why I’ve chosen them.

 The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neil Gaiman
This is, hands down, my number one for this year, and a book that was instantly added to my all-time favorites as soon as I was done reading it. I’m a huge fan of “magical realism,” and even though this is a science fiction/fantasy book, I think there’s a lot of magical realism in it. I don’t know if Gaiman did it on purpose or unknowingly, but it works really beautifully. Another thing I love about this book is that what every reader understands and pictures can vary—it’s open to interpretation, and it can be your own personal story if you want it to be. When you pick this up, make sure you also pick up a fair amount of Kleenex because there will come the waterworks.

 Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
My second Bradbury, and I kept getting mad at myself for not reading it sooner. In the world Bradbury creates, firemen don’t put out fires—they start them, and they start them by burning books because reading is forbidden. Then, one firemen starts waking up and asking questions, and that’s when things start going down. While reading, keep in mind that this book was first published in 1951. You’ll be amazed by how the world unfortunately hasn’t changed much since then.

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
So far I’d only read the famous Virgin Suicides by Eugenides due to my curiosity rising when I found out the movie was based on a book. I’ve been meaning to check out his work ever since because you can tell he’s a different type or storyteller. Middlesex was pretty much what I thought it would be: a very unusual character, an unusual history and a lovely family with all its faults. I especially loved the fact that the main character’s Greek grandparents’ adventure starts in Bursa, Turkey; you don’t run into Turkey in an American book, really. I think this is a must-read for all literature lovers.

 Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple
This book caught my attention as it was nominated for Women’s Prize for Fiction 2013. It took me a while to get a hold of it, but once I did, I couldn’t put it down. It’s about the notorious Bernadette Fox, once a revolutionary architect, then father to Bee and wife to Microsoft-guru husband. I loved the over-the-top character of Bernadette, and the style of the book was very different from what I’ve seen so far (and, I must add, not as complicated as The House of Leaves, either). It’s definitely a fun, intelligent and quick read for lovers of humor.

Lord of the Flies by William Golding
The story of young, British boys who are stranded on an island after their plane crashes and all the adults are dead. As they wait and hope to be rescued, first they decide to live by certain rules and order, but that doesn’t last too long. What these boys represent is so relevant today unfortunately that I’m not surprised it’s a book still praised for its merit. I’m also pretty sure shows like LOST drew a lot from this book.

Black Hole by Charles Burns
I’m quite illiterate when it comes to comics, and this I read because my sister had it, and I was curious. It’s the story of a group of teenagers living in Seattle in the 70’s. Due to a sexually transmitted disease, they start to both physically and psychologically mutate. As a result, they’re excluded from society by their families and friends. Sounds kinda familiar, no?

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
I read this one very quickly because I had a deadline on something else, and I really want to read it again, slowly this time, sucking in all the magic. It got me at the circus that appears one day and disappears very quickly. I really feel like I’d spoil it all if I kept going, so dive into the magic and you’ll thank me.

Seven Beautiful Years by Etgar Keret
I translated the title from Turkish, so it might be a bit misleading—I honestly don’t know if Keret’s latest book has been translated to English yet. He’s famous for his bizarre stories like The Girl on the Fridge and The Bus Driver Who Wanted to Be God. In his last book, however, you’ll find him talking about his real life with bits and glimpses of things that happened to him. It’s an enjoyable read, overall, and a good resource to see where his fictional talent comes from.

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
I’d read The Fault in Our Stars last year and loved it. In 2013, I read this one and Looking for Alaska, and, as you can see, An Abundance of Katherines I like better. It’s everything you would expect from Green and then some more. Having read three of his books so far, I think this is the cleverest and most interesting one.

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker
In this one, Walker imagines what might happen if days grew longer than 24 hours. I do sometimes wish days were longer so we had time to get everything done, but after reading The Age of Miracles, I don’t think I’ll ever wish for that again. It’s YA, but also a very realistic imagination of what a family and a town might go through in the situation, with quite a focus on the characters’ personal struggles. If you’re bored with YA books that seem to all be the same, this one’s going to be a refreshing read.

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