2013- A Good Year for Books

Bonjour mes amis!  How did it get to be mid-December already? Where does the time go?  Why am I beginning this post with unanswerable questions?

I told you that one of my November pleasures is all the food and cooking chatter that goes on in the newspapers, on blogs, on TV, and on the radio in the weeks preceding Thanksgiving.  In December I look forward to the “Best Of The Year”  lists that are published and discussed as the calendar year winds down.  I religiously print out or bookmark the lists of the Best Films, half of which I may have heard of and a few of which I may even have seen.  Back in the day, I used to carry my little lists into Blockbuster in hopes of finding one of the titles, but inevitably the one copy would be checked out or they didn’t even carry it.  I don’t miss Blockbuster all that much.  You?

It should be no surprise that my very, very favoritest lists are the Best Books of the  Year.  Several weeks ago I was dismayed to read that NPR (one of my go-to sources for book reviews and recommendations) had decided not to publish any end of the year book lists.  However, their new-fangled “Book Concierge” is totally awesome, and infinitely better than the old lists of yore.

If you go here, you will see this gorgeous selection of book covers, which are 200 titles that have been recommended by trusted NPR sources, and categorized by genre for easy access.  As you scroll over each cover (which is much larger and more brilliant on their page), a short blurb of the book appears.  Amazing!  Awesome!  Brilliant!  You can either roll over all 200 titles (yes, that’s what I did) or you can click on the particular genre you favor and the books from that category will appear for you.  So cool.

I have had the immense good fortune of having plenty of time for reading this year, so I had read many of the recommended books.  Among my favorites were The Maid’s Version, The Twelve Tribes of Hattie, Americanah, Life After Life, Someone, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, And The Mountains Echoed, and The Lowland. I discussed most of these on my Books page.  Several others are waiting on my “to be read” pile, including Tenth of December and All That Is.  And many, many others from that gorgeous display will find their way into my hands in the months to come.

The New York Times recently published its Top Ten of 2013, and I had read three of them- Americanah, Life After Life, and Wave.  I loved all three.

Two books that seemed to be on everyone’s list of 2013 favorites are The Goldfinch and Five Days At Memorial.  They are both hefty reads and will be on my own list very soon.

Speaking of hefty reads, I am half-way through The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer, which also got bounteous praise this year, and I am not loving it.  But if you are in my book club, don’t let that deter you from reading it for February!  I don’t want to discuss it with myself that night.  Anyone else read it?

Finally, can I please tell you how smitten I am with a cookbook of 2013 called Heart  Of The Plate?  It’s written by Mollie Katzen, who in 2007 wrote a definitive vegetarian cookbook called The Moosewood Cookbook.  This one, also vegetarian, is bursting with flavor and color and scents that will fill your kitchen and your tummy with satisfaction.  Trust me- it’s wonderful.

What were your favorite reads of 2013?  Any busts?  Please share!

And if you believe that toddler story hours and book signings and author talks add value to your community, please don’t forget to support your local bookstores for at least some of your book purchases in 2014!

Happy reading, mes amis.

2 Comments

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2 responses to “2013- A Good Year for Books

  1. Ah! I didn’t know about Book Concierge! Cool! And yeah… I was not a fan of The Interestings either. Loved the concept, didn’t like the protag, and never felt like the story went anywhere. I really liked The Husband’s Secret by Australian author Liane Moriarty and for a light read, The Rosie Project, also by an Aussie.

  2. Cesar

    Kate, I just finished The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery. It was a very good read, and all happens in Paris!

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