Books I read in 2013

Photo Jan 05, 3 28 19 PMIf you’ve seen my reading lists before, you may notice that 2013 is a lot shorter. I spent ’11 and ’12 reading young adult novels, and due to their fast pacing and relative intellectual shallowness (I don’t mean that in a bad way), I could usually finish one in just a few days. I even started 2013 by reading three YA novels, but when I looked for another one to read I found myself wanting something more substantial.

It probably sounds like I’m bashing on YA books, but I assure you, I’m not. There are good YA books and very good YA authors, and they have my respect. I simply found myself wanting steak and potatoes after eating salad for so long. That being said, I will definitely read more YA novels in the future, and there are particular authors that I grew to love who I will keep watching.

Now on to the reading list for 2013, and after that some thoughts on the books I loved.

Favorite Authors

Rachel Hartman was my new favorite YA author for the year. Her debut novel Seraphina was about a world where dragons exist and can shape-shift into human form. Seraphina is a young girl who hides a secret that could threaten her life. The writing was wonderful, there was beautiful music, and the world is very well formed and thought-out. Rachel is writing a sequel, which is scheduled to be published in the far, far off year of 2015.

I haven’t read much sci-fi over the years, but Jack McDevitt sprung out of nowhere to be an author who I expect I will enjoy for years to come. His book Eternity Road was the first adult novel I had read in quite some time, and at first the slow pace threw me off a bit. But I quickly came to appreciate how he took his time setting up the world (a new civilization grows up in the ruins of our modern day, having only overgrown highways, rusted cars, and broken skyscrapers) and how in-depth the characters were. A Talent For War was also very good, starring the re-occurring antiques dealer-turned-detective Alex Benedict. I have three more of Jack’s books waiting on the bookshelf.

Starting in January I listened to audio books while running, and my first fiction audio book was Mistborn, by Brandon Sanderson. I went on to listen to the entire trilogy, and Brandon is an incredible author. The world he builds is so detailed and layered, from the characters use metals to give themselves powers, to the strategies and over-arcing plot in all three books. He surprisingly talked a lot about religion, even though a lot of fantasy books are devoid of organized religion. His books are long, but I plan to read more of his work.

Books for 2014

In the past I have tried to alternate between fiction, non-fiction (usually history), and theology books, but it’s been a while since I’ve done that. I want to get back to that in 2014.

Kenneth Oppel has a new book coming out in April called Boundless, and anything he writes I will read. I’m sure I’ll read more Jack McDevitt, as well as possibly re-read certain books that I loved the first time around, like The Song of Albion trilogy by Stephen Lawhead or Hunter by James Bryon Huggins.

In the non-fiction genre, there are several books on creativity and faith that are on my list, such as Heart of An Artist by Rory Noland or Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art, by Madeleine L’Engle. I also have some history books about Arthur, the Celts, and Tolkien that have been sitting on my shelves for years that would be nice to finally read.

Finally on the theology side, I’d like to read more from John Eldredge and Andrew Murray. These are often books I keep by on the nightstand and read slowly throughout the year.

So there you have it! I hope you got some suggestions for your reading list this year. I’d love to hear what you read and liked in 2013, so leave a comment below!

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4 thoughts on “Books I read in 2013

  1. Monica

    I’ve never read a YA book before, which one should I read? Are they for entertainment or do you learn anything? Seraphina sounds intresting.

  2. Jesse Koepke

    Whether you learn something or not depends on the book. They definitely can be a bit shallow and full of angsty teen romance. But they aren’t all like that.

    Airborn by Kenneth Oppel is one of my absolute favorites. 10 Cents a Dance by Christine Fletcher is a historical fiction book and fantastic. And of course The Hunger Games is good. Seraphina is definitely good, and a bit more substantial than others.

  3. Enid

    In 2013 I read these books (and a couple more I can’t remember):
    – The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller
    – The Sacred Search by Gary Thomas
    – Wonder by R.J. Palacio
    – A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
    – Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple
    – Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan
    – The Timekeeper by Mitch Albom
    – Is Everybody Hanging Out Without Me by Mindy Kaling
    – The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupery
    – I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella
    – To The Moon and Back by Jill Mansell
    – Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella

    The first two are well, about relationships and Christian living and they were excellent. The rest were mostly fiction, except for “Dad is Fat” and “Is Everybody Hanging out Without Me?”, which were just hilarious. Of those fiction ones, I’d say, Hosseini’s was the most emotional one, so heart-gripping. And then a bunch of chick lit. I don’t think you would want to read those. Ha.

    I am currently reading “Unapologetic: Why, Despite Everything, Christianity Can Still Make Surprising Emotional Sense” by Francis Spufford and “Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption” by Laura Hillenbrand. This second one, I can’t put down. And after I’m done with those, I want to read “And The Mountains Echoed by Hosseini, and those C.S. Lewis books I’ve never read, like “Till We Have Faces”. :)

  4. daniellerizzo

    My fiction highlight of 2013 was The Count of Monte Cristo. It’s long, at over 1,000 pages, but I found it worth the investment. Alexandre Dumas was really good at weaving believable characters. The story has so many great elements; treasure, mercy, forgiveness, retribution… It’s solid.

    On the non-fiction side I read Andrew Murray’s Humility for the first time and plan to read that one yearly, so good!

    A few others I read:
    -The City of Ember by Jeanne Duprau
    -The People of Sparks by Jeanne Duprau
    -North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
    -Becoming Myself by Stasi Eldredge
    -The Fisherman’s Lady by George MacDonald
    -The Marquis’ Secret by George MacDonald

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