Sound the Horns! G’s Ten Best Books of 2013!!!!

It was a not-so-great year for reading. Meaning not that there is a shortage of quality literature, rather that I did not get to read as much as I would have liked. However, what I did read and enjoy, I really, really enjoyed. Everyone who has done one of these lists names their usual suspects; the big NYT bestsellers, old reliable authors cranking out their 26,501st novel (finger pointing at you, Patterson), the Oprah 2.0 picks, and the books the big authors pick. i rather enjoy reading what the book bloggers pick, as well as what indie bookstores and their associated publishers pick, opposed to the big guns named first. So here are my picks for 2013’s best books.

1. The Book of Someday- Dianne Dixon. This was a hard choice- it was firmly tied between this and the runner up, #2 (which is not at all a #2). However, Dianne’s book kept me up at night. Late. I never lost interest in this. Never set it down. And have had a hell of a time selling it in the somewhat upscale town that the store I work at is in. I’m not sure why this fantastic novel has had such a hard time finding a receptive audience in the BR, but my assistant manager and I love it and continue to recommend it to everyone. A book about three radically different women whose lives intersect in the strangest ways, leading up to a stunning conclusion that no one sees coming. And better yet, when it’s over, you’re pissed that it’s over! I cannot tell you people enough, this is the best book I have read this year, and you need to read it also.

2. The Rosie Project-Graeme Simsion. This is the runner up and it almost toppled, if not tied with, The Book of Someday, as my top pick. I haven’t laughed my ass off this much with a book since Domestic Violets.  Books came and went, and none have come close- until this book. Most of the indie booksellers had sent out notifications to the indie bookstores that this was their INDIE NEXT pick, and I had read a couple of those and hadn’t been thrilled, so I was a little iffy. However, the bright red cover with the whimsical font captured me. I read the first chapter and almost peed my pants, so I knew I was off to a good start. I read that book in under a day, which is not an easy feat these days. A brilliant professor with autistic overtones is looking for a mate, and goes about it in the most unlikely ways possible; including handing out a 16 page, double spaced survey to potential mates. He meets his match in the feisty, foul-mouthed Rosie, but both fight their feelings and join forces- for him to find a potential mate, and for her to find her biological father. What happens? Read it and find out! And then get everyone who has a sense of humor to read it!

3. Ministry: The Lost Gospels According to Al Jourgensen-Al Jourgensen. I had a period of time in the last ten years where I could not listen to Ministry, due to my other best friend Jennie playing them so much, that I actually got tired of them (I know, what the hell is wrong with me???). However, in the past two years, in times of trouble, Brother Al has come to me, screaming words of wisdom, Ministry, Ministry. (sorry, Sir Paul, but I’m sick of that song, I like it this way better). When my friend Dave told me that Al had a book coming out, I was thrilled. It was beyond fantastic. It was definitely the best music bio I’ve read in years (sorry to Rod Stewart, John Taylor, and Neil Young, as much as I loved those books, this one, well, blows you all into dark, murky waters). Al Jourgensen has a way of telling you things that makes you want to sit down and drink some red wine with him and listen to him ramble. It’s a book that I will be able and want to pick up and re-read again, if not for the heart beating behind it, but for the slightly insane madcap man who tells the story of his life, his music, and those he feels wronged by.

4. Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room-Greg Sestero. Another film I had not heard of, until my friend Dave’s blog post about watching the movie The Room.  There were many references to it at work as well. So that left me curious about it, not enough that I have yet drank a whole box of wine and watched it (for I honestly fear that’s what it will take for me to sit down through this film). Anyway, Greg Sestero is one of the stars of this cult film, and you get the inside story (but really, do you?) of the film, his own career, and more importantly- the kook behind the movie, Mr. Tommy Wiseau. To say this person is odd doesn’t cover it. My review of it, as disjointed fragments as the life of Wiseau himself, was  posted several weeks back. I had two whole sheets of looseleaf paper with handwritten questions and observations of things that made up this book. It is hilarious, frightening, and I guarantee no other book you will read will ever be as odd as this one is.  And that’s precisely why you should read it.

5. The Truth In Advertising- John Kenney.  Another debut novel by Kenney. Prior to The Rosie Project, I had read this and it was right up there with Domestic Violets. I read this in January of 2013, so it goes back a way, but I had a hard time getting the posse to buy it at the store. I hope that someone out in lonely cyber bookspace reads this and decides to give it a shot. It is a wickedly funny story of an advertising exec whose father is dying, whose career is in flux, and whose on the verge of calling off his engagement and just may be a little in love with his friend and assistant. Sounds like something you can identify with? Parts of it- definitely. Even if not, I guarantee you will pick up this incredibly heartwarming book and you’ll love it on first read.

6. Chanel Bonfire- Wendy Lawless. I read this all the way back in February, and it’s still sticking around my subconscious. I read the book in under 3 hours. I could not set it down. Wendy Lawless and her sister are caught in the bipolar bubble of her mother’s mental illness. They are told her father is dead, and then they are both whisked away to a new location, a new home, a new school, a new everything. What happens with their mother as they both try to live the lives of normal children, is compelling and frightening as well. Think Glass Castle meets Mommie Dearest and you have this memoir. It is breathtaking in the worst way, and you hope to the ends of the Earth that Wendy and her sister manage to survive and live a life of some normalcy, despite the nightmare they are trapped in with their mother. Absolutely riveting.

7. The World’s Strongest Librarian- Josh Hanagarne. This was probably my first favorite heartwarming memoir read in 2013. It reminded me a lot of Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers. In his early teens, Josh discovers he has Tourette’s, but never lets it break his sense of humor. He doesn’t have it easy with school mates, he doesn’t hit a home run with the ladies because everytime he tries to pick them up, due to the tics.  The overly religious Mormon upbringing doesn’t really ring his bells, but books, libraries, and weightlifting do!What a combo! And what a home run he hits out of the park with his attempts to live a normal life while enjoying a life full of books, challenges, and an attempt to find his way through the curve balls of life. I love, love, love the book and his voice. I wish more people had picked up the book at the store, but it was not to be, despite my attempts. I hope I can reach out via the blog and get someone to pick it up. They won’t be sorry.

8. Gluten Is My Bitch- April Peveteaux. In March of this year, I found out I have a sensitivity to gluten. That was hard enough to think of, considering my longest love affair to date was with any loaf of bread that crossed my path. However, the way the gluten was making me feel, was not an affair I wanted to have in the first place. My friend at work found the book in the store and suggested I read it. I did, and I corresponded back and forth a little bit with the author on Twitter. I found her story, her suggestions on a gluten-free life, and her recipes not only helpful, but her voice was original, sarcastic, and hilarious all at the same time. Definitely my favorite help book this year. I learned so much about gluten and how to avoid it making me feel like a human sewage ball, and I will recommend this to anyone who finds out gluten is an evil bitch and needs to be banished. April’s book is the first stop on a happier and healthier road.

9. The Obituary Writer-Ann Hood.  I read this book mid-year and loved it.  I was thrilled to see that Ladies Home Journal just picked it as their book club pick last month. This will go down as the book that I was so hooked on finishing that I missed Game 2 of the  Chicago Blackhawks Championship Series because of it. A story of one woman who’s trying to hold her family together while denying herself true happiness, while the story of another woman from generations before, an obituary writer, intersects with her story and changes her life in innumerable, far-reaching ways. Another book where the end completely takes your breath away, and you’re sorry to see it end as much as you’ll be sorry finding another book as awesome as this is.

10. The Shining Girls-Lauren Beukes. This one was on my radar, albeit briefly, due to an author dinner that Lisa Lisa invited us to (of course, I didn’t make it. Dad was in the hospital being evaluated). Then I forgot about it, until we got the book in. Then I read the review and something about that creepy ass cover reminded me of the movie poster for Silence of the Lambs. Sold! I got it out, and finished it in 3 days. It did creep me out to the point that I did not sleep well during those 3 nights, but it was well worth it. I would describe it as a mixture of Devil In The White City, The Alienist by Caleb Carr,  and throw in the movie Road To Perdition for good measure. It is spellbinding, and you have no idea what the fuck is going to happen until it does, and you’re stunned. Definitely a page-turner, creepy as hell, win of a book.

There you have it! By no means is it a complete list, I could have gone 20, but most of these year-ending best of lists only do 10, so who am I to do differently? Oh wait…anyway, looking forward to 2014 and the new books that await!


~ by generationgbooks on December 27, 2013.

2 Responses to “Sound the Horns! G’s Ten Best Books of 2013!!!!”

  1. Glad to see 2 of my recommended books made the list. I’m good for something!

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