Monday, January 6, 2014

Best Of 2013: Books

This was not a stellar year for reading, both in quantity and quality. I did not really read many books that I couldn't put down. I also did not really read very many books period. However, there were still some that were pretty darn good. Here are the top five in no particular order. 

Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum: I usually enjoy WWII books, and this one did not disappoint. This is a dual story about a modern day daughter of a German woman who went through the war. The daughter tries to find out more about her mother's story, even though her mother does not want to talk about it. At the same time, we learn the mother's story, and it is a heart-wrenching story of survival.

Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcom Gladwell: This is an interesting take on how success is not always due to brains, but sometimes is due to positioning. For example, it opines that the best hockey players are born in a certain month, giving them a few month's advantage on the other players and causing most of the pros to be born in this month.
 
The Boleyn Inheritance by Phillipa Gregory:  I like how Gregory takes a real story and embellishes it enough to make it interesting but doesn't lose the truth of it all. This is a story about Anne of Cleves, Jane Rocheford and Katherine Howard, and of course, King Henry VIII, who you see as a gouty womanizer. Anne of Cleves is one of King Henry's only wives that he doesn't have killed, and as you know, he had a lot of wives! The story is full of lies and deceit and adultery. It's very entertaining.
 
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khalid Hossein: A story about two women in Afghanistan, where the rights of women are not quite the same as you or I are used to. The two woman are two generations apart and both end up forced into the same household, yet they find a commonality and a friendship that cannot be matched. 

State of Wonder by Anne Patchett: This story was strange but it drew me in because of it's subject matter. A story about an Amazonian tribe in Brazil and a scientist who goes there to try to find out about a miracle drug that is causing miracles within the tribe. The characters find out some pretty interesting things about the tribe, find out what's causing the miracle, and they make friends and learn things about themselves along the way.

Hopefully this year I will get more chances (or MAKE more) to read and will find a lot of new great books for 2014! Do you have any recommendations? 

What were your favorite books for 2013? What is your favorite book ever?