The Best Books of 2013
In today's issue, we are celebrating the books we loved this year--the 30 Best Books of 2013. It was an arduous process in which cutting the initial list down to a mere 87 titles was considered a triumph. So we're going to cheat and add a few more to our 30 Best:
Ron Carlson continues to amaze with his lyricism in Return to Oakpine, a novel about work and friendship. Nathan Filer's haunting Where the Moon Isn't is "equal parts family drama, mystery, coming-of-age and meditation on mental illness." In Harvest, an English tenant farm collapses under a new landlord; one of our reviewers said it is author Jim Crace's masterpiece. In Hannah Kent's Burial Rites, a young woman in 19th-century Iceland is accused of murder, in a tale uplifting and overpowering in its telling. Ken Bruen's extremely noir Purgatory, the latest Jack Taylor story, sees the Irish mystery writer at the top of his always brilliant craft.
Collision Low Crossers chronicles the year Nicholas Dawidoff spent with unlimited access to the New York Jets. It's a fascinating, incisive look at football, written in prose that soars like a perfect pass. Poe Ballantine's Love and Terror on the Howling Planes of Nowhere could get a nod purely for its title, but it's also a funny memoir mixed with a crime investigation. A different sort of mystery unfolds in My Beloved Brontosaurus, where Brian Switek engagingly explores the differences between what we know and what we think we know about dinosaurs.
And for children and young adults: we loved Frog Trouble by Sandra Boynton, whose title song still repeats like a coda through our thoughts, with visions of dancing pigs, dogs, frogs and crocodiles; and Cynthia Kadohata's glorious homage to the Midwest, The Thing About Luck. Plus Holly Black's Doll Bones and Neil Gaiman's The Ocean at the End of the Lane, chronicles of crossing the threshold out of childhood that continue to haunt us. --Marilyn Dahl, editor, Shelf Awareness for Readers, and Jennifer M. Brown, children's editor, Shelf Awareness