Lists, Reviews

Best Books of 2013

This week’s top ten list: Best (fiction) Books of 2013 (as hosted by The Broke and The Bookish). I decided to change things up a little bit and do a video/vlog (that word is ridiculous) to accompany my post. I couldn’t come up with a tenth book, but let’s pretend I did.  As always, be gentle – I ramble and there are mistakes and mispronunciations in it I’m sure. Just assume I purposefully put them in there to add to my down-to-earth charm. Doing this of sort of thing frightens me. 😉

In no particular order (despite them being numbered, they’re truly in no order), the video has all associated commentary:

9. & Sons by David Gilbert.

8. The Rathbones by Janice Clark.

7. Donnybrook by Frank Bill.

6. Burial Rites by Hannah Kent.

5. In the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods by Matt Bell.

4. The Good Lord Bird by James McBride.

3. Dirty Love by Andre Dubus III.

2. NOS4A2 by Joe Hill.

1. Double Feature by Owen King.

So what was your favorite book of 2013? I hope you all have a safe and happy new year.

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  • Ula @ Blog of Erised

    I haven’t read any of these but Nos4a2 sounds like a good read. I heard good things about it and might actually read it myself as well 🙂
    Happy reading and Happy New Year!
    My TTT

    • Rory

      If get the opportunity, I would absolutely recommend it. It’s one of my all time favorites.

  • Julie Merilatt

    Nice job Miss Rory. Happy new year!

    • Rory

      Thank you! Happy New Year!

  • bookbelle0819

    You have some great and appropriately dark stuff on here. The Good Lord Bird is one that I want to read very soon. Happy New Year!

    • Rory

      I hope you get to it sooner rather than later, it’s wonderful.

  • naomi88

    Great list! My to-read list just grew significantly.

    • Rory

      Then I have achieved my goal. 🙂

  • Andi (@estellasrevenge)

    Great job, Rory! I haven’t read a single book on your list which seems like a crime!

    • Rory

      Um, yes, yes it is. I don’t even know where to tell you to start…

  • Heather

    “I’m naturally deficient in moral fiber.”

    Hahaha! Have I ever told you how much I love the way you word things? You’re truly awesome.

    At least you only offered up a pinky finger, instead of…let’s say…a kidney or a boob or yourself. Now THAT would have been embarrassing. Heh.

    I also love B-movies. Love.

    I will definitely be reading all of these in the coming year. A couple of them are already on my to-read list, actually.

    Happy New Year, Rory!

    • Rory

      Well, thank you. That means a lot coming from you.

      (Fun fact: I didn’t even make it through the watching the whole video I got so annoyed with myself. I only got about four minutes in before I thought something along the lines of “for the love of all that’s holy, shut up Rory…next time I’m scripting myself.”)

      I’m usually at least semi-professional in emails, but desperate seems to work too. Maybe I’ll try a new tactic.

      My favorite: Maximum Overdrive. Little Emilio Estevez…

      My job is done. Happy New Year!

      • Heather

        We are always more critical of ourselves. I happen to love your unscripted videos. (Although, I haven’t started making my own videos yet because I can be verbose. That’s an understatement.) Both of your videos so far were great–I never told you to shut up on my end. Hee!

      • Heather

        Oh, and I’m more into the B horror movies. They’re so cheesy, they’re awesome.

        • Rory

          Sleepaway Camp!

          • Heather

            Yes! Hahaha! And Maximum Overdrive is horror, too, really.

  • picturemereading

    It is curious why we like a book or not..I think it is a blend of personality and experience…I am definitely in the house of thinking that all points of view are valid..I would never discount a book because it is termed too dark as long as I liked the themes it discusses! I think it is why I prefer the brontes..though my general reading taste is lighter!

    • Rory

      It is something I wonder about. I started reading Stephen King around age 11 and it just struck a nerve. I don’t know why, but I think my love of him stems from the good memories I had of his books as a child. Who knows…?

      And I love all the Brontes, though Wuthering Heights is my least favorite.

  • kristinshafel

    I have Burial Rites on my to-read shelf… waiting… sigh! I’ll get to it in 2014 for sure. Great list!

    • Rory

      It’s not something I would typically pick up, but I really enjoyed it and I’m so glad I did. I hope you get to it soon!

  • Carolyn O

    What Heather said– that is seriously hilarious. I really want to read & Sons — I got it out of the library but I couldn’t finish it in time! Back on the old wait list.

    Great list, and Happy New Year!

    • Rory

      Thanks! 🙂

      It’s one I really enjoyed. It got a fair amount of press when it was first released, but then fell off the face of the bookish earth. Happy New Year’s Day.

  • Leah

    I loved Burial Rites, but I am waaaay to squeamish to really enjoy In the House Upon the Dirt. The writing was gorgeous, but most of my margin notes said “ew.” Ha!

    • Rory

      The first boat scene after the miscarriage in In the House made me squirm. Yuck. So I totally understand your “ew”…

  • ebookclassics

    Okay, you guys had me at Maximum Overdrive and Sleepaway Camp!

    Your vlog was great! And yes, vlog is a weird word. I think it was wonderful that you’ve been trying to step out of your comfort zone a little to make these videos. Any plans for another one?

    • Rory

      YESSSS. B-movies for the win.

      Thanks. I’m also not partial to the words spork or moist. The rough plan is to try and do one every couple of months (so maybe 6 a year or so). I was thinking of doing on around Valentine’s Day because I’m incredibly anti-romance. I don’t know yet though… I like the way it challenges (it makes me think about how I talk about books in a different way).

  • Jennine G.

    Love your reasoning for liking darker literature! Burial Rites was tied for another book on my list for the year. The writing was beautiful. Like the Vlog…I think it’s your voice, it’s a nice, conversational voice. (Hmmm…is that creepy sounding?)

    • Rory

      It was so beautifully written. I still can’t believe how young the author is. I think she’s 28, which in my mind makes her young because it’s younger than me. 😉

      And thanks, I always think I still sound like a little kid. It’s weird to have a one sided conversation while making these things, I’m glad to know I sound fairly natural.

  • Brooke

    Loved the vlog and you had an exceptional 2013 list. One of the best I’ve seen. Have a Happy New Year!

    • Rory

      Thanks! You were one of my original inspirations to start doing them. I’m glad you liked the list. Sometimes I worry I’m not well-rounded enough, and then…I stop worrying about it and just go with it. At this point it would be weird if I started heavily promoting women’s fiction or romance.

  • Shannon @ River City Reading

    I’m starting to think I can pretty much trust anything you love, so I’m going to have to add everything I haven’t read here to my TBR. Looks like you had a great year of reading!

    • Rory

      Well, I think I’m pretty trustworthy, so that means you should definitely read Donnybrook.

      I can’t complain. Oddly enough, I didn’t consider this a great reading year because I didn’t have a book like Tell the Wolves I’m Home or The Art of Fielding, but overall I was quite pleased.

  • booksaremyfavouriteandbest

    Really, you’re so good at v-logs.

    Still haven’t read Double Feature (even though I bought a hard back as soon as it was released….). For that matter, still haven’t read Empire Falls….

    • Rory

      Aw, thanks. It’s not such a bad experience anymore, though it’s still fairly horrifying. I don’t edit videos (pure laziness) and I’m a one or two takes only kind of person (too many things to do), so it comes out as it comes out. Which is hopefully not horrible…

      In order of reading: Tell the Wolves I’m Home, Empire Falls, Double Feature.

  • Christine @ BookishlyB

    One should always have a good time with incest. Just kidding. And once again- massive credit to you for doing a vlog (I too hate that word… just like fiancee, hubby and moist). Happy new year!

    • Rory

      I’m not… 😉

      Thanks! There should be another one in February with me spouting my anti-Valentine’s Day sentiments. Hubby…makes me shudder, as does spork. I will never, not ever called the person I’m married to hubby. It just won’t ever happen.

      And Happy New Year!

  • Care

    Delightful. It’s a pleasure to follow this blog.

    • Rory

      Why thank you!

  • Charleen

    I still have to read NOS4A2. I’m sort of curious about & Sons, but I just don’t know that it’s my kind of book. I’ve heard raves about it, I’m sure it’s incredible… but not necessarily something I’d enjoy.

    My #1 for the year is The Green Mile. I read it in February and nothing else could top it the whole rest of the year.

    • Rory

      & Sons is very…literary. It’s also very good of course.

      And of course Stephen King is the best. 😉

  • lauratfrey

    Have you read any Irvine Welsh (Trainspotting etc?) I think you need too. It’s great for people lacking in moral fibre.

    I had my had on Dirty Love today (sounds wrong!) buuutt it was next to House of Sand and Fog which I remember not liking. I may have been too young when I read it though, I remember it being a little over my head.

    I love your videos, please keep doing them.

    • Rory

      I have read Trainspotting and LOVED it. I haven’t gotten to Skagboys yet, but it’s on my list.

      I like Dirty Love better than House…but I like House too. It actually has one of my favorite quotes: Dat’s what they say of this cauntry back home, Kath: ‘America, the land of milk and honey.’ Bot they never tell you the milk’s gone sour and the honey’s stolen.

      And thanks. It really does make me feel better.

      • lauratfrey

        Porno and Glue are good too.

        I might reread House… been thinking about rereading some books I read and either didn’t finish or didn’t “get” and give them a second chance.

  • RebeccaScaglione – Love at First Book

    I just read Burial Rites and loved it for sure! Yay for another fabulous vlog! Keep them coming! 😀

    • Rory

      Thanks! Burial Rites was so beautifully written, I’m a bit in awe of Hannah Kent.

      I think vlogs will be a semi-regular feature (maybe 6x a year…?).

      • Rebecca Scaglione – Love at First Book

        That’s awesome! I am shooting for 1 vlog per month.

  • Catherine

    I love your videos so much I put this one on my FB page- a welcome change from all the standard lists the rest of us did!

    I got to meet David Gilbert in Portland and he was so charming and down-to-earth. I was a moderating a panel he was on and had NO clue what to do but he made it easy.

    Did not finish Dirty Love but sounds like I should!

    • Rory


      Denver is practically a literary void. Yes, we have the Tattered Cover which is great, but it is often so hard to get into events there (they are ticketed and limited). Often authors skip right over the mountainous region and head straight to the west coast.

      Dirty Love is good, but SO, SO depressing.

  • Allison @ The Book Wheel

    Wow. I haven’t read ANY of those! I really need to get on it!

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