Another year gone, another mountain of books added to the floor of my bedroom like literary lava, forcing me to Frogger-hop my way to the bathroom in the middle of the night every time I have to get up to go pee. In 2102 I had a thing for dystopian teen fiction and in 2013 my life revolved around Harry Potter. I realize I’m over a DECADE late on this and I’m not sorry at all about it. I will take this moment to publicly acknowledge the fact that K. has long been ranting and raving about the magical world of Hogwarts and not only did I not take her seriously, I’m pretty sure I openly mocked her for it on more than one occasion. Still not sorry. But in 2013 I moved in with a new roommate, thereby gaining access to an entire new library of possibilities and thus, my journey at Hogwarts began. I didn’t read all seven books in a row, though. I mean… c’mon. I’m an adult.
Anyways, here’s a recap of everything I read (in order) in 2013 and whether or not YOU should do the same:
Black Swan Green – David Mitchell
David Mitchell is a popular and critically acclaimed author and yet I haven’t read either one of his most famous novels (Cloud Atlas and number9dream). Up until this point, the only book of his I had read was The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet and I loved it so much I will probably read it again this year. Black Swan Green was recommended to me by a friend and I really owe him a high five for it. It’s a beautiful (semi-autobiographical) story about a young boy with a stammer coming of age in England during the early 1980s and even though I have zero in common with that, it stole my heart nonetheless.
Ghostwritten – David Mitchell
I bought this book at the same time as Black Swan Green because when I decide to do something, I fucking COMMIT to it. And I’m happy I did, because this is a stunning book. It has nine narrators (NINE!) from across the globe whose stories and lives all intersect in some way. If that doesn’t hook you right there, then I have absolutely no way of connecting with you as a human. Goodbye.
Bone Black – bell hooks
Every human being should read bell hooks. That’s all I have the capacity to say about her and this book.
The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through The Madness Industry – Jon Ronson
I’ve always been fascinated (obsessed?) with the fine line between genius and madness and this book just fuelled that fire. This was by no means an academic read and it obviously trivialized some really complex issues of mental health and the societal institutions surrounding it, but I’m no scientist and I found it pretty interesting. I also became convinced that 90% of the people around me are psychopaths which then made me question whether or not it’s ME who is actually the psychopath and then I didn’t leave my house for a few days, so COOL STORY, BRO.
Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn
Meh. I mean, it was interesting. There aren’t many books like this out there. If you like plot twists and suspense and sexy times – pick this one up. It’s entertaining. But I didn’t seem to like it as much as I feel I was supposed to. They’re making this into a movie with Ben Affleck, and I’m already prepared for it to be fucking terrible.
Harry Potter + The Philosopher’s Stone – J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter + The Chamber of Secrets – J.K. Rowling
ALL HAIL HARRY POTTER. These first two books were written for 11 year olds and they’re fucking great. I read them both in one weekend which made me feel a lot better about the fact that they’re books for 11 year olds.
When You Are Engulfed in Flames – David Sedaris
Sometimes you need to take a break from Hogwarts and when you need to take a break from anything in life, reading David Sedaris is undoubtedly the perfect way to do that. He’s a pretty funny dude and his writing is razor-sharp. If you like authors like Chuck Klosterman, or Dave Eggers and you haven’t read any Sedaris, don’t even finish reading this blog post and go start.
Harry Potter + The Prisoner of Azkaban – J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter + The Goblet of Fire – J.K. Rowling
I read these on an overnight Greyhound bus ride to New York City. WORST DECISION EVER. Great books, though.
Eating Animals – Jonathan Safran Foer
Whether you eat meat or not – read this book. Period.
On Writing – Stephen King
This book changed my life. It’s also the first book I’ve ever read by Stephen King.
Harry Potter + The Order of the Phoenix – J.K. Rowling
Yo, shit starts to get REAL in this book. First of all, it’s like 800 pages. That means it was way too big for me to carry around in my purse and whip out on the subway.
Bag of Bones – Stephen King
The second book I’ve ever read by Stephen King, and I fucking FLEW through it. So good, in that Stephen King kinda way.
Downtown Owl – Chuck Klosterman
Klosterman, man. He’s hit or miss for me but this one was a hit, folks. I read it in one sitting.
The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
This is one of those books that people who don’t read a lot of books consistently bring up in conversation when they’re trying to bond with you and I figured I should read it so that I can be better in social situations. It’s also the only book my mom has read in like 8 years. It’s a good book, though.
Harry Potter + The Half Blood Prince – J.K. Rowling
This is the point at which Harry Potter begins to give me nightmares. WHY IS HARRY POTTER GIVING ME NIGHTMARES.
This Is How You Lose Her – Junot Díaz
This was my favourite read of 2013 (sorry Harry) and it has been sitting in a deep and hidden corner of my heart ever since.
Harry Potter + The Deathly Hallows – J.K. Rowling
After reading every other Harry Potter book, reading this one is like a family reunion, a going away party and graduation all wrapped into one. And if you thought that a children’s fiction series couldn’t have a long-lasting impact on you as a fully grown adult with her shit together than BOY WERE YOU EVER WRONG. I’m now that person who drops Harry Potter references into everyday conversation and what makes it even more annoying is that I’m SEVEN YEARS LATE in doing it. I’m a really big hit at parties.
That’s it for 2013. Now it’s time for you to tell me what to read in 2014.