Happy New Year! Here are my five (well, six) favorite books that I read in the past year. (They were not all published in 2013, although some were).
5. STILL LIFE WITH HUSBAND by Lauren Fox & HELP FOR THE HAUNTED by John Searles (tie)
I discovered STILL LIFE by accident in a bookstore. Fox does an excellent job of rendering the protagonist’s struggle in developing feelings for someone other than her spouse. This was a great example of a not necessarily likable or relatable character who’s still interesting to read about.
I wrote about wanting to read HELP FOR THE HAUNTED before, and it lived up to my expectations. The book has been categorized as horror by some publications, but for me it was mainstream or literary fiction with strong undertones of creepiness, and sometimes that’s even scarier than overt horror.
4. THE ENGAGEMENTS by J. Courtney Sullivan
Another one I was looking forward to and ending up loving. Sullivan jumps around in time to different characters and story lines, yet nothing feels disjointed. One of her strengths as a writer, in my opinion, is enriching the plot through detailed descriptions of her characters’ pasts.
3. GIRLS IN WHITE DRESSES by Jennifer Close
Though billed as a novel, this reads more as a book of connected short stories about the lives of twenty-something, white urban women. Everything about Close’s portrayal was spot-on, from the tangled relationships to drinking to weddings. One of my favorite chapters was “The Candidate,” about a woman dating a man obsessed with electing a politician who is obviously Barack Obama, though his name is never mentioned, which makes it feel even more universal. The book is darker than the cover lets on, which for me was a plus.
2. ME BEFORE YOU by JoJo Moyes
I don’t know how to describe this novel other than saying that I laughed out loud and at times cried so hard I had to put down the book. It’s visceral and unpredictable and surprisingly not depressing. I loved it. The cover design is great too.
1. THREE WISHES by Liane Moriarty
Moriarty is my favorite author of the year; I read all 5 of her novels, and any one of them could easily be my favorite book of the year. Three Wishes, her first, stands out because her depiction of the relationship of triplets was so relatable to my own life. I can’t wait for Moriarty to write another novel.
Happy reading in 2014!