2013 Reading Year in Review

by K.M. Zahrt


As part of my 2013 resolutions, I resolved to read 26 books in 2013–one every two weeks. Well, I failed–not miserably so, but failure nonetheless. I ended the year with 22 (listed below). A few non-fiction books are marked with asterisks to indicate that I read enough of those books that I didn’t feel it would be fair (to me) to leave them off the list. The titles marked with two asterisks are books I read for my day job as a fundraiser, so they may not be of interest to you, if you’re not in fundraising.

I ranked the list using a 10-point system. Each book received one point automatically for being a book worth reading. I assure you enough books were begun and abandoned to warrant an entire list of their own. Then, each book received a rating of one to three points in each of the following categories: educational value, entertainment value, and readability (everything from ‘I had to slog through’ to ‘I enjoyed savoring the prose’ or ‘I couldn’t stop reading’). Therefore, possible scores ranged from 4-10 points. I ranked the ties using a highly sophisticated algorithm too elaborate to be worth your time reading the explanation (I liked it better).

1. Equilateral by Ken Kalfus (2013) – 10
2. The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson (2012) – 10
3. The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri (2013) – 10
4. *Joseph Anton by Salman Rushdie (2012) – 10
5. The Circle by Dave Eggers (2013) – 9
6. The Road by Cormac McCarthy (2006) – 9
7. Transatlantic by Colum McCann (2013) – 8
8. Crum by Lee Maynard (1988) – 8
9. The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller (1995) – 8
10. *Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose by Flannery O’Connor (1957) – 8
11. *Arguably by Christopher Hitchens (2011) – 8
12. Donnybrook by Frank Bill (2013) – 8
13. *Hemingway: The Final Years by Michael Reynolds (1999) – 8
14. **Enchantment by Guy Kawasaki (2011) – 8
15. *Hemingway’s Boat by Paul Hendrickson (2011) – 7
16. Disgrace by J. M Coetzee (1999) – 7
17. Maidenhead by Tamara Faith Berger (2012) – 7
18. How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia by Mohsin Hamid (2013) – 7
19. **How to Become a Rainmaker by Jeffrey J. Fox (2000) – 7
20. The Eye in the Door by Pat Barker (1995) – 6
21. Point Omega by Don DeLillo (2010) – 6
22. The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan (2012) – 6

Looking back, it was a great year for reading. Let me know what books you enjoyed this year and what books should make my 2014 list.


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