2013 was another year filled with great books, new and old, in Canada and abroad. As usual, literary blogs and websites from around the world have collected lists of the best books of the year. Here’s a list of 2013’s best reading lists—a good way to get book recommendations for Christmas gifts or your own holiday reading!
1) The Millions
Apparently, The Millions is the first literary blog to have started the “Year in Reading” tradition. As always, this year, an impressive number of writers and cultural commentators offer their best books read this year on the popular online literary magazines. One of the most interesting details about The Millions Year in Reading is that contributors don’t limit themselves to books that were published in 2013, which means that recommendations offer an interesting mix of classics, rediscoveries, and new titles. Our very own Joseph Boyden, the judge for this year’s PRISM fiction contest, received a laudatory mention from Michael Bourne on his list.
3) The Guardian
On the other side of the pond, The Guardian’s books section has asked writers—Hilary Mantel, Eleanor Catton, Colm Toibin and many others—to name their favourite books of the year. The suggested titles veer towards the erudite; Jonathan Franzen recommends Command and Control by Eric Schlosser, a non-fiction book about the management of nuclear missiles.
On the more democratic side, Goodreads, aka Facebook for readers, is asking members to vote on their favourite books from 2013. Khaled Hosseini’s And the Mountains Echoed is currently standing in first place with nearly 25,000 votes.
5) The Daily Beast
The clever webmasters at The Daily Beast have kept their heads above the melee by collating the suggestions from best-of lists around the web and publishing the results. In the fiction category, the most recommended titles of 2013 are George Saunders’ Tenth of December, Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch, Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life, and Rachel Kushner’s The Flamethrowers.
Let’s also remember that in 2013 we lost a great Nobel laureate, the Irish poet Seamus Heaney, and won another, the incomparable Canadian short story writer Alice Munro. Both certainly deserve a mention for their majestic oeuvres, as well as a good read this holiday season.
Please share your favourite books of 2013 in the comments section below!