Book Talk for 2013

It’s time to talk about the best reads for 2013. This list is not just for books published in 2013 but, rather, the books that I read during this year. I had a stellar year, as far as reading goes. I read 76 books this year. I have never read that many books before. Ever. I don’t really know why the number has increased as my reading habits have not changed. I still only read for an hour or two before going to bed. No matter. The book geek in me was quite excited to see the book tally increase as the weeks went by.

My list includes non-fiction as well as fiction. Here are my top 10 reads for 2013:

Tolstoy and the Purple Chair by Nina Sankovitch. The author was reeling from her sister’s death so she decided to deal with her grief by reading for a year. A book about books? I’m so in.

The Light Between Oceansby M.L.Stedman. A couple find a baby in a boat and decide to keep her. I thought this well-written.

Astray by Emma Donoghue. I wasn’t expecting this kind of book from the author of Room. This is a collection of short stories. These stories came about from snippets of newspaper and magazine articles or just little tidbits the author came upon in her travels. Excellent book.

Desiring the Kingdom by James K.A. Smith. This book has changed how I teach. I have brought liturgy into my teaching. Liturgy has put learning on a new level, may I go so far as to say a soul level?

A Million Little Ways by Emily P. Freeman. I don’t think I have even covered the surface of this little book. This is a book that demands to be read over and over in order to get full justice out of its pages. Even a surface reading of this book has changed my life and how I see what I do.

The Office of Assertion by Scott Crider. This book is about rhetoric and writing. Sounds dull, doesn’t it? But it was the most fascinating book I have ever read about writing (and believe me, I have read my fair share of writing books.) I will be using this book with Tessa as we progress with writing through high school.

And The Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini. I have read Hosseini’s other two books (The Kite Runner, Ten Thousand Suns) and have liked both of them but came away each time with a sense of acute depression. Those books were upsetting so I expected nothing less from this book. I was wrong. They were some upsetting moments in the book but the overall impression was not that of depression. I really liked this book and how the characters–from different countries and different times–connected with each other. Well-written and well told. Hosseini is a very good story teller.

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce. I have talked about this book before so suffice it to say that Harold Fry touched me deeply and has stayed with me long after the book was done.

Letters to a Young Scientist by Edward O. Wilson. Wilson is a Pullitzer Prize winning scientist. This book is full of advice to young people who want to go into science–any field of science. I found this an easy read, as well as an interesting one.

Speak Love by Annie Downs. Christian non-fiction. This book is written for teens but it impacted even this old woman (well, middle-aged woman but, right now, I feel old.) This book has encouraged me to start a journal, have a reading plan for my Bible and to be more aware of the words that come out of my mouth–to be aware of them before they come out rather than trying to heal the damage after they come out. This was a pre-read for Tessa–she is to read it in Jan.–I am looking forward to discussing this with her.

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5 Responses to Book Talk for 2013

  1. I’m so glad you left me a link- this list sounds right up my alley. I have A Million Little Ways on my kindle but haven’t gotten around to reading it- maybe I need to shuffle it to the top, eh? And I’m definitely reading Desiring the Kingdom in January. Have you heard Jenny Rallens’ lecture on the same topic? It’s here: and it’s SO GOOD!

    • I think, in your season of life, A Million Little Ways might be an encouragement to you right now, Sarah.This is where I was introduced to the idea that I am God’s poem. That idea changed how I see some of the mundane aspects of my life. And, yes, I have listened to Rallens’ talk. That was what led me to Desiring the Kingdom. Thanks for popping over here. It was a delight to see your name in my comments box.

  2. stephanie says:

    Wow. There are several books on your list that I’ll be looking for. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry sounds very interesting and I keep seeing Desiring the Kingdom pop up in many of the blogs I read and that’s usually a sign that I need to find myself a copy. : ) And, I’m so glad to hear that you liked Speak Love. I bought that for my daughter for Christmas and want to read it along with her. I’ve heard good things about that one as well, and glad to hear that you also enjoyed it!

    Thanks for visiting my blog today – I enjoyed reading your list!

    • Stephanie, thanks for popping over. I am seeing fruit from reading Speak Love already and my daughter hasn’t even read it yet. This has made me more aware of what comes out of my mouth. Also, the appendix of this book is really cool! There are recipes in it, music and book suggestions–all the things that make my heart beat a bit faster. 🙂

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