The Best of 2013 – My Top Five In fiction

Unlike some I like to do my “Best of Lists” after the new year begins so that all of the previous year is in the books and I can truly asses what I have read.  It usually takes me some time to get my thoughts together but this year I am a little more on the ball. So on the first day of 2014, let’s kick off our review of 2013 starting with fiction.

But first, some stats from my 2013 reading:

  • 73 total books read
  • 17,705 pages
  • 49 were fiction
  • 20 were aimed at Young Adult, Middle Grade, or Children’s audiences
  • 24 were non-fiction
  • 12 were audiobooks

OK, now on to the Best of 2013 fiction section. Keep in mind these are just my favorites of the books I read not the best books published this year, etc. I picked the top five in each category and fiction is below. I will tackle Non-fiction and a grab bag of young adult, middle grade and children’s fiction separately.

Each book has a link to my review and a snippet from the review to give you a taste.  So these my attempt to highlight the five adult fiction books I enjoyed the most this year out of the roughly twenty I read.


 The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

I am not sure I can quite capture the elusive style of Neil Gaiman – it is uniquely his.  But it has something to do with the way he has not lost the openness, wonder and imagination of childhood as an “adult” but neither does he sentimentalize or sugar coat it.  He brings this magical quality to his storytelling and The Ocean at the End of the Lane is yet another example.

The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker

This is really a wonderful story and a great read; one that you can soak up and enjoy.  An amazing accomplishment for any novel yet alone a debut one. Highly recommended.

Bones of the Dark Moon by Richard E. Lewis

Lewis has written a captivating historical novel that highlights some dark but fascinating history in Bali during the cold war. It also offers an interesting and educational glimpse into the culture and complicated relationships of this part of the world. It accomplishes all of this while providing a suspenseful mystery.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

I have to admit up front, listening rather than reading it was a different experience (different from the mostly non-fiction I have been listening to), but I thoroughly enjoyed this elegant and engaging fantasy. Full of sparkling details, exotic and evocative characters, suspense, romance and imagination it really is an amazing debut. I think I may have to actually “read” the book to get a fuller appreciation for it.

This is How You Fall by Keith Dixon

Dixon brings a literary sensibility to the story even as he uses these familiar structures and blends in the noir and heist elements.  It is the elegance with which he describes the thoughts and emotions of his characters and the way he maps out the charged relationships.

An interesting list. Some favorites with Neil Gaiman, Richard Lewis and Keith Dixon and two great epic fantasies with Morgenstern and Wecker.  Four have a fantastical element and three a historical one.

What were your favorite fiction reads in 2013?

Kevin Holtsberry
I work in communications and public affairs. I try to squeeze in as much reading as I can while still spending time with my wife and two kids (and cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers and Michigan Wolverines during football season).

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.