2013 End of the Year Book Survey…and Then Some

This is my last post for the year, so of course, here’s a list of all the books I read in 2013 which includes a novels from a Nobel Laureate (2012), a Pulitzer Prize recipient, (2013), a Man Booker Prize recipient (2013), a failed nom de plume, a former spy, and a couple of novels from popular writers who haven’t published a novel in a while…



So many life-changing things happened to me this year, and in looking at my book list, I’m a bit surprised that I read them all in 2013.  Some felt like I had read them ages ago – so long ago that I can’t even clearly remember what they were about.

I didn’t think I got to read a lot of good books this year – mostly because my choices were so random, and again I was surprised upon looking at my list that I actually read a lot of good novels by some seriously renowned writers – 2012 Nobel Laureate, Mo Yan, and 2013 Pulitzer Prize winner, Adam Johnson, and the recipient of the 2013 Man Booker Prize, Eleanor Catton.  There were also a handful of “light” novels which were highly entertaining and great for killing time (The Yard and The Black Country, both by Alex Grecian).  I also ventured a little outside my comfort zone with spy novels by John Le Carre, which did not turn out quite as well as I had hoped, but wasn’t a total disaster.

I read a few novels from authors whose works I usually like, but was disappointed this time around, namely, Sweet Tooth (Ian McEwan), The Ocean at the End of the Lane (Neil Gaiman), The Cat’s Table (Michael Ondaatje) and Kafka on the Shore (Haruki Murakami).  Two classics:  The Once and Future King (T.H. White) and Lost Horizon (James Hilton), both with familiar elements that are very much part of popular culture; and two non-fiction about parenting and child-reading (and a few other books on the subject which I didn’t review – research on my part – a sort of review of related literature).

Then of course there are the books that I regret wasting my time on, time I could have spent reading better books – Death Comes to Pemberley (P.D. James), The Cuckoo’s Calling by (I’m not gonna pretend anymore) J.K. Rowling, and Inferno by Dan Brown (really, what was I expecting?) – both very overrated.

In 2012 I tried a lot of reading challenges / buddy readings, and besides a tentative list of books I planned to read in 2013, my reading activity was pretty much unstructured – no reading challenges or buddy reads either.

I’ll reset my goal to read 50 books in 2014, even though I know I won’t be able to accomplish it.  I probably won’t be joining any reading challenges either; the most I’ll be able to do is probably  revise my tentative reading list.


To summarize everything I’ve said, I’ve answered the End of the Year Book Survey from The Perpetual Page Turner. 

I read 27 books in 2013, my goal being 50.  But then I’ve never accomplished that so I’m not disappointed in myself anymore.  As long as I get to read the books I want, I’m happy.

So, without further ado….

1. Best Book You Read In 2013? 

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

 3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2013? 

The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson (I was surprised it was a story about North Korea, especially because it won the Pulitzer Prize in 2012).

 4. Book you read in 2013 that you recommended to people most in 2013?

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

 5. Best series you discovered in 2013?

The Murder Squad Series by Alex Grecian.  I think two books in the series have been published so far, The Yard, and The Black County.

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2013?

Alex Grecian

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?

A Perfect Spy by John Le Carre.  The “spy” genre is a bit out of my comfort zone, and though I didn’t exactly love A Perfect Spy, I thought it was interesting enough to read til the end.

 8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2013?

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

9.  Book you read in 2013 that you are most likely to re-read in 2014?

Hmmm….none.  I don’t re-read books much.

10.  Favorite cover of a book you read in 2013?


11. Most memorable character in 2013? 

Oshima from Kafka on the Shore, by Haruki Murakami.

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2013?

The Garden of Evening Mists – Tan Twan Eng.

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2013? 

Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2013 to finally read? 

The Once and Future King – T.H. White

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2013?

“The palest ink will outlast the memory of men.” The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2013?

Shortest book:  Revenge by Yoko Ogawa – 162 pages

Longest book:  The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton – 834 pages

 17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers!

Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami.  Not really reeling or dying to talk to somebody about it, more like a “wtf is going on!?” moment.

18. Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2013 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).

The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt.

19. Favorite Book You Read in 2013 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

The Cat’s Table by Michael Ondaatje

20. Best Book You Read In 2013 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else:

The Case of the Missing Servant by Tarquin Hall.  Not really recommended by a friend, but I read an article about it on npr.org.

21. Genre You Read The Most From in 2013?

Contemporary fiction (is that a genre?).

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2013?


23. Best 2013 debut you read?

The Black County by Alex Grecian

24. Most vivid world/imagery in a book you read in 2013?

The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson

25. Book That Was The Most Fun To Read in 2013?

S. – Doug Dorst / J.J. Abrams

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2013?

I don’t think there was a book I read in 2013 that made me cry or almost cry.

27. Book You Read in 2013 That You Think Got Overlooked This Year Or When It Came Out?

The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng

So that’s a wrap for 2013.  A big THANK YOU to all the people who stopped by to like, follow, read, look  around, and/or comment on my posts.  I appreciate you spending some time on my humble blog, and I hope I had provided you with some information or entertainment.

See you all in 2014!


Red Sorghum – Mo Yan* Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn* Death Comes to Pemberley – P.D. James * Revenge – Yoko Ogawa * The Cat’s Table – Michael Ondaatje * Kafka on the Shore – Haruki Murakami * The Spy Who Came In From the Cold – John Le Carre * A Perfect Spy – John Le Carre * The Tiger’s Wife – Tea Obreht * Inferno – Dan Brown * The Once and Future King – T.H. White * The Ocean at the End of the Lane – Neil Gaiman * The Sisters Brothers – Patrick deWitt * Sweet Tooth – Ian McEwan * Lost Horizon – James Hilton * The Cuckoo’s Calling – Robert Galbr….  J.K. Rowling * Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore – Robin Sloan * The Yard – Alex Grecian * The Black County – Alex Grecian*  Bringing Up Bebe – Pamela Druckerman * The Orphan Master’s Son – Adam Johnson * The Case of the Missing Servant – Tarquin Hall * The Garden of Evening Mists – Tan Twan Eng * The Luminaries – Eleanor Catton *  Brain Rules for Baby – John Medina * John Saturnall’s Feast – Lawrence Norfolk * S. – Doug Dorst / J.J. Abrams

10 thoughts on “2013 End of the Year Book Survey…and Then Some

  1. My reading life this year isn’t also exciting mostly because I didn’t get to read the books that I really want to read. I mostly settled for cheat reads, just so I could finish the Goodreads challenge. Shallow, I know, but I can’t help it. Happy Holidays!

  2. Yes The Garden of Evening Mist was wonderful and so beautiful. I loved it. And I read Kafka on the Shore–um yeah, there was quite a bit of “what’s going on?” moments for me to. But I still enjoyed it. Colonel Saunders was a bit odd, though.

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