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Monday Miscellany

The Bestselling Books of 2013

Publishers Weekly has gathered some interesting statistics about last year’s book sales. Among their findings: “fiction is the genre of choice for customers who read e-books” and movie adaptations created demand for several titles, including Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby.

See the books included on these lists:

  1. Nielsen BookScan Top 20
  2. Amazon Kindle Top 20
  3. Amazon Print Top 20

8 books I bailed on in 2013

Laura Miller, book critic for Salon, reads a lot of books and usually writes about the ones she recommends. Here she summarizes 8 books she didn’t finish last year, cautioning “what follows are my responses to books you might possibly have heard of, rather than the absolute worst things I read.”

See why she bailed on these books:

  1. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
  2. Gun Machine by Warren Ellis
  3. The Accursed by Joyce Carol Oates
  4. Anatomy of Violence: The Biological Roots of Crime by Adrian Raine
  5. At Night We Walk in Circles by Daniel Alarcon
  6. Confessions of a Sociopath by M.E. Thomas
  7. Truth in Advertising by John Kenney
  8. Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes by Maria Konnikova

How Do E-Books Change the Reading Experience?

Each week in Bookends, two writers take on questions about the world of books. This week, Mohsin Hamid and Anna Holmes discuss how technology affects the way we read.

Newbery Winner to Promote Her Genre

Television, music, and video games all compete with books for children’s attention. For this reason the Library of Congress in 2008 created the national ambassador for young people’s literature, a new position dedicated to promoting literature for children. A new ambassador is named every two years.

The next ambassador for young people’s literature will be Newberry Medal winner Kate DiCamillo, author of Because of Winn-Dixie and The Tale of Despereaux:

With a warm, lively personality and a boisterous laugh, Ms. DiCamillo would appear a natural fit for the post of ambassador, which asks for an ability to relate to children and an overall contribution to children’s literature. She is the fourth person appointed to the position, following Jon Scieszka (2008), Katherine Paterson (2010) and Walter Dean Myers (2012).

The Top 10 Library Stories of 2013

For libraries, 2013 was an eventful year. PW takes a look back at the top 10 library stories of the year, and a look ahead to what might be on the horizon in 2014.

Read what Publishers Weekly has to say about these news stories from last year:

  1. An E-Book Breakthrough?
  2. Google, GSU and Fair Use
  3. The Common Core’s Rough Debut
  4. What Happened to Copyright Reform?
  5. Pew Finds Americans Love Their Libraries, But Use Is Declining
  6. A Bookless Library?
  7. The NYPL [New York Public Library] Goes Back to the Drawing Board
  8. The Digital Public Library of America Launches
  9. Congress, White House Push for Public Access to Research
  10. The Death of Aaron Swartz
Book Recommendations Monday Miscellany

Monday Miscellany: More Best Books Lists

The Best Books of 2013

Book-selling giant Amazon of course has lots of best books lists. Check out these categories:

  • Editors’ Top 20 Picks
  • Top 20 Customer Favorites
  • arts & photography
  • audiobooks
  • biographies & memoirs
  • business & investing
  • children’s books
  • comics & graphic novels
  • cookbooks & food writing
  • crafts, home, & garden
  • gift picks
  • history
  • humor & entertainment
  • literature & fiction
  • mystery, thriller, & suspense
  • nonfiction
  • romance
  • science
  • science fiction & fantasy
  • sports & outdoors
  • teen & young adult

Vogue’s Guide to 2013’s Best Films, Books, Music, Art, Theater, and TV

The year’s best books, chosen by Megan O’Grady.

The ThinkProgress Year In Culture: The Best — And Worst — Books Of 2013

Doesn’t it just make sense that a best books list should be accompanied by a worst books list? This article contains some thought-provoking statements, and I feel validated in my judgment of a book that I was unable to stick with for its duration.

Need A Read? Here Are Maureen Corrigan’s Favorite Books Of 2013

From NPR’s Maureen Corrigan, who begins this way:

First, a word about this list: It’s honestly just a fluke that my best books rundown for 2013 is so gender-biased. I didn’t deliberately set out this year to read so many terrific books by women.

Not a problem at all, methinks.

My Favorite Books of 2013

Lucas Wittmann of The Daily Beast says, “Of course, I read, enjoyed, and admired the same books that everyone else did—Donna Tartt, George Packer and so on—but my list also reflects a few less applauded or less well-known books.” His idiosyncratic categories include best American history, best company, best debut, best life, best global history, best laugh, best book that everyone loved, best adventure, best revival, please give them their due, best book by an author who published another book this year, and best journalism.

Best Fiction of the Year

Seán Sheehan lists his choices for Irish Left Review.


Author Justin Taylor offers an unconventional list that includes “Three Older Books I Got Around to Reading for the First Time this Year and Am Putting on This List Because I Loved Them, So There.”

Reading gratitudes for the year

Also unconventional is Karen Tay’s offering in her Reading is Bliss column for the New Zealand publication Stuff:

I thought what might be quite lovely to do (said in a very English lady-of-the-manor upper crusty accent), is to name a random list of reading gratitudes. These are the things that make me thankful to be a reader and writer, and that makes reading such a pleasure.

Our 2013 Best Books of the Year

From ShelfAwareness: “Our 2013 Best Books of the Year feature 10 fiction, 10 nonfiction and 10 children’s titles.”

IR’s Best Indie Books for 2013

From IndieReader, a “list of the best indie titles of 2013.”

No Literary Horse Race, Just Books We Like

Let us be the first to tell you: These are quirky lists. They’re supposed to be. These are our favorite books of the year, so please don’t confuse them with 10 Bests, because we can’t make lists like those. For one thing, all of us — Michiko Kakutani, Dwight Garner and I [Janet Maslin] — read so many books on assignment that we don’t have the leeway to be comprehensive. For another, we’ve listed books that we liked as much as we admired. That’s where the quirks come in.

Worst Books of 2013: Fiction!

Finally, to keep your reading and critical skills sharp, peruse this list by Steve Donoghue for Open Letters Monthly.

Book Recommendations Monday Miscellany

Monday Miscellany: Best Books Round-Up

The lists of best books for 2013 are accumulating quickly. Here are some that I’ve found so far.

The 10 Best Books of 2013

Courtesy of The New York Times, the five best works of fiction and of nonfiction.

Best Books of 2013

Goodreads readers have spoken. See their top choices for the year in these categories: fiction, mystery and thriller, historical fiction, fantasy, paranormal fantasy, science fiction, romance, horror, memoir and autobiography, history and biography, nonfiction, food and cookbooks, humor, graphic novels and comics, poetry, young adult fiction, young adult fantasy, middle grade and children’s, and picture books.

100 Notable Books of 2013

The year’s notable fiction, poetry and nonfiction, selected by the editors of The New York Times Book Review.

31 of the best titles of 2013

I like what Mary Ann Gwinn, book editor of The Seattle Times, has to say about these annual lists:

Best-books lists are, shall we say, in the eye of the beholder? Squishy? Subjective?

Case in point: Two titans of the publishing world, the trade journals Publishers’ Weekly and Library Journal, issued their best-books lists in November. Each named 10 “best books.” One book made both lists, a debut novel called “A Constellation of Vital Phenomona” by Anthony Marra. Pretty swell for first-time novelist Marra, but not much of a consensus!

Nevertheless, on our books page we spend all year dividing the wheat from the chaff, the sheep from the goats, the gold from the dross, so here’s the final sort — Seattle Times reviewers’ nominations for the Best Books of 2013. Thirty-one in all, 15 fiction, 16 nonfiction.

Adam Woog’s 10 best mysteries of 2013

Writing for the aforementioned Seattle Times, Adam Woog chooses the year’s best mysteries:

2013 has been a stellar year for crime fiction. The increasing trend toward settings in foreign locations (besides that old standby, Great Britain) is especially noticeable.

The best memoirs of 2013

This just happened to be the page that I came across first of the U.K. Guardian‘s lists. You’ll find links to the rest of the series on the page.

Scotland’s writers choose their best books of 2013

Scottish writers including Kate Atkinson, Christopher Brookmyre, John Burnside and Janice Galloway, pick out “the crème de la crème of 2013’s books.”

Love to read? Here’s our list of top 20 books of 2013

From Australia’s Herald Sun: “we’ve selected our favourite ones in 20 categories as a guide for your Christmas shopping.”

Buffett, Slim, Greenspan, El-Erian, Lew Pick Best Books of 2013

A list of “responses to the annual Bloomberg News survey, which asked CEOs, investors, current and former policy makers, economists and academics to name their favorite books of 2013.”

The best literary spats of 2013

OK, so this isn’t actually a “best books” list. But it is just too good to pass up: “From Bret Easton Ellis’s denouncement of Alice Munro to the Team Nigella backlash, John Dugdale looks back on the writers’ rows of the year.”



Book Recommendations

Best Books of 2013 | Publishers Weekly

There’s no denying that the state of the world is reflected in our favorite books of 2013. Among our top 10 are narratives that range from the war on terror to a middle Eastern country in the iron grip of a dictator to hard times much closer to home. In others, history — factual, or not — informs the present. Truth is sought, in a searing true crime story and a controversial investigation, and in two very different but equally mesmerizing debuts, our world is explored in strange, unexpected ways. It’s a cliche to say that no matter what you like to read, we have a book for you. But this year it’s undoubtedly true. We hope you enjoy them — we sure did.

via Best Books of 2013 | Publishers Weekly.

It’s only the first of November, but Publishers Weekly, which has the advantage of advance copies of upcoming releases, has issued its Best Books of 2013 list.

Read their Top 10 list as well as lists for categories, including mystery/thriller, poetry, romance, science fiction/fantasy/horrow, comics, nonfiction, children’s fiction, religion, and lifestyle.