Thirteen years ago, Greg turned me onto an idea that has become one of my favorite annual traditions. He and I (and anyone else we can convince to do it) keep reviews of every book we read. Then at the end of the year, we release a list of everything we read that year.
Here are our lists from 2013.
What great books did you read in 2013? The Best of Makin’ Ads? Anyone? Anyone? [crickets]
2 thoughts on “Our 2013 Book Lists”
Great tradition. I may start doing it myself.
My favorites from this year:
Journey to the End of the Night – Louis-Ferdinand Céline
Céline is cited as a major influence of both Bukowski and Henry Miller(two of my favorites) so I had to read it and it didn't disappoint. A pessimistic, nihilistic black comedy that is inventive and entertaining. It's hard to believe that Céline could have such a worldview and also be a practicing doctor.
A Hero of Our Time – Mikhail Lermontov
Six short stories all focused on an extremely memorable Pechorin, a character modeled after the byronic hero, a character of contradiction. This book made me want to read all characters based on the byronic hero in literature.
Freedom – Jonathan Franzen
Going in I thought I would hate it—upper middle class white people problems I could not relate to—but Franzen crafted characters that I ended up caring deeply about and the plotting is perfect. I got to peer into that world and loved Franzen's take on it. Feel comfortable saying Franzen wrote, “the great american novel” here.
Junky – William S. Burroughs
Unlike Naked Lunch, which had me googling “William Burroughs psychoanalysis” to find out what personality and mental disorders Burroughs suffered from, Junky is a coherent narrative. His voice here is strong and captivating. In my opinion, he is by far the most interesting of the beats.
Infinite Jest – David Foster Wallace
Bloated, unnecessarily complicated, impenetrable at times, yes, but the good parts were incredibly good. Memorable and meaningful, it makes me want to read all of Wallace's fiction.
Nice list, Bryan. I'm about 50 pages into Infinite Jest, and Greg and I were emailing back and forth about Franzen. I agree with his comments in his review of The Corrections. I thought it was really well written, but didn't enjoy the book that much. I was wondering how Freedom would be. I'll add it to my list.