The Best Reads of 2013

Now it’s time to look back at what I thought was the best of the best for 2013.  I read 78 books in 2013 in print, ebook, graphic novel and audiobook. While I usually do a Top Ten or Top 15 best of list, this year I’ve decided to do something a little different. I’ve decided to go with a Top 15 for fiction, and then “top” categories for Young Adult books, Nonfiction and Graphic Novels. While I read a decent selection in each category, I chose the few I thought were the best.

And here we go . . .

Top 15 Fiction Reads
Top Nonfiction Reads
Top Young Adult Reads
Top Graphic Novel Reads

Top 15 Fiction Reads

.1.

Dangerous Women edited by George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois: A new anthology featuring women as main and/or important characters, with new original stories from Brandon Sanderson, Jim Butcher, Carrie Vaughan, and a new novella from George R. R. Martin.

.2.

NOS4A2 by Joe Hill: The novel that puts Joe Hill on the map as one of the great horror writers, about a place called Christmasland where children’s souls are slowly stolen. NOS4A2 proves Joe Hill deserves to share the horror stage with his dad, Stephen King.  READ REVIEW.

.3.

Let the Old Dreams Die by John Adjvide Lindqvist: From the author of Let the Right One In and Handling the Undead comes his first collection of short stories featuring original chilling tales, as well as sequels to Let the Right One In and Handling the Undead.

.4.

Joyland by Stephen King: In this short novel, a young man has lost the love of his life and has chosen to spend his summer working at an amusement park, where there’s a murderer on the loose. READ REVIEW.

.5.

No Way Out by Alan Jacobson: Karen Vail is back on the case, and this time she’s traveled over the pond to London to solve the mystery of a terrorist attack that has much deeper ramifications.  READ REVIEW.

.6.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman: From the bestselling author of American Gods and Neverwhere comes a short tale of fantasy and folklore and history and legend and magic. A tale that spins its web around you and entrances you, escorting you across the dreamscape of its story. READ REVIEW.

.7.

The Heavens Rise by Christopher Rice: From the son of Anne Rice comes a dark tale of the bayou where things are never as they seem and strange creatures lurk in the swamps and grasses. 

.8.

Doctor Sleep by Stephen King: The official sequel to The Shining puts Danny Torrance in his middle-age years facing a drinking problem and helping a girl who has stronger shining abilities than he, while an ancient cabal is look to end her. READ REVIEW.

.9.

River of Stars by Guy Gavriel Kay: A sort of sequel to Under Heaven, Kay sets River of Stars four centuries later during the Song Dynasty, writing in the same wondrous and magical style. READ REVIEW.

.10.

Burning Paradise by Robert Charles Wilson: In this alternate world to ours, it is the near future and a strange alien presence is in control of communication and broadcasting enshrouding Earth in a blocking layer. There is a group that knows about its existence, and they were almost wiped out by the alien presence, but now it is time to put a stop to it. READ REVIEW.

.11.

Brilliance by Marcus Sakey: Since 1980, one percent of the population born have been “brilliants,” special gifted children that develop unique abilities putting them above regular humans. Some brilliants use their abilities for good, others for harm. READ REVIEW.

.12.

Big Egos by S. G. Browne: What if you could be your favorite celebrity or hero for a couple of hours? Browne posits just this in Big Egos, giving his characters the chance to take a serum that momentarily changes their DNA and makes them Indiana Jones or Captain Kirk, or whoever they want. READ REVIEW.

.13.

Red Planet Blues by Robert J. Sawyer: This is the great noir detective novel set on the planet Mars. Alex Lomax is a private Eye on New Klondike trying to forget his illicit past back on Earth and try to solve a decades old murder mystery. READ REVIEW.

.14.

Tuf Voyaging by George R. R. Martin: Originally released as a series of short stories collected in Tuf Voyaging that has now been reprinted, these are the tales of Tuf and his giant ship that is kilometers long that lets him create just about any animal you could imagine. READ REVIEW.

.15.

The Colony by A. J. Colucci: What if a supercolony of ants was developed and then control of it was lost. The Colony is classic-style Michael Crichton with science gone awry. READ REVIEW. A. J. Colucci Interview.


Top Nonfiction Reads

.1.

Gold Rush in the Jungle: The Race to Discover and Defend the Rarest of Animals of Vietnam’s “Lost World” by Dan Drollette Jr: A fascinating look into Vietnam’s wildlife and rainforests, one of the last places on Earth still left relatively untouched. But this is all changing now. READ REVIEW.

.2.

Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach: Mary Roach, bestselling author if Stiff and Bonk, takes readers on a journey from where food goes in at the mouth and comes out at the other end. Filled with entertaining anecdotes and fascinating facts, any reader will love GulpREAD REVIEW.

.3.

Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic by David Quammen: A comprehensive and absorbing look at the epidemics that have plagued our world and how the current ones could lead to the end of humanity with the next pandemic.

.4.

The World Until Yesterday: What We Can Learn From Traditional Societies by Jared Diamond: A compelling look at the way numerous traditional societies around the world handle everyday things like conflict resolution, neighboring populations and interacting with them, and child rearing. READ REVIEW.

Top Young Adult Reads

.1.

Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson: What if the world was full of superheroes, except these superheroes were called epics and they were actually evil and preferred controlling and subjugating ordinary humans and running the world the way they wanted. But what if there was a group called Reckoners who were looking to put a stop to the Epics?

.2.

Homeland by Cory Doctorow: Continuing from where Little Brother left off, Doctorow puts the reader right back in the action in a world where the government is always watching, even when you think they’re not, and it’s up to a a bunch of kids to make a difference. READ REVIEW.

.3.

The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson: In this world there are fifty united islands where one would expect to find the United States, where Rithmatists are born, who are able to create chalkings to fight each other and enemies with magic. READ REVIEW.

Top Graphic Novel Reads

.1.

Saga Volume One by Brian K. Vaughan: Two soldiers on opposite sides of a galactic war have fallen in love and now have an offspring, and its up to them to keep it alive and keeping on doing what they do best.

.2.

A compelling story of the Boxer Rebellion as told from two viewpoints in this stunning graphic novel project. READ BOXERS REVIEW. READ SAINTS REVIEW.

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