I didn’t realize it until I went back to make my Top 10 list, but what a strange reading year I had.  I read the first pages of a seemingly infinite number of books without finishing them (an expensive and irritating finding).  If I didn’t love a story right off, and I mean really and truly love it, I tossed it.




FIRST IMPRESSIONS, REDUX — I’m not going to shout out the list of the books I tossed permanently, but here are the ones I started and set aside for whatever the reason, the books I’m promising to give another chance:  The Good Lord Bird (McBride), Case Histories (Atkinson), The Interestings (Wolitzer), The Orchardist (Coplin), The Dinner (Koch), Her (Parravani), With or Without You (Ruta), The Orphan Master’s Son (Johnson), Elsewhere (Russo), We Need New Names (Bulawayo), The Son (Meyer), Dispatches (Herr), The Tenth of December (Saunders), Bringing Up the Bodies (Mantel), Blood & Beauty (Dunant)

I WISH I COULD QUIT YOU! — Favorites that I re-read, or listened to again on audio:  Crossing to Safety (Stegner), The Shell Seekers (Pilcher), Let’s Take the Long Way Home (Caldwell), Wild (Strayed), Lucky (Sebold), A Three Dog Life (Thomas), The Year of Magical Thinking (Didion), Lit (Mary Karr), Ordinary People (Guest), The Prince of Tides (Conroy), A Thousand Acres (Smiley)

UNLOADING THE DISHWASHER IS CLEARLY OVERRATED — The stories that, once I started, I could not put down until the last page:  Three Junes (Glass), The Death of Santini (Conroy), The Moment Before (Vitello), Life After Life (Atkinson), Alice Close Your Eyes (Dean), The Tennis Partner (Verghese), Pack of Two (Knapp), Let’s Take the Long Way Home (Caldwell), Open (Agassi)



WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT? — My top 10 list, finally, which has clearly tipped the seesaw into nonfiction for 2013:

1.  THE GOLDFINCH, a novel by Donna Tartt

2.  A THREE DOG LIFE, a memoir by Abigail Thomas

3.  PACK OF TWO, a memoir by Caroline Knapp

4.  SON OF A GUN, a memoir by Justin St. Germain

5.  LET’S TAKE THE LONG WAY HOME, a memoir by Gail Caldwell

6.  BEST AMERICAN ESSAYS 2013, edited by Cheryl Strayed

7.  DRINKING: A LOVE STORY, a memoir by Caroline Knapp

8.  FARTHER AWAY, essay collection by Jonathan Franzen

9.  LIT, a memoir by Mary Karr (even more brilliant the 2nd time)

10.  OPEN, a memoir by Andre Agassi