Our Favorite Books of the Year
Our expert editors name the year's best books in young adult lit, fiction and all the other categories you love most.
It's no secret: We get super excited about books here at Bookish--and the end of the year gives us the opportunity to hail some of our favorite novels, young adult books, memoirs, short stories, sports books, history and politics books, sci-fi, cookbooks and books on religion and business. It also sparks heated debate: Which book had the best love story? Who was our favorite character? Which book made us laugh the hardest? What book had the best jacket? Read on for our nominees and winners in these categories and more.
The 2013 fiction landscape was abundant with riches: The best novels of the year include ambitious epics that span decades and tell the stories of families and nations, audacious debuts that challenge our perceptions of race and belonging, eye-opening alternative takes on history we thought we knew and many more books that offer pleasure and discovery on every page. Check out this list of the year's best books--and what makes them great--to help you choose your next read.
Awarding the best young adult novels of 2013 was no easy task, as this year's offerings proved that the genre is stronger than ever: Rainbow Rowell (buoyed by love from mentor John Green) and Sarah Dessen delivered modern, relatable coming-of-age tales, while Andrew Smith and Robin Wasserman got riskier with genre and content. Bestsellers from Holly Black and Rick Yancey proved that vampires and the apocalypse haven't worn out their welcome yet; and David Levithan and Matthew Quick created remarkable characters within real-life controversies. Read on to find out which books we named best hero/heroine, geekiest book, biggest attention-grabber, best sleeper success and much more.
Whether you love family memoirs, musicians' backstage accounts, hilarious essays, true survival stories or tell-all autobiographies of public figures, these notable memoirs of 2013 have something for every reader.
It's been a great year for short stories--the highlight of which came when one of the form's finest practitioners, Alice Munro, won the Nobel Prize in Literature. Munro has been a role model for many of the writers who published notable collections in 2013, and here we round up some of our favorites of the year, including collections from George Saunders, Karen Russell, Jess Walter, Tom Perrotta and more.
The year’s best history and politics books included several memoirs, among them Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s “My Beloved World”—one of our editor Nathan’s favorites of 2013—and girl hero Malala Yousafzai’s inspiring “I Am Malala.” We’ve highlighted Yousafzai’s triumphant debut, as well as nine other reads we loved and learned from: excellent new presidential biographies by Pulitzer Prize winners Doris Kearns Goodwin and A. Scott Berg, a National Book Award-winning look at a country still clawing its way out of the financial crisis, a gossipy post-mortem on last year’s presidential election and more. Learn why they moved us with our list of the year’s best below.
Under-the-Radar Reads: The Best-Kept Book Secrets of 2013
By The Bookish Editors
It's that time of year when we celebrate the year's best books, going back to reconsider our favorite novels, memoirs, books on history & politics, business and sports, young adult books, sci-fi and more. Many great books have been justly celebrated--but there were also some gripping stories published this year that you may have missed. Check out the under-the-radar reads we loved most in 2013.
Whether your plan for new year is to be happier, sharper or more empathetic, these top inspiration and personal development books from 2013 will help you succeed.
There’s nothing worse than a boring sports memoir: Rehashes and clichés fail to satisfy. But, of the many athlete autobiographies to hit shelves in 2013, Mike Tyson’s unsparing “Undisputed Truth”—a window into Tyson’s peculiar psychology if ever there was one — rose to the occasion. Tyson’s book wasn’t the only riveting sports book of the year: 2013 featured a raft of fantastic (and varied) reads, among them David Epstein’s thought-provoking exploration into the science of athletic performance, “The Sports Gene,” Daniel Gordon Brown’s uplifting book about the 1936 U.S. Olympic men’s rowing team and Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru’s devastating investigation on chronic brain injury in the NFL. Find out more about their books and our other favorite sports reads of 2013.
In business books this year, tech companies stole the show: From Fred Vogelstein’s account of Apple and Google’s battle for world domination, “Dogfight” to Nick Bilton’s no-holds-barred “Hatching Twitter,” this year’s best business reads were chock full of juicy revelations about what it’s like behind the scenes at the tech corporations and social media startups that’ve transformed our relationships with gadgets, media and the web. In addition to the top tech tell-alls, our list of 2013’s best business books features an advice manual from an astronaut, an inside view into the relationship between the leaders of three central banks during the global recession and much more. Learn something new about the people behind the world’s most high-profile businesses by picking up these great reads.
From the kerfuffle over Reza Aslan’s biography of Jesus to Lawrence Wright’s ruthless, National Book Award-winning examination of the Church of Scientology, 2013 has been a banner year for hot-button books on religion. Dig into our favorites, below.
We're awarding the best science fiction and fantasy books of 2013 based on the works that not only transported us to impossible, only-dreamt-of lands, but also held up a lens to contemporary society. Authors Mira Grant, Max Barry and Will McIntosh made us confront the uncomfortable truths about dating, healthcare and the written word. Legends including Margaret Atwood, Charles Stross and John Scalzi wrapped up or continued beloved series about radical futures. Neil Gaiman and Phoebe North took us on incredible journeys through the eyes of young-but-wise narrators. Ann Leckie and Ned Beauman took risks with out-there premises that paid off in droves. And George R.R. Martin took a break from killing our favorite characters to edit the ultimate girl-power anthology featuring new short stories from SFF greats. What a year!
It's been a delicious year for cookbooks, with new books from some of our favorite chefs, food personalities and restaurateurs. Which books will become future staples of kitchen bookshelves? We predict that with these 10 cookbooks, you'll be referring back to their recipes for years to come.
In compiling the best comic books and graphic novels of 2013, we were delighted by the sheer scope of stories represented from all pockets of the comics world. When it comes to superheroes, we--like everyone else--fell for Matt Fraction and David Aja's Everyman take on Hawkeye, cheered on "Captain Marvel's" daring reboot and were both thrilled and chilled by the family politics in "Wonder Woman" and "Batman." Memoirs from Allie Brosh and Lucy Knisley tackled depression and food, respectively. Finally, in the category of "stories we didn't know we wanted," Gene Luen Yang gave us a much-needed history lesson, "Adventure Time" got a graphic novel and Paul Pope imagined a superhero world without the traditional caped crusaders in "Battling Boy."