Normally I give my millions and millions of readers a list long enough to get you through the next year. This year was a little tough to get through all the great novels and non-fiction books of the year. Here is an abbreviated list…
1) Morrissey- Morrissey
It’s Moz. The greatest. Read it.
2) The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards- Kristopher Jansma
I’m a sucker for the stories within stories. While some find the changing of narrators a bit too mundane, I loved how he captures each scene, country and village in ways few of the experienced writers of our time do. One writer to watch.
3) Night Film- Marisha Pessl
Years in the making, Marish Pessl finally releases her follow up to ‘Special Topics in Calamity Physics’. On a dark October night, Ashley Cordova, daughter of the reclusive filmmaker Stanislas Cordova is found dead in an abandoned warehouse in Manhattan. Through the next 400+ pages we take a trip alongside Scott McGrath, a reporter who suspects foul play. Brilliantly told and explicably written. This is one book that was made to be a movie. Hopefully a good one.
4) All That Is- James Salter
James Salter has already written one of the most romantic books of the past 40 years in ‘A Sport and a Pastime’ and he almost outdoes himself with this breathtaking tale of love and loss in the years after WWII. A truly spectacular read from one of the most underrated novelists of the past 50 years.
5) Speedboat- Renata Adler
The story of a young reporter coming of age in NYC was originally released in the 70’s and found new life thanks to The New York Review of Books. Both this and her equally good Speedboat were both released this year. An original voice.
6) Me & Mr. Booker- Cory Taylor
Not your typical “coming of age tales” where we find the narrator annoying and too precious for our own good. Cory Taylor tells the tale of Martha with humility and smarts that we don’t find in many mainstream novels. One of 2 books from the great Tin House books on this list. Easily my favorite publishing house.
7) Wise Men- Stuart Nadler
A decades old tale of the Wise family and in particular the patriarch, Arthur Wise. A multigenerational story that showcases Nadler as one of the finest voices in American novels.
8) American Savage: Insights, Slights and Fights on Faith, Sex, Love and Politics- Dan Savage
One of this country’s best voices writes another non-fiction book on what makes America great. The chapter on where his (their) son comes out is one of the most heartfelt pieces of writing you’ll read all year.
9) The Flamethrowers- Rachel Kushner
Reno, Nevada. 1975 and Reno (aptly named) has decided to come to NY to find herself and to explode into the budging art scene with her love of speed and motorcycles. One of the better novels of 2013 this is a timeless tale of one woman’s search for herself in a lost, lost world. Fearless as she is and thrilling as riding on one of her Italian motorcycles.
10) The Novels of Richard Stark- Richard Stark
These novels, the pseudonym of Donald E. Westlake, are his more grittier and dirtier that his namesake novels. More thriller than mystery they tell the tale of Parker and his many schemes and cohorts. I’m only a couple of novels in but boy am I invested.