My favorite book of 2013

On Goodreads, I took a moment to remember all the (published) books I read in 2013. Which ones would I read again? Which ones do I want to keep forever? Could I challenge myself to name a favorite?

NYC (8)

There were several books that I enjoyed reading but found the endings to be too disappointing or shocking to want to reread them. Anita Shreve’s Sea Glass was one of those: it was beautifully written and seemed to be one kind of story only to end up in a completely different place than I expected. So, too, was Anna Quindlen’s Every Last One. A few of the books I read, like The Family Way by Rhys Bowen, continued a series but didn’t quite live up to my expectations. Then there were reads I had fun with but don’t feel the need to revisit, and, of course, there were a few novels I simply didn’t like. But did I have a favorite?

I’ve decided that my favorite book of 2013 was A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L’Engle. This is perhaps more indicative of who I was in 2013 than any of the other books I read in the year. A Circle of Quiet is the first of L’Engle’s memoirs and spends a lot of time contemplating how we find success, happiness, love, faith, and meaning in our lives. It is, of course, beautifully written, hardly preachy, and incredibly thought-provoking. And as I transitioned from student to a working adult, from living in my family home to finding my own apartment in New York, from editor to whatever it is I’m going to be when I grow up, these were the questions circling around my head. New York may not be quiet, but still, I search for how to make my own quiet wherever I go and how to relish in that quiet no matter what else is going on in my life.

I’ve got a list going of books I want to read in 2014, most of them novels, but I think I’ll add L’Engle’s next memoir to my queue and see what guidance she can give me as I find out who I am this year.

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And the winners are…

Thanks to everyone for entering the Underworld Detection Agency Chronicles giveaway! The winners are Elizabeth Blackbourne and Emily Duncan. You’ll be hearing from me!

The consolation prize for everyone else is a book recommendation: A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L’Engle. This is the memoir of  the author of A Wrinkle In Time and a million other wonderful books, and in it, she proves her thoughtfulness as well as her writing prowess. It is not a narrative-based memoir but an idea-based one, with her meandering from one topic to another to consider all that she holds dear in life, in intellect, and in spirit. This isn’t usually what I go for, so I was expecting to put down the book pretty quickly, but its beautiful writing and her careful yet interesting thoughts kept the pages turning easily.

And a couple of new websites have popped up for book-lovers. Bookish.com is sponsored by a couple of publishing houses and cultivated by editors to provide book recommendations, interviews, questions, etc. I haven’t used it too much so far, but it’s a great way to browse (although it doesn’t include many non-Big 6 books).

Riffle is a new social media book website, advertised as the Pinterest of books, where you can collect the books you have read, the ones you want to read, and the ones other people are reading. I’m not sure yet how it will really differentiate from Goodreads, but it’s just at the beginning of its life, so we will have to wait and see.