Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Best Books of 2013: Fiction

"I love when the end of the year comes around, and I'm able to pick the best books I've read that year.  As I've mentioned before, my selections are not books that were published during that year but rather books I had the pleasure of reading during it.  In years past, I have chosen one fiction and one non-fiction book to highlight; however, this year I was greatly impressed by several books in both broad categories and decided to list several in each instead of just one.  Below are my picks for best fiction books I read in 2013.

Tinkers by Paul Harding

Wandering around on Amazon one day, I came across Tinkers by Paul Harding.  It won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2010, which is why it was being featured.  Knowing nothing about it, I added it to My Wishlist and finally bought it this year.  Perhaps most surprising of all was my liking it so much when it had so many elements that I normally dislike.  First off, it's modern literature, which I generally very much dislike.  Secondly, it has a very short-story type feel.  The book, which is most certainly not a collection of short stories, feels like closely connected vignettes—normally a storytelling method I have very little affinity for.  Yet, I was deeply impacted by Tinkers.  As I mentioned in my review, Tinkers stuck with me, and it will be a book I remember for a long, long time. 

Dracula by Bram Stoker

Reading Dracula was a revelation.  There are cultural characters you become so accustomed to you take them entirely for granted.  A literary character like Dracula has been iterated upon so many times it's hard to know what the source material looks and feels like unless you've experienced it for yourself.  Experiencing Dracula, the original and frankly untainted version, taught me a lot about how not to adapt characters.  It also taught me a lot about how so many can, while I'm sure being eager to show respect for the source material, truly miss the elements that make the original so good.  Dracula is a fantastic book and deserves a better representation in other mediums.

Mooncalf by Linda L. Zern

Mooncalf is not a book you put down and flippantly forget.  Mooncalf will be clattering around in my head for many years to come.  Its symbols, its messages, and most especially its conclusion is deeply affecting.  The tragedy the book presents isn't so oppressive one can't enjoy the love shared by the two main characters—Leah and Olympia—but its inevitability in the book forces one to hope that similar inevitabilities don't have to occur in reality.  As a work of fiction as well as historical fiction, Mooncalf is excellent and moving.  As a teaching tool it's truly unforgettable."

Other Topics of Interest:
Best Books of 2011
Best Books of 2012
Best Books You Haven't Read: Freddy's Book

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