Best books I read in 2013.

Today I'm linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy to share the best books I read in 2013.

I read a lot of the same kind of books in 2013.  I won't lie - it was a quick, easy fiction kind of year.  I leaned heavily toward feel-good (or cry your eyes out, as the case may be) "women's fiction," stories with a little plot, a little background and a lot of character development.  I only read an occasional non-fiction title.  I only read an occasional thing that made me really THINK.  I didn't really stretch my reading muscles much, but for me 2013 was a year of reading for enjoyment and pleasure and escape, and not so much reading to learn and grow.

I know I need to do more of the whole reading to learn business - a lot more - in 2014.

I've been thinking of setting some reading goals for this year, but really I just want to keep reading books that let me escape for an hour or two at a time.  We'll see how it goes, I guess :)

Anyway, I rounded up a list of titles that I particularly enjoyed reading over the last year.  They aren't all books that were written in 2013, but they were all books I read then and would highly recommend.  

I was the last woman in America to read this book.  I'm not sure why I waited so long.  It was wonderfully done, and I felt like I knew the characters.

Cecilia lives in a picture perfect life, until she finds a note labelled "To be opened in the event of my death."  Of course, she opens it.  It sets off a chain of events that I didn't see coming.  I like that the author puts these people in really difficult circumstances then doesn't bail them out at the last minute.

I'm not usually smart enough to read Neil Gaiman, but I really loved this short novel about a boy, his extraordinary neighbors, and a battle between good and evil.

The stories of two extraordinary women - one present, one from the past - are intertwined in an unexpected way.  As Lena, a modern day lawyer, searches for a descendant of Josephine Bell, a house girl rumored to have been the actual artist of a series of stunning paintings credited to her white mistress, she peels away layers of both Josephine’s past and her own life.

I almost didn't read this book but I was so glad I did.  This is another story told in two eras - modern day and the Holocaust, and the link between Sage - the main character - and Josef, a customer at her bakery, is an extraordinary story.

Fourteen year old Lorca only wants her mother's acceptance and love, which she believes she can find through preparing a particular dish.  Her search for the perfect recipe leads her to people and places she would have never hoped to find. 

Louisa goes to work for Will, who happens to be in a wheelchair since his accident.  They fall in love.  Perfect story, happy ending, right?  Oh no.  Not at all.  Not. At. All.

The earth's rotation starts to slow.  The days get longer.  Ten year old Julia deals with this, and with growing up, with an uncanny perspective.  I really, really loved this book.

Beautiful story of the half American, half Chinese woman who makes her own way in early 20th century China. She fits nowhere, but despite being abandoned time and again manages to survive and even thrive.

John Grisham takes us back to the time and place of Jake Brigance from A Time To Kill.  We pick up three years later when Jake gets a handwritten will in the mail the week after the writer has killed himself.  Grisham's best in YEARS.

Of everything I read in 2013, this is the one I can't stop thinking about.  The book is the story of a painting and of the two women connected to it decades apart.  

So there you have it - my favorites of the past year.

What was the best book you read in 2013? 

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