Best Books of 2013

Fiction:

  • The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson

    Won the Pulitzer Prize, a powerful black comedy following the twisting path of an orphan through the echelons of North Korea. Johnson took time to research North Korea extensively and the blurred line between fictional and real horrors is immensely disturbing and hugely effective. The best depiction of totalitarianism I’ve read since 1984.

  • How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia by Mohsin Hamid

    Satirical portrait of rising Pakistan, the writing has some of the vibrancy and intricacy of Salman Rushdie.

  • Tenth of December by George Saunders

    Started reading this short-story collection, and didn’t stop until I had read everything Saunders has written. A very fine humanist author

Non-fiction:

  • Succeed: How We Can Reach Our Goals by Heidi Grant Halvorson

    I would rate this as one of the books most likely to generate long term positive changes in the reader.

  • Confessional of a Pickup Artist Chaser: Long interviews with hideous men by Clarisse Thorn

    Achieves the near-impossible by producing a sympathetic look at the weird world of “pickup” culture from a (liberal) feminist perspective.

Other excellent books I read this year:

  • A History of the Future in 100 Objects by Adrian Hon
  • The Ocean At The End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
  • The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester
  • Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie
  • Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality by Eliezer Yudokowsky
  • Among Others by Jo Walton
  • Who Could That Be At This Hour? by Lemony Snicket
  • The Ascent of Rum Doodle by W.E. Bowman
  • Flow my tears, the Policeman Said by Philip K Dick
  • Margret Thatcher: The Authorised Biography by Charles Moore

In 2014 I want to make a conscious effort to read more non-fiction and less books that were merely “good” but not “excellent”. Predictably, I already have dozens of books in my queue.