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Hello! Thanks for stopping by Take Me Away, where I review books of a variety of genres. My favorite genres are literary and contemporary fiction, though I also enjoy some mystery/thrillers. I also enjoy sociological and psychological non-fiction. Check out the tabs across the top to navigate the site. All the reviews on this site are categorized by title (fiction or non-fiction) or by author. Check out the "About Jenny" section to learn a little more about me. Thanks again for stopping by, and feel free to leave a comment even if it's just to say hi! =)

Best of 2013

Monday, December 30, 2013


This year I read 32 books.... significantly less than I read since prior to 2008! I also did not focus on new releases as much (reading only 6 that were published this year). But, nonetheless, here are my favorites that I read this year regardless of publication date. Also, most of these have not yet been reviewed here but are coming up in the new year. :)

Non-Fiction

#5 The Invisible Gorilla by Christopher Chabris & Daniel Simons (2010)


Fascinating insight into how people can be deceived every day. You'd think you'd notice a gorilla walking across a video of kids bouncing a basketball... you'd be surprised!







#4 Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich (2001)

A glaring look at how hard it really is to get by or even get a jump start on grueling, minimum wage jobs.








#3 Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg (2013)

Practical and succinct advice on how women can play bigger roles in the workplace. But also can be applicable to men in many ways.








#2 Far From the Tree by Andrew Solomon (2012)

 As I stated in my review, "In Far From the Tree, Solomon chronicles the lives of various families whose children have created what Solomon terms "horizontal identities"; this refers to the new cultures their children are inherently born into as a result of the differences they're born with such as deafness, dwarfism, transgender, etc. Unlike "vertical identities" where one's children have essentially the same characteristics and life experiences, children with "horizontal identities" become part of a life that their own parents can't truly relate to. The premise of this book was to be the focus of the families themselves and how they manage their differences, but I found it to be more of a sociological study on the different groups Solomon reveals."


#1 Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind by Ellen F. Brown & John Wiley Jr. (2011)

This might be suited to a more specific demographic, those who find both the publishing industry interesting as well as the hugely loved and classic status of GWTW. Fascinating narrative about how the rights of GWTW were protected by the author herself despite all she was up against.



Fiction

 #6 The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom (2010)

I believe this was our book club's favorite this year. An Irish orphan is taken in by a plantation owner and lives and works with the slaves in the kitchen house. But as she becomes older and starts to be treated differently from the main house she struggles to maintain her familial relationships.






#5 It by Stephen King (1986)

Hubby and I read this book, about a group of kids trying to overcome a monster that kills children every 2-3 decades, in Sept/Oct and both really liked it. I surprised myself with how drawn I was to this and how much I flew threw it. I thought I'd be scared but turns out I can handle horror after all. (Thought that was something I left in my teens!) The only downside was that at almost 1100 pages, it was a tad too long and I did think there were some parts that could have been shorter. (Somehow it (the book as well as subsequently watching the movie) lessened my fear of clowns! Weird!


#4 Where'd Ya Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple (2012)

This one was a surprise for me, but it has not left my head since I read it. Actually, hubby and I listened to the audio on a road trip this year, and the audio is fantastic. This story about an agoraphobic mom who promises her daughter a trip to Antarctica, who antagonizes the stuck up people at her daughter's school, and who corresponds with a personal assistant in India is so quirky and charming and fun! My husband feels the same way about this one. Turns out this is being made into a movie as well.



#3 Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain (2012)

Last year I would have agreed with those who argued over the two, that The Yellow Birds was the quintessential novel about the Iraqi war. But then I read this, which has a completely different tone, and now I don't know! They're so different - this one being more light hearted and satirical - but either way this was one of my favorites this year.





#2 Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight (2013)

I don't necessarily know about the comparisons this one has received to Gone Girl. It's different. But it does give you a similar rush when reading and by the end I felt like I had been punched in the gut! Maybe that's not a good metaphor, LOL, but I could not put this one down.






#1 Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter (2012)

Like I said, full review to come later, but this was so good and so creative! I put it off for so long because of how vague I felt the description was but I loved this one!

8 comments:

Anita LeBeau said...

Nice to see your list!! Several in common!! Looking forward to your reviews. I've missed you.

Brooke said...

Beautiful Ruins made my list as well. Have a Happy New Years!

Aarti said...

Beautiful Ruins seems to be quite popular! I'll have to add it to my list for 2014.

Ti said...

IT was something, wasn't it? I loved Billy Lynn too.

nomadreader said...

I have so missed your reviews--we have such similar taste! I too loved Lean In (this year) and Nickel and Dimed (ten+ years ago?!) I've been waiting to read Far From the Tree until I get pregnant. Also loved Bernadette, Amelia, and Beautiful Ruins. I will have to check out The Kitchen House. I had no idea what it was actually about, but it sounds right up my alley!

Heather @ Book Addiction said...

You know how much I loved Far From the Tree so I'm happy to see it on your list. I also loved Lean In and Nickel and Dimed. Even though you read fewer books this year than you usually do, you got some really good ones in!

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

Nickel and Dimed sounds fascinating. Happy New Year.

Athira said...

Love your list! Bernadette was on my list too and so many others. Love how that book rocked the bloglandia!

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