Saturday, December 14, 2013

2013: A Year in Reviews



As 2013 winds down, I thought I'd compile a list of the book reviews I wrote this year for about.com. I jumped around a little this year and reviewed a few things that weren't necessarily current releases, so instead of breaking titles down by their release month, I thought I'd list them in order of the ranking I gave them. It's fascinating to see this breakdown -- next week I've planned to feature my top 5 books of 2013 and realize now that some I've ranked relatively far from 5 stars are among my personal favorites of the year. It's a discrepancy I understand but find difficult to explain -- I guess it's because I try to consider not just my own opinions of a book but how I expect the general reading public will engage with the text. Not everyone will be able to crack Will Self's Umbrella, for instance... although I adored the book, isn't "brazen inaccessibility" a flaw that one should consider in a review? Stay tuned for my top five next week, which will likely include some books I've not written about.

5 stars:
The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

4 1/2 stars:

The Kraus Project by Jonathan Franzen
Roth Unbound by Claudia Roth Pierpont
Red Doc> by Anne Carson
Five Star Billionaire by Tash Aw
Revenge by Yoko Ogawa 
The Unknown University by Roberto Bolano
All That Is by James Salter

4 stars:

The Tragedy of Mr. Morn by Vladimir Nabokov
Tenth of December by George Saunders 
The Teleportation Accident by Ned Beaumann
A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra
The Good Lord Bird by James McBride
Umbrella by Will Self
Momo by Michael Ende
The Dinner by Herman Koch
The End by Anders Nilsen 
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

3 1/2 stars:

Vampires in the Lemon Grove by Karen Russell
Enon by Paul Harding
Open Door by Iosi Havilio

3 stars:

The Strange Tale of Panorama Island by Edogawa Ranpo
Personae by Sergio De La Pava
The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout

2 1/2 stars:

Both Flesh and Not by David Foster Wallace

2 stars:

Loteria by Mario Alberto Zambrano

1 1/2 stars:

The Best American Comics 2013
The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards by Kristopher Jansma

Currently reading:
At Night We Walk In Circles by Daniel Alarcon

Currently listening to:
WWXR

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