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Year-End Roundup of Year-End Roundups, 2013 Style!

December 17, 2013 Books, Guides, Reading, Writing 2 Comments


By Dell Smith

Lists lists lists. This time of year you can’t escape the great encapsulation. How will we ever decide what kind of year it was if we don’t have top ten lists to guide our way? To help you decide how you’ll look back at 2013, the year that was, BTM has rounded up links to those online resources that did all the heavy lifting, figuring out the top ten of whatever is deemed top-tenable.

Lucas Wittmann over at The Daily Beast posts his favorite books of 2013. He gives a nod to George Packer and Donna Tartt, but his list “also reflects a few less applauded or less well-known books,” including Edna O’Brien’s memoir Country Girl, James Salter’s All That Is, and the reprint of Renata Adler’s Speedboat.

Ever wonder what Bill Gate’s mind is like? Now’s your chance to get a little closer to enlightenment because Mr. Gates has posted the best books he read in 2013 at his blog, TheGatesNotes. On why there are no novels on his list, Bill says, “…I read mostly nonfiction because I always want to learn more about how the world works. And reading is how I learn best.” Thumbs up for reading!

NPR offers up Book Concierge, their guide to the best books of the year in categories like NPR Staff Picks, Rather Long, Rather Short, Seriously Great Writing, and the Dark Side. Mix and match categories. Which long book was also seriously great writing? It’s like choose your own adventure.

Publishers Weekly jumps in the fray with their top ten books of the year. And if that doesn’t do it for you, they then asked each author whose book made their list to name their favorite book of the year. Their selections may surprise and infuriate you! (Or not, depends.)

The Atlantic’s editors and writers share their favorite titles—new, classic, or somewhere in between—from a year of reading. Check out The Best Book I Read This Year.

Poetry Magazine gets into the action with Hannah Gamble’s top five poetry books of the year.

Entertainment Weekly has their best crowd-pleasing top ten novels, with titles like Bleeding Edge, by Thomas Pynchon, The Interestings, by Meg Wohlitzer, And the Mountains Echoed, by Khaled Hosseini, and Life After Life, by Kate Atkinson.

Kirkus Review brings us the best fiction books of the year. I like that they include some lesser sung novels of the year including, Asunder, by Chloe Aridjis, The House Of Rumour, by Jake Arnott, The Blind Man’s Garden, by Nadeem Aslam, and Lookaway, Lookaway, by Wilton Barnhardt.

For more, head over to the Huffington Post for their take on the best books of 2013. Disparate titles include Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood & the Prison of Belief by Lawrence Wright, Vampires in the Lemon Grove, stories by Karen Russell, Schroder by Amity Gaige, and The People in the Trees, by Hanya Yanagihara.

If you’re still with me, then you’ll want to click the New York Times 10 Best Books of 2013 if only to solidify in the rankings books you’ll see on many other lists including The Flamethrowers, By Rachel Kushner, The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt, Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Tenth Of December, stories By George Saunders.

The New Yorker asked magazine contributors to boil down their favorites. For example, Edwidge Danticat says “Harlem Nocturne (by Farah Jasmine Griffin) paints vivid and detailed portraits of three African-American women artists: Pearl Primus, Ann Petry, and Mary Lou Williams. The book brilliantly highlights their lives, work, and activism during the Second World War and beyond.” Rebecca Mead says she was “exhilarated by Rachel Kushner’s vivid evocation of nineteen-seventies New York in The Flamethrowers, which was full of sentences that made me want to set the book down and applaud. Elizabeth Gilbert’s The Signature of All Things, which joyfully fulfilled its nineteenth-century ambitions in scale and subject, was a delight.”

That’s it for my list. But if you just can’t get enough, head over to Largehearted boy, who is spending his December aggregating every best-of 2013 book list, adding to it throughout the month. He did the same thing last year, too.


Currently there are "2 comments" on this Article:

  1. Rachel says:

    I also made this list of the books that made the most “Best of 2013″ lists, referencing most of lists you have up there. Here ya go:

  2. Great post, Dell. So many lists, so many awesome books. And so many I have yet to read. Best get to it. :)

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Dell Smith

Dell Smith
Dell Smith is a fiction writer. He grew up on Cape Cod and left town to study filmmaking. He writes stories and novels, and works as a technical writer at a software company northwest of Boston. He has also worked as a videotape editor, cook, music video lackey, TelePrompTer operator, accounts receivable clerk, assistant film editor, caterer, roadie, flea market vendor, videotape duplicator, and wedding videographer. He has lived in Worcester, Bridgeport, Van Nuys, Billerica, Ithaca, Florham Park, Fairfield, and Simi Valley. He brings his life experience to bear in his fiction. His writing has appeared in Fiction, Tropus, J. Journal, Lynx Eye Quarterly, and Grub Street’s 10th anniversary anthology Hacks. He is a regular contributor to The Review Review and maintains a blog, Unreliable Narrator at, featuring essays on movies, writing, and the publishing biz, along with book reviews and author interviews. He is currently writing a novel. Read Full