2013 [in books]

As previously documented, I’ve got a love of reading. And while I’m no good at reading more than one book at a time, I’m always reading one book at a time.

Usually, I have a horrible time deciding which book I’ll pick up; my habit of buying strolling secondhand bookstores means my shelves are stacked with To Read tomes I never quite seem to put a dent in. And once I do sort out what I’d like to pick up next, it’s the time to read that I have to scrounge up somewhere.

But then, moving across the country with only what you can fit in your car, traveling to the other side of the world with no set agenda, and three months without a job will all help in not only narrowing down selection, but finding the time to actually do the reading, too.

Here’s what I tackled in 2013, with a note or two about each. What did you read this year?

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn – NY Times review Started the year on a high-note with the must-read book of the moment, and totally worth the hype.

The Solitude of Prime Numbers by Paolo Giordan0 – NY Times review One of those I’ve been meaning to get to, and finally did!

Indian Summer: The Secret History of the End of an Empire by Alex von Tunzelmann – NY Times review Seemed appropriate reading as I prepared for a trip to India. Fascinating stuff.

Imperfect Birds by Anne Lammott – NY Times review Not Bird by Bird, and not as great as Lammott’s non-fiction. Finished it in about 3 days in Varanasi, India.

Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts – NY Times review Suggested while in Jaipur, bought in Palolem, finished as the train rolled in to Mumbai. Stunning.

An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin – NY Times review An audio book that kept me company – good company – on my drive back from UT.

Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff – NY Times review Forget everything you think you know about the empress and read this book.

LIfe Itself

Life Itself: A Memoir by Roger Ebert – NY Times review It took Ebert’s passing to finally get me to pick up the book I’d had for a year, and I’m sorry I delayed so long. A charming, heartwarming recollection of film and love and, well, life itself.

Down & Dirty Pictures: Miramax, Sundance and the Rise of Independent Film by Peter Biskind – Entertainment Weekly review Though dated now, a particularly entertaining read just a few months out of Park City. Also, remind me never to piss off Harvey Weinstein.

The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri – NY Times review I recounted how I came into this book, and won’t soon forget it. So lovely – the moment and the novel.

This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper – NY Times review This one’s been on my shelf for a bit; when I heard Tina Fey’s in the movie, it jumped to the top of my list.

Save the Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting by Blake Snyder – official site In my “I’m gonna write a screenplay!” phase, this cropped up as the go-to refresher. Still high on my list, after the Holiday 2013 dust settles.

Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting by Syd Field – official site See above.

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card – My brother’s favorite book for ages, I got around to it after college. Re-read it in advance of the film’s release, and glad I did. The film? Meh. The book? Still incredible.

Night Film by Marisha Pessl – NY Times review Decided to give Audible a try (more on that later), and this popped up as a decent first option; and it was just that – great production, but a plot that left me underwhelmed.

Overall, a pretty great year in books. Next task: what to read in 2014!