The Best Books Read in 2013

Does the world need another best-of list? No, but I add mine to the cloud anyway.

I read lots of good books in 2013, but for the first 11 1/2 months, I struggled to identify a book that seemed to define the year for me, one that I knew would occupy my top shelf for years to come. But finally, I found it. Finished it 10 days before the end of the year, but one that I knew I’d have chosen even if I’d read it in February.

So, here they are. I’ve bunched the first 11 together in random order, leaving my choice of favorite for the end. I hope you find something here that piques your interest:

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#15: The Grapes of Wrath (1939), by John Steinbeck

There is a crime here that goes beyond denunciation. There is a sorrow here that weeping cannot symbolize. There is a failure here that topples all our success.


Like most folks, I first encountered The Grapes of Wrath in high school. I loved it, but my appreciation was entirely surface-level, my 16-year-old antennae not yet tuned to the novel’s strident political implications.

Fast forward about 15 years, and I found myself quite nervous to re-visit it. How dated would this thing be?

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