Bookmark | Top 10 Books of 2013

Friday, 10 January 2014

At the start of 2013 I set myself the challenge of reading a total of thirty five books, an ambitious goal considering my schedule and how little time I had to read. (How ironic that a librarian doesn't have time to read!) Using my Goodreads account as a tool for finding books that were similar to previous reads and recording my progress throughout the year; I managed to read thirty over the year. I hope to feature more book related content on the blog so I have included a Bookmark segment in the navigation sidebar. Feel free to add me as a friend on goodreads via this link

Before I recommend my favourites of 2013 books I would like to mention that I don't have a simple criteria for how I judge books because they all serve different purposes varying on genre, target audience etc. However, I do follow a strict 100 page test and will promptly abandon any book that fails to meet my standards. Important qualities I look for during those 100 pages include.. 
  1. Engaging content: Character development, entertaining plot etc
  2. Writing quality: Not just big fancy words but making every word significant 
  3. Themes/Messages: Does it have a agenda? 

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? - Mindy Kaling 
I want to believe Mindy and I would be best friends in real life. As a fan of Mindy's tv show The Mindy Project and I'm encharmed by her witt and sassiness. It was funny, entertaining and she shares personal stories like your chatting over coffee. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? doesn't stick with the typical writing format and includes lists, pictures and chapters written by friends. I loved it and it was the first memoir I've read. 

One Day - David Nicholls 
Emma and Dexter. Dex and Em. What a precious duo. We visit them for only one day a year over the course of twenty years, catching flashes of their lives. They quickly become real to me because their stories are so real; grief, drug addictions, anxiety, dysfunctional relationships. A enjoyable quality is the alternating chapter point of views, it isn't a typical romance novel but I loved reading about their love. 

Thirteen Reasons Why - Jay Asher 
The story follows Clay when he learns of the thirteen reasons why Hannah committed suicideI loved the journey this book took me on especially how it addresses multiple themes for a young adult readership such as; identity, sexuality, grief, social anxiety, bullying and mental health. Also the re-occurring message of how action and inaction can impact an individual. It's not as depressing as it makes out to be so please read if you would like to experience something a little different. 

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - Ransom Riggs
This book is the first of it's kind. I respected its courage to push fiction boundaries, testing my imagination as a reader and inspiring creativity. I have lent my own copy to many people and the sequel Hollow City can be pre-ordered here for release date on the 29th January!

Glow - Amy Kathleen Ryan
Space and science fiction wasn't ever 'my thing' Glow changed that. I enjoyed concepts of faith, gender roles & IVF. It's dystopian literature in content especially in the revolutionary anti-government messages it communicates. Thank goodness it is a trilogy because I wanted more! Spark and Flame are the books that continue the story. 

The Reader - Bernhard Schlink
Set is a postwar Germany landscape it follows Michael and Hanna, sectioned in two parts over seven years. This novel is quite philosophical in dealing with the ethics of World War II, childhood innocence and relationships. Written beautifully here's a sample “Desires, memories, fears, passions form labyrinths in which we lose and find and then lose ourselves again.” (18)

The Help - Kathryn Stockett
I loved this book so much it changed the way I interacted with books. Normally I would worship the books, not cracking their spines, using bookmarks and keeping them in pristine condition. This book taught me bad habits like highlighting quotes, dog-earing pages and writing thoughts in margins. If I had my hearts desire I would hand out copies to strangers; it shares so much wisdom. 

Beauty Queens - Libba Bray
Most feminist book I have ever read but methodically presented in a satirical, modern pop-culture context that shifts gears into a new age feminism.  Libba Bray creates these fictional worlds that seem so fantastical but with a huge skeleton based on modern society. Likeable characters, hilarious dialogue,  and interesting structures (pageant contestant profiles, the commercial breaks adverts & the glimpses into the each characters past)

Jasper Jones - Craig Silvey 
This book draws comparisons to Harper Lee's 'To Kill A Mockingbird' yet it is so vibrant in painting a different story in shades of Australian culture, racism, the underdog and rural living in Western Australia in the 60's. Probably the most accurate description of life as a teenager written by an adult. Absolutely magical read and has a place in my top favourite books of all time. 

The Language of Flowers - Vanessa Diffenbaugh 

Another book that has won place as a top favourite of all time this was the most beautifully written book read in 2013. I loved it so much I reread it as soon as I finished. Victoria Jones is so fractured and broken and her story is a universal story. I loved how Victoria made me listen to everyone's stories because everyone matters and has something significant to share.


  1. This is a really interesting list, I really need to read more books. One of the last books that I actually read was One day..didn't like what happened to Em though xx

    The Belle Narrative

    1. Lovely of you to visit my blog Aimee! You are not alone in your struggle to find time to read! I enjoyed reading One Day however I agree with you about the ending and wish that Dex and Em could live together with beautiful little babies!

      XO's Paige

  2. I have been eager to read more in 2014. Reading your list was a wonderful start! I love your descriptions, sometimes I worry about reading lists like this because I think the author will give "too much" away and spoil the book for me. You wrote it beautifully without spoiling so thank you!

    ♥ Amy

    1. Thank you for your compliments Amy! I can relate to your concerns about review-spoilers and I find that sometime even the descriptions on the books 'blurb'/back cover give away too much information. I wrote these descriptions to encourage anyone who finds my reviews interesting to peruse their own research!

      Have a lovely day petal!
      XO's Paige

  3. I loved this post so much. I have only read two books you mentioned so I am excited to read the ones you recommended now that I have so much time on my hands. Do you have a Goodreads account?

    1. Awh what a lovely comment! I'm glad you enjoyed reading the same books as I have and if we have similar taste in books you should peruse the others I've mentioned! I sure do have Goodreads account I've linked it in the post but here it is also

      XO's Paige

  4. Great post, Paige! Thanks to you, my to-read list on Goodreads has just enlarged! So many books to read and so little time... But oh well. I look forward to read One Day, you made it sound more interesting than the movie - obviously - which was a tad too vanilla-scented for me. And I didn't recall any drug habits, meh boriiiing. I need more of your recommendations! As we're already connected on Goodreads, I can always stalk your readings ;)

    1. It is so lovely to hear you have been inspired to read more because books have the ability to transform lives! Yes! I find that minimal time makes reading difficult but I always reserve 30 minutes of a night to read and put aside all electronics and enjoy a book. Goodreads is such a great website for the book community, feel free to do as you like!

      XO's Paige