Kristina’s Top Reads of 2013

Tuesday, 10 December 2013 | Tags: , , , , ,

Perhaps I’m getting more discriminating as I get older but the list of my favourite books of 2013 did not come easy. I confess I have not yet read the year’s biggies, "The Orenda" or "The Luminaries."

I read quite a few books with buzz – The Silent Wife, The Bone Season, The Shining Girls and The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared, to name a few. And while I liked them, I forgot them soon after I put them down.  (Though I do hope to be that spry at 100!) 

Here are my five top reads of 2013, in order of preference. 


Available at amazon.ca

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

This was easily my favourite book of the year.  Professor Don Tillman has decided it’s time to find a wife.  (He has Aspergers, evident to all but him.)  Step one, get prospective dates to fill out a sixteen page questionnaire.  Step two, watch women run in the other direction. That is, until he meets Rosie.  This romantic comedy will put a smile on your face.  I got a few stares when I burst out laughing while reading it on the beach this summer.  Go Don go!



Available at amazon.ca 

Night Film: A Novel by Marisha Pessl

A legendary and enigmatic film director’s daughter is found dead and journalist Scott McGrath and his band of misfit detectives set out to discover why.  Is it a murder or a suicide?  And is a cult, or the occult to blame? A spooky page-turner, this one will have you questioning what is truly going on until the very end.  (I also recommend Pessl’s 2006 work, Special Topics in Calamity Physics)



Available at amazon.ca

Life after Life by Kate Atkinson

Kate Atkinson is one of my favourite mystery writers (try the Jackson Brodie series if you haven’t done so) but this time she breaks format with a story of a woman who dies and is reborn, again and again.  Sometimes she lives for hours, other times for years.  Will she make the same mistakes repeatedly and is there some greater cosmic plan afoot?  The reader reviews of Life after Life were mixed, but I found it original and memorable.



Available at amazon.ca

Never go Back by Lee Child

I’ve praised the Jack Reacher series in these pages before.  In Never go Back, Reacher’s romantic designs on Major Susan Turner have him thrown back in the army and subsequently on the run, all in the effort to clear their names.  Add an unexpected potential family member to the brew and you have what I think is one of the best of the 18 book series.   


Available at amazon.ca

And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini 

When a poor farmer is forced to give up his only daughter to a wealthy Kabul couple, it sets off an avalanche of repercussions that are felt through generations, and all the way from Afghanistan, to Paris and to San Francisco. Not as powerful as The Kite Runner or A Thousand Splendid Suns, Hosseini’s writing is always strong and his stories haunting. 

I’m starting my reading list for the Christmas holidays, and it includes Cuckoo’s Calling and Divergent.  (Want to delve into that series before the movie comes out.) Got any 2013 releases to recommend? 

Top photo: That’s what I plan to be doing in a few weeks! 

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  • Michelle

    Thanks for this! I love a diverse and quality reading list. Enjoyed Gone Girl and Beautiful Ruins on your recommendation. Currently, reading The Book Thief. Happy Holiday reading!

    • http://www.annaandkristina.com/ Kristina

      I have yet to read The Book Thief. I hear the movie is great. Hmm, which to do. Or both?!

      • Emma

        Read the book Kristina! Then the movie.
        Always the book first, Book Thief is wonderful!

        • http://www.annaandkristina.com/ Kristina

          I agree, book first. But I don’t like to read a book and then see the movie too close together. I’m “blessed” (ha ha) with a bad memory so I like to wait a bit and the movie seems fresher! 😉

          • Emma

            Me too! Enjoy. P.S> Love your show(s) and all the best this Holiday Season to you both! Anna and you I mean 🙂

  • Janice G Fraser

    Loved, loved, loved The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert. I suppose it’s genre is historical fiction (unlike her famed ‘eat pray love’) – She has such a easy, conversational tone yet multifaceted and complex story that I couldn’t put it down.

    • http://www.annaandkristina.com/ Kristina

      Thanks Janice, I’ll check it out. I read Eat Pray Love of course, and liked it a lot.

  • Stephanie

    You must read Those Who Saved Us by Jenna Blum. Brilliant story. It was one of those books that stays with you for ages afterwards and really makes you realize there are always two sides to every story. Can’t recommend enough.

    • http://www.annaandkristina.com/ Kristina

      Hi Stephanie, I haven’t heard of it but I will look it up! Thanks for the recommendation.

      • Laura

        I read this book a couple of years ago and I’d have to say it’s one that has stuck with me ever since. I have passed it on to numerous people.

  • Melissa

    Loved the Rosie Project! Another great read is The Husbands Secret -a bit of mystery, some humour and a big surprise! Are there going to be any more episodes of Grocery Bags, great show-love it!

    • http://www.annaandkristina.com/ Kristina

      Hi Melissa, I just finished The Husband’s Secret two days ago! I liked it quite a bit. (Is it bad that I wanted Connor and Tess to stay together??) I just started the Cuckoo’s Calling and I have a good feeling about it!

  • Linda

    Hi Kristina, if your looking for a good read, check out Wonder, its a young adult book, but with an incredibly authentic voice. I have had both my girls, ages 14 and 16 read it, as well as my husband….and our book club read it as well. By the way, I miss your TV show…the Grocery Bag!! Hope to see more episodes soon!

    • http://www.annaandkristina.com/ Kristina

      Thanks Linda, I’ll check it out.

  • RKS22

    You must add the Nelson DeMille series to your list of must reads -Plum Island, The Lion’s Game, The Lion – series with John Corey as an ex-NYPD detective like Jack Reacher, but better. As a West-Coaster, you must have read the Michael Slade series as well I would guess.

  • Lani11

    Check out local writer Sean Slater’s series set in Vancouver & the Lower Mainland. His police thriller
    books have been nominated for Best Crime Novel in Canada.