The 10 Best Books I Read in 2013

Here is my ‘best books of 2013’ list! (Not including my clients, of course…)

Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg – Despite the two-sided media circus around this book I found it incredibly inspiring and enlightening. A must read for any woman.

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes – I loved Moyes’s previous book Last Letter From Your Lover, so I wasn’t sure how she was going to top it–but she did. It is an amazing story that left me in tears on a flight from Toronto to New York City.

The Engagements by J Courtney Sullivan – The smartest women’s fiction novel I read this year. I love multiple POV story lines and intertwined lives so this was a A+ in my opinion.

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell – Everything that should be said about this book already has been said, but if you haven’t read it or have it in your ‘to be read’ pile you’re missing out on an amazing literary experience. No one writes contemporary romances like Rowell.

Night Film by Marisha Pessl – If you like to be scared, this one’s for you. I don’t love horror movies, but I love smart, literary thrillers and this one takes the cake this year. It is absolutely unforgettable and unputdownable. My words do not do it justice.

After Her by Joyce Maynard – I love Maynard. The Good Daughter, Labor Day–these are women’s fiction classics. Her latest is a breathtaking coming-of-age story like I’ve never read before.

The Silent Wife by ASA Harrison – You’ll have heard of this one, and if you haven’t read it this is the domestic thriller of the year. You won’t know what’s coming next. And the Chicago setting is palpable.

Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead – How I loved this read. Upmarket women’s fiction and literary fiction readers pull up a chair! This one will keep you turning the pages and leave you with a book hangover the next day.

Infidelity by Stacey May Fowles – By far my favourite literary fiction read this year. Not only was the Toronto setting familiar and real to me, but the love story was so honest and frenetic that anyone will relate and enjoy.

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent – I have never read anything quite like this. An unfamiliar setting (Iceland) and a hardened and sympathetic heroine will have feminist readers gripped. I know I was. What would you do if you were sentenced to death without a trial in the late 1800s?

It was hard to pick the 10 best reads! What did you enjoy this year?

Published by Carly Watters

Carly Watters is a SVP, senior literary agent and director of literary branding with the P.S. Literary Agency. She is a hands-on agent that develops proposals and manuscripts with attention to detail and the relevant markets. PSLA’s mission is to manage authors’ literary brands for their entire career. Never without a book on hand she reads across categories which is reflected in the genres she represents and is actively seeking new authors in including women’s fiction, commercial and upmarket fiction, select literary fiction, platform-driven non fiction and select memoir. She occasionally represents children's book projects. Carly is drawn to emotional, well-paced narratives, with a great voice and characters that readers can get invested in.

13 thoughts on “The 10 Best Books I Read in 2013

  1. My 2013 was extremely YA/NA-centric; I definitely slacked on my Adult reading! A few of my faves were UNTEACHABLE by Leah Raeder, OCD LOVE STORY by Corey Ann Haydu, 17 & GONE by Nova Ren Suma, and HOW TO LOVE by Katie Cotugno. Also read a lot of great books coming out in 2014, and excited to see what else the year has to hold! (And to catch up on the 2013 Adult books I should’ve been reading!)


  2. Two of my top ten are: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. A tender teenage love story between two cancer patients. Wonderful and charming characters. Also I liked it because of the relationship between the parents and these teenagers. In spite of its subject matter it was also uplifting and funny in many places.
    Second book is Russell Banks Lost Memory of Skin – a front row seat on the homeless lives of sexual offenders and the brilliant sociology professor with a secret past. The writing is spellbinding.


  3. Forever, Interrupted, which I found out about through your blog, was one of my favorite reads of 2013. If not my favorite! Looking forward to her next book. Thanks for a great list to check out. I started Eleanor and Park but it didn’t quite grab me in the opening pages. Maybe I didn’t give it enough of a chance, because I’ve heard nothing but good things about it. Perhaps I should give it another try.


    1. It’s funny, because I tried to get into A Constellation of Vital Phenomena because everyone loved it and I just couldn’t. Some books just don’t click!

      I LOVE that you loved Forever, Interrupted! Taylor Jenkins Reid’s next book is AFTER I DO coming out in July 2014!


  4. I really liked Lean In too…it’s one book that I’ve continued to think about. I now actively “lean in” during meetings, conversations, with my family, at work. Once you are cognizant of your own passivity it’s a bit of a game changer..


  5. My 13 year old granddaughter’s favourite book is The Fault in Our Stars. I have yet to read it, but I will. But one of my favourites of 2013 is We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo. Language breathtaking, characters engaging and situations ranging from hilarious to tragic.


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