Books 2013

Best Books of the Year: My personal Top 20

best books 2013 stefan mesch wordpress.

(After a popular list last year [Link] and another in 2012 [Link]…)

…here are the 20 very best books I’ve read in 2013:


20: WALTER ABISH, „How German is it“, Novel, 1980:
How German is It (Wie Deutsch ist es)

19: SARI BOTTON (Editor): „Goodbye to all that. Writers on Loving and Leaving New York“, nonfiction anthology / personal essays, 2013:
Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving New York

18: BARBARA PYM, „Excellent Women“, Novel, 1952:
Excellent Women

17: ALEXANDER MAKSIK, „You deserve nothing“, Novel, 2011:
You Deserve Nothing

16: BRIAN WOOD, „DMZ“, 12-volume Graphic Novel series, 2005 to 2012:
DMZ Vol. 12: The Five Nations of New York

15: A.S. KING, „Reality Boy“, Young Adult Novel, 2013:
Reality Boy

14: KATE SOUTHWOOD, „Falling to Earth“, Novel, 2013:
Falling to Earth

13: ANNA FUNDER, „Stasiland“ […alternatives / runner-ups: BARBARA DEMICK, „Nothing to Envy“ and SEBASTIAN HAFFNER, „Defying Hitler“: Three great nonfiction / cultural studies reads that focus on ordinary people and mass mentality in totalitarian regimes.]
Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Walland Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea and Defying Hitler

12: ÉDOUARD LEVÉ, „Autoportrait“, postmodern novel / art / journalism, France 2005:

11: DEBBIE LEVY, „Imperfect Spiral“, Young Adult Novel, 2013:
Imperfect Spiral

10: J.H. WILLIAMS III, W. HADEN BLACKMAN, „Batwoman“ 1 to 3, Graphic Novels, 2011 to 2013:
Batwoman, Vol. 1: Hydrology

09: JOHN BRANDON, „Citrus County“, Novel, 2010.
Citrus County

08: BRECHT EVENS, „The Making of“, Belgian Graphic Novel, 2011.
The Making Of

07: ALEXANDER RÜHLE, „Ohne Netz“, German Journalism, 2010.
Ohne Netz: Mein halbes Jahr offline

06: DAVID GATES, „Jernigan“, Novel, 1991.

05: DAVID LEVITHAN, „Two Boys Kissing“, Young Adult Novel, 2013.
Two Boys Kissing

04: MARIA SEMPLE, „Where’d you go, Bernadette“, Novel, 2012.
Where'd You Go, Bernadette

03: CARSON McCULLERS, „The Member of the Wedding“, Novel, 1946.
The Member of the Wedding

02: ROBERT SHERRIFF: „A Fortnight in September“, Novel, 1931.
The Fortnight in September

01: PETER HEDGES: „What’s eating Gilbert Grape“, Novel, 1991.
Gilbert Grape, Irgendwo In Iowa


For a complete list of books I’ve read in 2013, please go here [Link].


In comics, I’ve also enjoyed Glyn Dillon’s „The Nao of Brown“ [Link], the excellent finale of Joe Hill’s „Locke & Key“ series (all in all: the best comic series I have ever read, Link), Juan Diaz Canales‘ „Blacksad“ [Link] detective stories, the finale / later half of Brian Michael Bendis‘ „Alias“ series [Marvel, Link] and the „New 52“ DC comic books featuring „Wonder Woman“ [Link], „Green Lantern“ [Link], the new „Green Arrow“ [Link] and sometimes „Batgirl“ [Link] as well as lots of good, older „Superman“ titles [Link] and Marvel’s amazing „Hawkeye“ series [Link]

…and, just like last year, „Honey & Clover“ [Link] – a „Scott Pilgrim“-like, bittersweet / comedic coming-of-age manga series about five friends at an art school.

Here’s a big collage of the many, many good graphic novels I’ve discovered in 2013:

000 2013 best graphic novels wordpress collageHave a good 2014! More to come!


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and, every month:



Best Books of 2013 – popular new recommendations

Underdog Literature WordPress December 2013.

Every month, I select 15 books that caught my interest lately.

Fresh, off-beat, quirky or curious titles that might deserve more attention.

This month – in time for Christmas:

15 of 2013’s best / most recent books!


01: JINCY WILLETT, „Amy Falls Down“, 336 pages, May 2013. [Realistic Fiction / Satire]

Amy Falls Down: A Novel

02: J.J. ABRAMS, DOUG DORST, „S.“, 472 pages, August 2013. [post-modern fiction / Fantasy]


03: TAMARA FAITH BERGER, „Little Cat“, 224 pages, June 2013. [Realistic Fiction / Memoir]

Little Cat

04: PAUL ROME, „We all sleep in the same Room“, 280 pages, October 2013. [Realistic Fiction]

We All Sleep in the Same Room

05: PETER GELFAN, „Found Objects“, 268 pages, April 2013. [Realistic Fiction]

Found Objects

06: MAC LETHAL, „Texts from Bennett“, 320 pages, September 2013. [Humour]

Texts from Bennett

07: CARI LUNA, „The Revolution of Every Day“, 392 pages, September 2013. [Realistic Fiction]

The Revolution of Every Day

08: TERRY McMILLAN, „Who asked you?“, 400 pages, September 2013. [Realistic Fiction / Chick Lit]

Who Asked You?

09: HELEN WAN, „The Partner Track“, 304 pages, September 2013. [Realistic Fiction]

The Partner Track: A Novel

10: MARTIN FLETCHER, „Jacob’s Oath“, 323 pages, October 2013. [Historical Fiction / WW2 – and set in Heidelberg, Germany]

Jacob's Oath

11: SEBASTIEN BREBEL, „Villa Bunker“, 106 pages, July 2013. [Realistic Fiction; French]

Villa Bunker

12: MARTIN VAN BOOY, „The Illusion of Seperateness“, 224 pages, July 2013. [Historical Fiction / Realistic Fiction]

The Illusion of Separateness

13: KAREN JOY FOWLER, „We are all completely besides ourselves“, 310 pages, May 2013. [Realistic Fiction]

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

14: STEPHEN DIXON, „His Wife leaves him“, 407 pages, September 2013. [Realistic Fiction: YA]

His Wife Leaves Him

15: CHINELO OKPARANTA, „Happiness, like Water“, 208 pages, August 2013. [Short Stories]

Happiness, Like Water


As a bonus, here are five 2013 nonfiction books that I’ve sampled and liked:

16: SCOTT NADELSON, „The Next Scott Nadelson: A Life in Progress“, 264 pages, February 2013.

The Next Scott Nadelson: A Life in Progress

17: SHERI FINK, „Five Days at Memorial“, 558 pages, September 2013.

Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital

18: J.L. WITTERICK, „My Mother’s Secret: A Novel based on a true Holocaust Story“, 208 pages, March 2013.

My Mother's Secret: A Novel Based on a True Holocaust Story

19: PAUL KWIATKOWSKI, „And every Day was overcast“, 280 pages, October 2013.

And Every Day Was Overcast

20: DAVID FINKEL, „Thank you for your Service“, 272 pages, October 2013.

Thank You For Your Service


Here are five books from 2013 that made me curious enough to buy them:

01: DAVID RHODES, „Jewelweed“, 448 pages, April 2013. [Realistic Fiction]


02: DONNA TARTT, „The Goldfinch“, 756 pages, October 2013. [Realistic Fiction]

The Goldfinch

03: ELIZABETH GILBERT, „The Signature of all Things“, 512 pages, October 2013. [Historical Fiction]

The Signature of All Things

04: ALISSA NUTTING, „Tampa“, 272 pages, July 2013. [Realistic Fiction]


05: PRISCILLE SIBLEY, „The Promise of Stardust“, 432 pages, February 2013. [Mainstream]

The Promise of Stardust


…and finally, here are nine recent books from 2013 that I read – and that were really good:

5 of 5 stars: DAVID LEVITHAN, „Two Boys kissing“, 208 pages, August 2013. [Realistic Fiction / YA]

Two Boys Kissing

4 of 5 stars: KATE SOUTHWOOD, „Falling to Earth“, 272 pages, March 2013. [Realistic Fiction / Historical Fiction]

Falling to Earth

4 of 5 stars: JANETTE JENKINS, „Firefly“, 156 pages, June 2013. [Realistic Fiction]


4 of 5 stars: DENNIS MAHONEY, „Fellow Mortals“, 288 pages, February 2013. [Realistic Fiction]

Fellow Mortals

4 of 5 stars: LEA CARPENTER, „Eleven Days“, 288 pages, June 2013. [Realistic Fiction]

Eleven Days

4 of 5 stars: SUSAN NUSSBAUM, „Good Kings Bad Kings“, 298 pages, March 2013. [Realistic Fiction: YA / literary fiction]

Good Kings Bad Kings

4 of 5 stars: SARI BOTTON, „Goodbye to all that. Writers on Loving and Leaving New York“, 288 pages, September 2013. [personal Essays]

Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving New York

4 of 5 stars: SONALI DERANYIAGALA, „Wave“, 274 pages, March 2013. [Memoir]


4 of 5 stars: NICKOLAS BUTLER, „Shotgun Lovesongs“, 432 pages, September 2013. [Mainstream; German edition]

Shotgun Lovesongs


…have a look at my „Young Adult Literature: Best of 2013“ recommendations, too!


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