Susan Nussbaum

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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Underdog Literature, June 2013: 15 fresh or notable, off-the-wall titles

Underdog Literature WordPress June 2013.

Here are 15 books that caught my interest lately.

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


01: SUSAN NUSSBAUM, „Good Kings Bad Kings“, 336 pages, March 2013.

02: MATTHEW SPECKTOR, „American Dream Machine“, 464 pages, March 2013.

03: LAUREN BEUKES, „The Shining Girls“, 368 pages, April 2013. [Mainstream time-travel thriller]

04: MA JIAN, „The Dark Road“, 384 pages, April 2013. [China]

05: COLUM McCANN, „TransAtlantic“, 259 pages, May 2013. [still haven’t read anything of him.]

06: TAO LIN, „Taipei“, 256 pages, June 2013.

07: MIGUEL ÁNGEL ASTURIAS, „The President“, 288 pages, 1946. [recommended by Clemens Setz]

08: JESUS CARRASCO, „Intemperie“ / „Die Flucht“, 224 pages, January 2013. [Dystopia, Spanish]

09: GEORGE PACKER, „The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America“, 448 pages, May 2013.

10: JANET MALCOLM, „Forty-One False Starts: Essays on Artists and Writers“, 320 pages, May 2013. [Essays]

11: NICK FLYNN, „The Reenactments“, 320 pages, January 2013. [Memoir]

12: DAVID BATCHELOR, „Chromophobia“, 128 pages, 2000. [Cultural Studies / Art Criticism]

13: RUTU MODAN, „The Property“, 232 pages, May 2013. [Graphic Novel]

14: MASON CURREY, „Daily Rituals: How Artists Work“, 304 pages, April 2013. [Trivia / Nonfiction]

15: MONIKA HELD, „Der Schrecken verliert sich vor Ort“, 272 pages, March 2013. [German: I liked Mara Giese’s review – here (Link, German)]


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

01: STEVE ERICKSON, „Zeroville“, 329 pages, 2007.

02: LIDIA YUKNAVITCH, „The Chronology of Water“, 268 pages, 2011. [Memoir]

03: KATE SOUTHWOOD, „Falling to Earth“, 264 pages, 2013.

04: JUDITH KUCKART, „Wünsche“, 301 pages, 2013. [German]

05: MARTIN KLUGER, „Abwesende Tiere“, 1040 pages, 2002. [German, recommended by Jo Lendle]


usually, I also promote three books that I read – and that were really good.

but I’ve spent the month finishing a long, nerdy (paid) Marvel Comics book translation for a German publisher…

…and spent all my reading-time with old Superman comics to prepare a slew of Tagesspiegel articles I will write this month – now that „Man of Steel“ is finally in theatres.

I also watched „Iron Man 3“ – and it was near-perfect superhero fun: 4 of 5 stars.


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