I just finished reading my 400th and last book for the year and have met or surpassed every single reading goal that I set for 2013. That reading list will be posted later today if I have time or (more likely) on Wednesday afternoon before I go to work. But here are three books (one I purchased last week, the other is arriving by UPS today, and the third I've had on my shelf for two months, awaiting the time that I can go through it carefully to see which elements I can lift and alter in case I have to teach English as well as ESL in the upcoming semester) that likely would have garnered at least some consideration for the category shortlists, if not the Top 25 itself:
3. Shamsur Rahman Faruqi, The Mirror of Beauty
I had this book recommended to me on Twitter on Christmas night by Musharraf Ali Farooqi (2012 Man Asian Prize finalist; review here) and the premise is very promising for this novel that was only just recently released in the US in English translation from Urdu. Hardcover copy should arrive today.
2. Michael Cisco, Member
I think Cisco is one of the finest writers writing in the English language today, so it was to my great chagrin that it wasn't until a week or so ago (I believe it was on a Facebook post by Jeff VanderMeer) that I learned that Member had been out since mid-October. Just not enough time to read it before the new year, alas, as I wouldn't have been surprised if it would crack my Top 25 list if I had somehow had the time to read it.
1. Jeff VanderMeer, Wonderbook
I have been very curious about this "fully illustrated writing book" ever since Jeff started talking about it around two years ago. A casual thumbing through has revealed quite a few interesting lines of thought when it comes to the art and craft of writing, but this book deserves much more time from me than I have been able to manage during the past two months. It will be read in small segments during the early months of 2014 and I might just take a few notes to see how I could apply it in the classroom if I were to teach English/writing full-time again.