The OF Blog: Best of 2013: The Longlists

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Best of 2013: The Longlists

It's that time of year where most anyone with a platform and an opinion starts to release his or her "Best of 2013" lists.  I've been doing this for around a decade now, first on wotmania and then on this blog.  Much has changed since that time, as I've begun again reading much more non-speculative fiction than speculative fiction (although there will be several sterling examples of the latter appearing on these lists).  To date, I have read or have begun reading 101 books released in the US in 2013 and these are the books from which I'll choose shortlisted/winning titles the last week of the year.  Several of these books belong in several categories and I'll list them in such.  Those that do not fit in the preceding ones will be (along with those that do appear in category lists) considered for the general "best of 2013" list.  The titles will appear in the order in which I read them, as I wrote the titles down from my 2013 reading log.  Feel free to argue for/against the titles listed:

Short Fiction Collections:

Tamas Dobozy, Siege 13
George Saunders, Tenth of December
Yoko Ogawa, Revenge
Angélica Gorodischer, Tráfalgar
Karen Russell, Vampires in the Lemon Grove
Jim Gavin, Middle Men
Joan Silber, Fools
Jyrki Vainonen, The Explorer & Other Stories
Ron Rash, Nothing Gold Can Stay


Nisi Shawl (ed.), Bloodchildren
João Barreiros (ed.), Lisboa no Ano 2000
John Joseph Adams and Douglas Cohen (eds.), Oz Reimagined
Mike Allen (ed.), Clockwork Phoenix 4
Mariano Villarreal and Luis Pestarini (eds.), Terra Nova:  vol. 2


Helene Welker, The Golem and the Jinni
Sofia Samatar, A Stranger in Olondria
NoViolet Bulawayo, We Need New Names
Matt Bell, In the House upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods
J.M. Sidorova, The Age of Ice
Therese Anne Fowler, Z:  A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald
Ann Leckie, Ancillary Justice
Bill Cheng, Southern Cross the Dog


Lauren Elkin and Scott Esposito, The End of Oulipo?
Justin Landon and Jared Shurin (eds.), Speculative Fiction 2012
Carolyn Dalgliesh, The Sensory Child Gets Organized
Martín Arias and Martín Hadis, Professor Borges:  A Course on English Literature
Naoki Higashida, The Reason I Jump
Giacomo Leopardi, Zibaldone
Wendy Lower, Hitler's Furies
John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell, March: Book One
Al Gore, The Future
Denise Kiernan, The Girls of Atomic City
Gene Yuen Yang, Boxers/Saints
Umberto Eco, Storia delle Terre e dei Luoghi Leggendari
George Packer, The Unwinding

Graphic Novels:

Ayun Halliday and Paul Hoppe, Peanut
John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell, March: Book One
Gene Yuen Yang, Boxers/Saints

Children's/Middle Grade/Young Adult:

Kate DiCamillo, Flora & Ulysses
Alaya Dawn Johnson, The Summer Prince
Gene Yuen Yang, Boxers/Saints
Meg Rosoff, Picture Me Gone
Cynthia Kadohata, The Thing About Luck
Kathi Appelt, The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp
Tom McNeal, Far Far Away

Translated Works:

Yoko Ogawa, Revenge
Angélica Gorodischer, Tráfalgar
Ismail Kadare, The Fall of the Stone City
Xu Lei, Search for the Buried Bomber
Pierre Grimbert, The Secret of Ji:  Six Heirs
Nihad Sirees, The Silence and the Roar
Jean-Marie Blas de Robles, Where Tigers are at Home
Sinan Antoon, The Corpse Washer
Martín Arias and Martín Hadis, Professor Borges:  A Course on English Literature
Naoki Higashida, The Reason I Jump
Inga Ābele, High Tide 
Liliana Bodoc, The Days of the Deer 
Giacomo Leopardi, Zibaldone 
László Krasznahorkai, Seiobo There Below 
Jyrki Vainonen, The Explorer & Other Stories 
Leena Krohn, Datura 
Andrzej Sapkowski, The Time of Contempt 
João Cerqueira, The Tragedy of Fidel Castro


J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fall of Arthur 
Adrian Matejka, The Big Smoke 
Mary Szybist, Incarnadine 
Lucie Brock-Broido, Stay, Illusion 
Matt Rassmussen, Black Aperture 
Frank Bidart, Metaphysical Dog 

Foreign Language: 
João Barreiros (ed.), Lisboa no Ano 2000 (Portuguese)
Alliah, Metanfetaedro (Portuguese)
Ildefonso Falcones, La reina descalza (Spanish)
José Ovejero, La invención del Amor (Spanish)
Umberto Eco, Storia delle Terre e dei Luoghi Leggendari (Italian)
Mariano Villarreal and Luis Pestarini (eds.), Terra Nova:  vol. 2 (Spanish)

2013 Novels Not Already Listed: 

Leah Stewart, The History of Us 
Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson, A Memory of Light 
Jim Harrison, The River Swimmer 
Thomas Maltman, Little Wolves 
Adam Mansbach, Rage is Back 
Jamaica Kincaid, See Now Then 
Karen Lord, The Best of All Possible Worlds 
Carlene Bauer, Frances and Bernard 
Jennifer Cody Epstein, The Gods of Heavenly Punishment 
Ruth Ozeki, A Tale for the Time Being 
William H. Gass, Middle C 
Nalo Hopkinson, Sister Mine

Kate Atkinson, Life After Life
Mary Beth Keane, Fever 
James Salter, All That Is 
Ron Currie, Jr., Flimsy Little Plastic Miracles 
Jonathan Dee, A Thousand Pardons 
M. John Harrison, Empty Space 
James Kelman, Mo Said She was Quirky 
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah 
Karen Joy Fowler, We are all Completely Beside Ourselves 
Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at the End of the Lane 
Benjamin Percy, Red Moon 
Evangeline Walton, She Walks in Darkness 
Jim Crace, Harvest 
Colum McCann, TransAtlantic 
Colm Tóibín, The Testament of Mary 
Philipp Meyer, The Son 
Terry Goodkind, The Third Kingdom 
Alice McDermott, Someone 
Rachel Kushner, The Flamethrowers 
Elizabeth Graver, The End of the Point 
Jhumpa Lahiri, The Lowland 
Thomas Pynchon, Bleeding Edge 
Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch 

Eleanor Catton, The Luminaries
Tom Drury, Pacific 
Tash Aw, Five Star Billionaire 
James McBride, The Good Lord Bird 

And for those wondering why certain titles were listed in the final section, I chose to list all of the 2013 releases that I read.  It is possible that I might consider doing a "Disappointing 2013 Release" category (although some didn't disappoint as much as they sucked to the level of my low expectations), but I am uncertain.  Should I do such?

Also, I will write a series of articles between Christmas week and New Year's Eve on these categories and there will be a focus on my favorite 3 from each category followed by a combined top 25.  Hope these titles will be of interest to readers looking to buy something in the near future.  I do reserve the right to add any new titles that I don't currently own by Christmas, but odds of that are relatively low for now.


Cyndi said...

So thrilled you put Trafalgar on the short fiction list! A very fun read in either language.

Ian Sales said...

Neither Kate Atkinson nor Eleanor Catton are debuts. Atkinson is a well-established writer with a number of novels to her credit - some of them have even been adapted for television. The Luminaries was Catton's second novel.

Lsrry said...

Misread my notes. Corrected.

Bill said...

Matt Bell has also had previous books, such as Cataclysm Baby (2012).

I enjoyed, but was less than impressed with Ogawa's earlier books, The Housekeeper and the Professor and Diving Pool. Is Revenge quite different?


Lsrry said...

I'm aware of that, but Cataclysm Baby is a novella, so this is his debut novel. As for the Ogawa, it's a collection of themed stories about revenge. Differs a bit from her earlier work.

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