Books I Read in 2013

I got a Kobo for Christmas in 2012 and thus started the year, by fluke, reading Alice Munro’s newest short story collection Dear Life. How fortuitous! I finished the year reading the 2013 Giller prize winner Lynn Coady’s books, including Hellgoing.  And added the short stories and novels of Lisa Moore, another east-coaster, who was on the Giller short list, to my repertoire.

Along the way I re-connected with Joyce Carol Oates, Susan Musgrave and Margaret Atwood, became acquainted with Charles Bukowski, and ploughed my way through David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas (I’m still undecided).

A happy find were the Staff Picks to Go book bags from the Greater Victoria Public Library.  The “Family Matters” selection yielded works by Dorothy Gallagher, Shirley Jackson, Steve Burgess, Iain Reid, Alison Bechdel and David Sedaris.  Some books like The Bang-Bang Club and An Anthropologist on Mars were inspired by movies.  A chance post on Facebook introduced me to Ruth Ozeki long before A Tale for the Time Being was short listed for the Man Booker, and another post mentioned Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Lowland (another nominee).

I tried really hard to like Junot Diaz, continue to be amazed by Aleksandr Hemon, and was surprised to realize that I’d never before read a book by Louise Erdrich (The Round House) who has an enviable body of work over more than 30 years.

Dan Chaon, Russell Wangersky and Bill Gaston present the weird and wacky in their short story collections, and Anita Rau Badami remains one of my favourite living authors.

Most of the authors on this list have been recognized (either as nominees or as winners) by various award committees or lists including the IMPAC, Giller, Man Booker, Governor General’s, Pulitzer, Trillium, Orange Prize, National Book Critics Circle Awards, New York Times Notable Books, Guardian Fiction, Books in Canada 1st Novel, and a couple of prizes as yet unknown to me – the Paragrahe McLennan (from the Quebec Writers’ Federation), Marian Engel (for a Canadian woman writer in mid-career), Kiriyama Pacific Rim Prize,  and the Dos Passos Prize (best currently under-recognized American writer in the middle of their career).

The total (there may be a few more to come) is 65 with little over half being by women (I try really hard to keep a balance in this regard).  I hope you find some treasures here – I know that I have!

Books November 2013

Books I Read in 2013

Among the Missing, Dan Chaon

Dear Life, Alice Munro

Juan de Fuca’s Strait, Barry Gough

Rowboat in a Hurricane, Julie Angus

Run With the Hunted, Charles Bukowski

The Rescuer, Joyce Carol Oates

Too Much Happiness, Alice Munro

Tubes   Andrew Blum,

Whirl Away, Russell Wangersky

Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell

Given, Susan Musgrave

The Bang-Bang Club, Greg Mrainovich

This is How You Lose Her, Junot Diaz

British Columbia: A New Historical Atlas, Derek Hayes

Mixed An Anthology of Short Fiction on the Multiracial Experience

My Year of Meats, Ruth Ozeki

The Fortress of Solitude, Jonathan Lethem

The Griffin Poetry Prize Anthology, 2011

A Tale for the Time Being, Ruth Ozeki

An Anthropologist on Mars: Seven Paradoxical Tales, Oliver Sacks

Best European Fiction 2011

What the Dog Saw and Other Adventures, Malcolm Gladwell

Gargoyles, Bill Gaston

God of Missed Connections, Elizabeth Bachinsky

Last Night I Dreamed of Peace: The Diary of Dang Thuy Tram,

Love and Obstacles, Aleksandar Hemon

The Book of My Lives, Aleksandr Hemon

The Glassblowers, George Sipos

To the Edge of the Sky, Anhua Gao

Can you Hear the Nightbird Call, Anita Rau Badami

Hope and Despair, Monia Mazigh

If You Eat, You Never Die, Tony Romano

The Round House, Louise Erdrich

Creatures of Habit, Jill McCorkle

Fun Home, Alison Bechdel

Life Among the Savages, Shirley Jackson

Life Stories, Dorothy Gallagher

One Bird’s Choice, Iain Reid

Who Killed Mom?, Steve Burgess

Painting the Dog, Leon Rooke

Player One, Douglas Coupland

Still She Haunts Me, Katie Riophe

the Gum Thief   , Douglas Coupland

Unbuilt Victoria, Dorothy Mindinhall

Deloume Road, Matthew Hooton

Fugitive Pieces, Anne Michaels

How to Get into the Twin Palms, Karolina Waclawiak

The Book of Frog, Jan Zwicky

The Cabala and the Woman of Andros, Thornton Wilder

Fitting Ends, Dan Chaon

Interpreter of Maladies, Jhumpa Lahiri

Nights Below Station Street, David Adams Richards

The Question of Bruno, Aleksandr Hemon

Vaclav & Lena, Haley Tanner

Unaccustomed Earth, Jhumpa Lahiri

Housekeeping, Marilynne Robinson

Unless, Carol Shields

The Lowland, Jhumpa Lahiri

Degrees of Nakedness,Lisa Moore

Victory Meat    Lynn Coady editor

The Journey Prize Winners edition 20

Hellgoing, Lynn Coady

Open, Lisa Moore

Play the Monster Blind, Lynn Coady

February , Lisa Moore


See also:  Books I Read in 2012

About @lacouvee

Community Builder. Catalyst. Speaker. Writer. Arts Advocate.

Passionate about bridging online and offline communities to effect positive change.

I truly believe that one person can make a difference and that we all have our own lives to live, creatively, while respecting the unique nature of others.


  1. Some other books I have loved: The Art of Racing, I’m Still Alice, The Amazing Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, Me Before You…for every book I read, I add at least five to my list.

  2. One correction to my list above – the correct title is “The Art of Racing in the Rain.”

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