Here are the books that knocked my sox off in 2013. They're not posted in any kind of order.
Lawrence In Arabia by Scott Anderson
I posted about this book earlier in the year and it took me a couple weeks to finish it but it was well worth the investment of time. Absolutely required reading for people interested in the Great War, the history of the Middle East, and the impact those century-ago events and decisions have on current events.
As She Left It by Catriona McPherson
I bought this at Bouchercon after seeing the author and it was stunning. Absolutely memorable world building, and yes, I was surprised at the end.
Directions to the Beach of the Dead by Richard Blanco
I'm a fangirl of the poet. I carried this book around with me for weeks, reading one poem on each leg of the subway trip to work and back. Then I read them all again. I retained some semblence of dignity by reading them aloud only when I was safely tucked in my own apartment. If you think you don't love poetry, or poetry is too hard to understand, I challenge you to read this book and retain that opnion.
Loyalty by Ingrid Thoft
This is a stunning debut. Absolutely required reading for every writer trying to get a debut novel in front of an agent. There's nothing new or zany here. It's just absolutely solid work. I'd have signed this book in a heartbeat if I'd seen it but I didn't. She's with Robert B. Parker's agent. I'm still weeping.
Five Days at Memorial Sheri Fink
When I posted about this book earlier in the year, I predicted it would be on this list. It is.
Devil In the Grove Gilbert King
Everyone in America should read this book. It's the true story of what it was like to be a young poor Negro in Florida before the Civil Rights era. One of the very small details of this book that haunts me is the fact that the NAACP, located on Fifth Avenue here in NYC, had a banner they hung out the window periodically.
I had the pleasure of meeting the author Gilbert King at Bouchercon this year.
He's represented by Nat Sobel who is famous for discovering new writers with talent by reading periodicals. I'm still gnashing my fangs that I didn't do that.
Garden of Stones Sophie Littlefield
There's nothing to say about the astonishingly talented Sophie Littlefield that I haven't said already (and FIRST!)