Happy New Year! In celebration of the new year (and this new blog), I’ve decided to make this first post about my favorite reads from 2013, and an annual book-lover’s tradition. For the past couple years, I’ve been using the new year as an excuse for a “New Year Book Exchange” with friends and family. I share a list of the best books I read in 2013, and then ask for contributions from others. The idea is to reflect back on what you’ve read over the past year, and start the new year off with a solid list of personally-recommended books to read.
Here’s how it works: anyone who wants in can pick between 1 -10 of their favorite reads from the past year and write very brief descriptions of why they liked each book. These reviews can be as short and simple as you want (they definitely do not have to be as long as mine!). Found a review of the book that sums up your thoughts? Just provide the link to the review. Think the Amazon book page provides a fine content summary? Just include the link.
After I get a few responses, I compile everything into a google doc and share it with the group. Voila! A personalized, eclectic, and often very relevant list of good reads to start off a new year.
Anyone who reads this is welcome to post their best reads of 2013 in the comment section, or just steal the idea and start you own exchange.
And with that, here are my favorites from my 2013 reading list.
Teresa’s Best Reads from 2013
Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed
This book will make you a better person. Technically, this book is a collection of letters from a popular advice columnist (called Sugar, and only recently revealed to be Cheryl Strayed) on The Rumpus. But Strayed is not really an advice columnist in the way you expect; she doesn’t dole out lessons in etiquette or give clear directions to complex situations as if they are black and white. She responds with stories, often incredibly personal ones, filled with heartbreak and resilience and frankness. Despite her name, she doesn’t sugarcoat anything, and you’ll often find yourself pleasantly shocked by the bluntness of her responses. At the same time, she refers to correspondents as “Sweet Pea,” and writes with an eloquence and sense of empathy that will have you desperate to call her up and ask her to be your best friend. If you don’t read anything else on my list, read this.
See Brainpickings for the original review that got me onto this book.
TLDR: Read this if you want to be a better person.
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