Top 10 Reads of 2013

3_booksWhile I was busy making writing a priority in my life, I also made reading a priority. I came across some great inspirational books, enjoyed a couple of classic science fiction novels and dipped into the start of some modern series. On my list you will find 2 books about the craft of writing, I found them very instructional and helpful. You will also find that I read all genres and don’t discriminate because a book was not written for my demographics.

So, with no further delay, here is a list of the top 10 books that I read in 2013.

1. The Traveler’s Gift by Andy Andrews
I had originally read this book in 2012, but it qualifies for this list because I read again in 2013. The Traveler’s Gift is one of the books that touches your soul. I believe every one should read this book, and it’s sequel The Final Summit. This book challenges the reader to consider what it takes to be successful and then to make those things a part of your life. If you choose any one book of this list to read, make it this one.

More than likely, I will read this book again in 2014, but I will try not to make it a part of my list again… but no promises.

2. On Writing by Stephen King
There may be no bigger author in my life time than Stephen King. So who better to get advice about writing from than him? I was very impressed with how much Mr. King tells of both his journey to becoming a writer and about the skills he finds most useful. This is not some dry old text-book on writing, he entertains while educating you.

If you like writing you need to read this book. If you are a fan of Stephen King you need to read this book.

3. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
 Ender’s Game is one of those books that I have seen listed as one of the best Science Fiction books of all time, but I never took the time to read it. Man, did I miss out. I wish I had read this years ago and could have enjoyed it over and over again. In fact, I read this book twice in 2013.

With the movie being released this year I hope more people are inspired to pick it up and read, either for the first time or for the hundredth, doesn’t matter.

4. Ender’s Shadow by Orson Scott Card
 Not really a sequel to Ender’s Game, mainly because that distinction belongs to Speaker for the Dead (which could have been on this list also), but more of a spin-off. This has to be one of the most original concepts for a book. Ender’s Shadow tells the story of the events in Ender’s Game through the eyes of a side character named Bean.

This book was so good I read the four sequels that make up The Shadow Series. If you enjoyed Ender’s Game do yourself a favor and read all of the Ender’s World books by Orson Scott Card.

5. Fifth Assassin by Brad Meltzer
This book was fantastic in several ways. Brad Meltzer provides a realistic hero that you can root for and feel that he is doing things that you could do yourself if put in his position. No super powers, special military training or futuristic tech to save the say, just plain old intellect. Brad Meltzer also presents a good story line with a mystery that is hard to figure out until the end.

I like it when an author presents real world history and facts along with their fictious story. It helps immerse the reader deeper into the story. Brad Meltzer succeed in spades.

6. Finding the Core of your Story by Jordan Smith
As the second book on the craft of writing on my list, this one came out of no where. My daughter suggested I read this book and in the end I stole her copy and will never give it back. Jordan Smith presents a great tool for writers called “Log Lines”. They give the writer a great way to pitch their story in one sentance. These log lines can also be used during the writing process to make sure you stay on track with your story, it was a big help for me during NaNoWriMo.

Besides being useful, I also find writing log lines to be fun. The process he gives to create the log lines almost feels like a game. Much like On Writing, if you are a writer, read this book.

7. Transfer of Power by Vince Flynn
Vince Flynn passed in June of 2013. Besides being a great writer, Vince Flynn was a great man. I had the privilege, along with millions of others, to hear him speak on numerous occasions on the radio or TV, and you could tell he had a real heart for family and our country. I was first introduced to his writing a couple of years ago by reading American Assassin. That book introduced Mitch Rapp, Flynn’s hero for this series.  Transfer of Power was the first book he wrote in the Mitch Rapp series, but third in the series chronologically.

It is a fast paced military suspense thriller, think Tom Clancy high on caffeine. You can really root for Mitch as he takes down terrorist after terrorist. I am looking forward to continuing this series in 2014.

8. Foundation by Isaac Asimov
Voted one of the greatest Science Fiction series of all time by many readers and I have to agree. Much like Ender’s Game, I read Foundation based on a personal challenge to read classic SciFi. It is hard to believe, but this was the first Asimov book I have read. I was very impressed with the scope of the story. The episodic nature of the book was fun.

I did go on to read the other two original sequels in the series, but found the first to be the best of the all. All SciFi fans should read this book at least once in their life.

9. Divergent by Veronica Roth
The best dystopian YA book I read this year. Although I was not as impressed with the sequels, I would still recommend reading this series. It is fun, exciting and filled with a diverse cast. Veronica Roth created a society built around groups that are trying to perfect their lives by perfecting one major attribute. Of course the heroine of the story, Beatrice Prior, figures out fast that she needs to perfect more than one.

Much originality in the series and, with a movie coming out in 2014, I would recommend reading the books first. Not a terrible difficult book to read, but packed full of fun.

10. Killing Floor by Lee Child
This is the first in the long Jack Reacher series. My wife recommended reading this one after reading many good reviews. We started reading with Killing Floor and have not been dissapointed. So far I have read the first 5 books in the series and hope to get through most of the rest during 2014.

Jack Reacher is a drifter with a special set of skills, not unlike Liam Neeson in Taken,  and he has a habbit of making people pay for making his life difficult. Killing Floor starts with a great scene in a dinner and continues to entertain the whole way through. Funny thing about the series, this book is first persona and the others have been third so far. I prefer the third person POV styles better, but Killing Floor is one of my favorites in the series so far.

Well, there you have it. My 10 favorite reads of 2013. I can’t wait to see what I discover in 2014. Did you read any of these books? If you did, what did you think of it? Did you discover some hidden gem that I should add to my list for 2014?

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4 thoughts on “Top 10 Reads of 2013

  1. Great list. I appreciate the descriptions and reviews. I am looking for some books to tackle this year and am making my 2014 reading list. Definitely want to give Ender’s Game a try.

    1. Thank you. I would definitely read Ender’s Game, but be prepared to also read Ender’s Shadow. I almost say it is a must to read both, even if you don’t read any of the other sequels.

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