2013 List


Díaz, Junot. “This is How You Lose Her.” Riverhead. Yunior, a smooth-talking Dominican, explores the complexity of love, fidelity and cultural identity in these inventive, uncompromising stories.

Edugyan, Esi. “Half-Blood Blues.” Picador. Two aging African-American musicians return to Berlin to find their friend, a jazz trumpeter arrested in Nazi-occupied France.

Eggers, Dave. “A Hologram for the King.” McSweeney's. In a nod to Godot, an American salesman is in Saudi Arabia to close a deal which may salvage his way of life.

Erdrich, Louise. “The Round House.” Harper. On the Ojibwe reservation, Oop hunts for his mother's attacker and learns that law does not always provide justice.

Ford, Richard. “Canada.” Ecco. The twin teenage children of once upstanding citizens who rob a bank are left to fend for themselves. The murders come later, in Saskatchewan.

Fountain, Ben. “Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk.” Ecco. Bravo Squad was caught live on camera in a firefight. Now temporarily stateside, they are being exploited in a hyped-up victory tour.

Heller, Peter. “The Dog Stars.” Knopf. A man, his dog, his airplane and a will to survive in post-apocalyptic Colorado.

Johnson, Adam. “The Orphan Master's Son.” Random House. In a surreal sortie to a world of fabricated reality, Pak Jun Do is forced to become many people by the North Korean government.

Joyce, Rachel. “The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry.” Random House. Delivering a letter to a dying friend becomes a 500 mile journey of reflection and redemption.

Lam, Vincent. “The Headmaster's Wager.” Hogarth. What happens when you are blind to the realities of war? Percival, a Chinese expatriate in Vietnam, makes bad bets with tragic consequences.

Tropper, Jonathan. “One Last Thing Before I Go.” Dutton. No one can understand how Silver has made such a mess of his life. Can he fix it before the clock runs out?

Watkins, Claire Vaye. “Battleborn.” Riverhead. The aching beauty of Nevada from the mid-1800s to the present is depicted in these nuanced and elegant stories.


Boo, Katherine. “Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity.” Random House. Documents the lives of the slum dwellers of Annawadi, whose work as garbage pickers barely keeps them alive.

Cain, Susan. “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking.” Crown. Compelling arguments for why we should turn down the volume.

Colby, Tanner. “Some of My Best Friends are Black: The Strange Story of Integration in America.” Viking. Answering a simple question uncovers the surprisingly complex roots of contemporary segregation.

Dyson, George. “Turing's Cathedral: The Origins of the Digital Universe.” Knopf. The story of the eccentric personalities whose work in Los Alamos and Princeton initiated the modern era.

Egan, Timothy. “Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis.” Houghton Mifflin. Illuminates one man's quest to document and preserve the culture of indigenous American tribes.

Holt, Jim. “Why Does the World Exist?: An Existential Detective Story.” W.W. Norton. Why something instead of nothing?

Ingrassia, Paul. “Engines of Change: A History of the American Dream in Fifteen Cars.” Simon & Schuster. From the Model T to the Prius, we are what we drive.

Iverson, Kristen. “Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats.” Crown. The personal story and public politics of life beside plutonium triggers.

King, Ross. “Leonardo and the Last Supper.” Walker. Think you know everything about da Vinci and his masterpiece? An enlightening and entertaining treatment of an iconic subject.

Murphy, Paul Thomas. “Shooting Victoria: Madness, Mayhem, and the Rebirth of the British Monarchy.” Pegasus. Queen - 8, assassins - 0.

Roberts, Callum. “The Ocean of Life: The Fate of Man and the Sea.” Viking. Sail and swim through our threatened waters towards ideas for creating a sustainable future.

Winterson, Jeanette. “Why Be Happy When You Could be Normal?” Grove. Religion, sex, class, libraries, politics, madness, art--the memoir of a young woman discovering the sanctuary of literature.


Alighieri, Dante. Trans. Mary Jo Bang. Illus. Henrik Drescher. “Inferno.” Graywolf. A rollicking, contemporary trip through the Underworld.

Olds, Sharon. “Stag's Leap.” Knopf. An arc of verses which touch the raw nerve of betrayal, lost love, forgiveness, healing and finding peace.