What We Read (in 2013)

Being a writer means being a fan of words, books, and recommendations of what to read next. Like most writers, we here at Pass the Prose love to get our hands on the next best works of literary art. Here are a few of our favorite reads from 2013.

Paige’s List

Recommended

Eleanor & Park

Eleanor & Park, by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor & Park, by Rainbow Rowell

If you’ve read my previous post about how much I love Rainbow Rowell‘s books, you won’t be surprised to see this in my list. But Eleanor & Park is such a gem of a book that I’d recommend it to just about anyone. Rowell writes such entertaining, loveable, but unflinchingly honest characters, that this story will sneak through the chinks in your armor, right to the deepest parts of you.

 

Out of Genre

Vicious

Vicious, by V. E. Schwab

Vicious, by V. E. Schwab

In contrast, the characters in Vicious couldn’t be more different from E&P. This is a story told in hyperbole, of supervillains and antiheroes. But it’s so masterfully written that you won’t be able to put it down. This may have been my first time reading a supervillain story, but it certainly won’t be my last, thanks to V. E. Schwab’s storytelling prowess.

 

Favorite on Audiobook

The Night Swimmer

The Night Swimmer, by  Matt Bondurant

The Night Swimmer, by Matt Bondurant

The Night Swimmer is written in that rare style of prose that is both accessible and beautiful all at once. I lost count of how many times I paused and rewound the audio just to listen to a phrase, sentence, or passage over again. I hadn’t read Matt Bondurant before, but I was really captivated by both the story and his carefully crafted writing.

 

Made Me Cry

The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green

The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green

In true John Green fashion, The Fault in Our Stars is equal parts comedy and veracity. It’s a beautiful love story that looks the tragedy and indignity of cancer in the face. I’m so grateful this story is part of our cultural conversation. (If you don’t already know, it’s being made into a movie!)

 

 

Inspired Me to Write

Why We Broke Up

Why We Broke Up, by Daniel Handler & Illustrated by   Maira Kalman

Why We Broke Up, by Daniel Handler & Illustrated by
Maira Kalman

Couched in this quirky breakup story is some of the most stunning use of simile and metaphor I’ve ever seen. I shouldn’t have been surprised, having read Daniel Handler’s (a.k.a Lemony Snicket’s) other fabulous and educational books, but I’ve gone back through these pages again and again to learn from him. I always come away with that maddening sense of being both inadequate and inspired at the same time. Why We Broke Up is such a treasure; the story and the artwork will keep you turning the pages long past your bedtime.

Dani’s List

Recommended

Salvage the Bones

Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward

Salvage the Bones was given to me for World Book Night. It was the National Book Award winner in 2011. The book is set in Mississippi just before Hurricane Katrina hits. The tension of the literal brewing storm carries the reader through the whole novel, growing deeply attached to the characters. Jesmyn Ward is a fantastic storyteller.

 


Out of Genre

A Million Suns

A Million Suns by Beth Revis

I don’t always read sci-fi, but when I do it’s Beth Revis and it’s fantastic. A Million Suns is the sequel to Across the Universe, a story about a teenage girl who’s frozen aboard a spaceship and is woken up before she reaches her new planet. Equal parts tension, romance, and oddly disturbing elements make this a quick read with beautiful language.

 

Favorite on Audiobook

Insurgent

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Insurgent is the sequel to the highly popular Divergent and is, in my opinion, even more tense, romantic, and riveting than the first in the trilogy. Listening to this one in the car was a bit dangerous. Before I knew it, I was so caught up in the action that I had my foot pressed down too hard on the accelerator. The action is just wonderful and the ending left me breathless.

 

Made Me Cry

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian was my first Sherman Alexie novel to read and I absolutely fell in love with the main character and his identity crisis. The themes of this novel are specific and yet wildly applicable and relatable. I found myself feeling every emotion Junior felt, even the tears.

 

Inspired Me to Write

Delirium

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Delirium by Lauren Oliver

I listened to Delirium on audiobook and found myself lost in the beautiful language. The premise of the book–that love is a curable disease–is profound and riveting. I loved seeing such a powerful theme in a YA setting, and who doesn’t love a little bit of dystopia sprinkled with forbidden romance? After reading this novel, I sat down and started plugging away at my own novel.

 

 

Have you read any of these from our favorites list? What did you think? What were some of your best reads from 2013?

 

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