|1. The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh|
I really liked this book, although my dad read it on my recommendation and declared it too "hallmark". The story weaves together the present day events with the events of the main character's childhood wonderfully and leaves you hoping for something to finally go right in her life.
|2. The Historian by Elizabeth Hostova|
This book had just the right amount of suspense for me. There were times when I was reading it at night that I was freaked out, but mostly it had just the perfect amount of suspense. It perfectly blends the history of Vlad Dracula (the historical figure), Dracula (the myth), with some additional fictional writing. It had me hooked to the last page and then wishing for more when it was all done.
|3. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy|
This book frustrated and delighted me. I loved the characters and hated them at the same time, and even weeks after finishing it I'm still thinking about the characters, their actions, and my reactions. I'm looking forward to seeing the movie version of this book and seeing how Kira Knightly and others interpreted the characters in the novel.
|4. The Guersney Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows|
I loved the quirky characters in this novel. It made me wish that I could actually travel to the island of Guersney (which I'd never heard of before I read this book) and meet these folks. The books is written as a series of letters and it did take me a beat or two to get used to that, but the plot was too entertaining to let that bog me down for long.
|5. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot|
For me this was the perfect blend of science, history, and writing. Plus, it was the inspiration for an episode of Law and Order (the original). I loved this book because it really made me think about what my rights are, and should be, as a patient. If you're the kind of reader who likes to use history to understand where our society is headed, this is the book for you. Henrietta Lacks's rights were violated but if not for those violations many medical discovers and advances would not have been possible. This book invites the reader think about the careful balance between personal rights and the needs of society.
|6. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese|
This is simply one of those good books with a plot that brings you full circle so gently you almost don't realize the author is pulling together all the lose ends of the plot until you finish the last page and realize how great the story was. The story centers around twin boys whose mother dies during a difficult labor, and a father who abandons them at their birth. Most of the story takes place in Ethiopia which adds a wonderful backdrop for the story.
|7. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neal Hurston|
I'd been meaning to read this for quite awhile, but when my family decided to do a classics challenge I finally made the time to read it. Boy am I glad that I did. I'm a fan of Toni Morison and this reminded me of her wonderful literary style.
|8. Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie|
The book takes place during Nigeria's civil war in the late 1960s. (I hate to admit, but I actually had to look up online to check to see if Nigeria really did have a civil war during that time period. I guess my knowledge of world history is lacking.) I loved this book for opening my eyes to what life was like for a middle class family during Nigeria's civil war. It was also wonderfully written.
|9. Divergent by Veronica Roth|
For the fans of the Hunger Games. If your teenager, or you, enjoyed the Hunger Games trilogy and you haven't discovered this series yet it's time you did. I'm pretty sure it's going to be a trilogy, but only the first two books are currently published.
|10. Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah|
What a great book about the power of a lifelong friendship. Reader be warned however, the end is devastating!
There are so many other books I'd love to put on the list. (Gone Girl and Menonite In A Little Black Dress come to mind as books I wish I had space to include.) But, I am determied to keep my Top 10 list a true Top 10 list. I hope this list helps you discover a great new book to read in 2013!