Best of 2013: Books

According to my Goodreads account, I read 17 books in 2013. I have to admit that while that number is not nearly as high as it could be, it's pretty impressive for a first-year teacher (for most of 2013) and then some massive life changes quickly following. I read quite a diverse range of books and I'm pretty proud of that fact. From classics like Othello and Pygmalion to dystopian lit like Divergent to psychology texts about Choice Theory to reliable chick lit such as Austenland, I thought about a lot of things in 2013.

I haven't been as diligent about posting book reviews as I wish I had, but I thought it might be fun to give out some "Best of 2013: Books" awards in hopes that you might pick up a new novel or revisit an old favorite from my list of 2013 books. (Don't worry, no spoilers!)

Best of 2013 Books

1. Best "Reevaluate-Your-Life-and-Make-Some-Positive-Changes" Book: Choice Theory: A New Psychology of Personal Freedom by William Glasser

I cannot express my support for choice theory enough. After taking a grad class on classroom management this past summer and having to read and apply this psychology to my own personal life, I can truly see the positive effects this book has had on my mentality and outlook on life. Having already witnessed what a positive attitude can do for one's life, it makes complete sense to me that we all possess the ability to change our thoughts and feelings simply by changing our actions. The key to facing all trials and difficulties with others is to recognize that all behavior is purposeful, even our own. This book is perfect for those in need of a change in attitude, those who are pursuing a serious relationship, or those who simply want to live more intentionally.

2. Best Laugh (and possibly snort) Out Loud Book: Bossypants by Tina Fey

Memoirs are fantastic. Tina Fey is brilliant. Put them together and you have a masterpiece. I devoured this book quickly, basking in the opportunity to experience good, honest humor at my fingertips. Bossypants was infinitely cooler in my eyes once Tina Fey revealed her Pennsylvania roots, talking about the drive across the state and mentioning several stomping grounds. You won't put this beauty down.

3. Best Alice in Wonderland- esque Book: Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Delving into this book is like falling down the rabbit hole. I had no idea what the premise was when I began reading--all I knew is that people loved it-- so I was completely unprepared for the absolute creative and seemingly nonsensical licenses Gaiman takes in this novel. As soon as I started reading, everything else slipped away and I was completely transported into the book. If you're ready for something unexpected and fantastical, Ocean at the End of the Lane will not disappoint.

4. Best Dystopian Classic Book: The Giver by Lois Lowry

I almost made this "Best Dystopian Book," but then I'd have to lump The Giver and Divergent together into one category and they're just on two completely different levels. As much as I adore the Divergent series, The Giver was one of the first dystopian books I read and fell in love with. Along with the likes of Fahrenheit 451AnthemBrave New WorldAnimal Farm, and 1984The Giver is a classic critique of the political and social corruption that we could all be doomed to if we're not careful. It's a simple book with a fairly low lexile level, but its themes and concepts are universal for people of all ages. Rereading this novel is like falling in love all over again--it exposes your vulnerability, but it still gives you hope for a brighter future.

5. Best Sit Down and Relax Book: Austenland by Shannon Hale

Sometimes you just need a go-to book for relaxation and entertainment. Austenland does just that. You get the excitement of a romance, the adventure of a fantasy, and the readability of a memoir all wrapped up in one well-rounded novel. Even if you aren't a Jane Austen fan (GASP.), you will still find Hale's female protagonist likable and her story fun and relaxing to follow. (I still have yet to see the Keri Russell movie, but I've heard it's fantastic!)

I hope you've found some new books to try out! You can see the full list of books I read in 2013 in the picture above or access my entire library list by visiting my Goodreads account. It's the best way to track what you've read and what you want to read in the future! I'd love to visit your accounts and/or hear your book recommendations. Be sure to leave them in the comments below and I'll check them out! :)