Randy’s Top 3 Novels of 2013

During 2013, I began to read my backlog of novels. Started with Neil Gaiman’s American Gods and Anansi Boys, went into the past with The Book Thief, and plunged myself into the future of children commanders in Ender’s Game. While on my literature journey I was baffled by how many of these great works I had missed during my lifetime. I even missed epic fantasy novels like Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn series and Margaret Atwood’s science fiction novel Oryx and Crake. But enough about those older classics lets move into my favorite books in 2013.

#3 And the Mountains Echoed – Khaled Hosseini struck gold with his debut novel The Kite Runner, setting the scene of a war torn Afghanistan and a family’s struggle. The movie that ended up accompanying it was one of the best translation of a novel to date. Shortly after it was followed by A Thousand Splendid Suns which didn’t strike me as too interesting and left me wanting more from Mr. Hosseini. On May 21, And the Mountains Echoed was finally released and I relished every moment. He does a great job of opening the story with visual narrative of a father talking to his children. And from there the story unravels through different characters and their lives. Mr. Hosseini’s writing made me feel the same emotional tolls that hung unto each character as if they were my mother, father, friend, lover, or sibling. I’m glad Hosseini wrote another book, now I will patiently wait for his next.

#2 The Golem and the Jinni – There has been very few books that I have picked up just by the title alone. What I was looking for when I bought it was a crazy magical world where golems and jinnis coexisted and went on magic inducing trips. Alas I was wrong, it wasn’t a young adult novel where the characters were so cliche you want to pull your hair out. No, it was much more than that, it was a novel of self discovery and questions posed about the human life, the meanings of being free and restricted. The author of the book; Helene Wecker. Presents us with two characters; the golem and the jinni. The golem must be created by a Jewish rabbi and is always bonded to a master, as the golem travelled to America the master died and was bonded to no one, therefore being overwhelmed and having to think for itself. On the other side is the jinni, the magical creature of Arabian lore who roamed the Arabian deserts as free spirits and choose their own lives for themselves. In this novel we follow one who has been captured and it’s never ending will to break free once again. This novel is riddled with themes and questions that made you put the book down and ponder: What really is freedom?

#1 Eleanor and Park – I love, I LOVE THIS NOVEL. That could be my whole impression on this book. I honestly do not know what to say about this book besides that everyone should read it! Every single person I recommended this novel to has loved it greatly and read it within a few days. The past two years I have been reading more and more young adult novels, not the typically dystopian/fantasy/science fiction ones but the ones grounded more in real life. When I read the summary of Eleanor and Park and decided to dive into the young adult genre again. Three days later I found myself already finishing the novel and wanting more. Rainbow Rowell made a novel that depicted teenage love in such vivid writing. Throughout the story we switch from Eleanor and Park’s perceptive, they were rarely ever the same scenes just from a different view. Mrs. Rowell always kept it moving forward, so I always felt at the edge of my seat. I could go on and on about it but I don’t want to waste your time by having you read this instead of reading the actual book. Now GO!

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