Great Things I’ve Read: 2013

2013 was a big year- academically, in regard to development of thinking (especially over the past few months), and, of course, reading-wise. I did not nearly read enough this year (again, over the past few months), but I have read some really fantastic things this year. And so comes the end-of-year highlights.

Pete Wells reviews Guy Fieri’s Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar in Times Square.  By far the best restaurant review ever. Period. Also one of the funniest things I’ve ever read, and while this came out last November (picture me laughing and looking insane on the school bus), I have shared it with a countless number of people this year. I believe it is fantastic.  My family also has a thing against Guy Fieri, which is mostly with my dad, which makes it that much more hilarious. Enjoy.

LeBron James Is a Sack of Melons. I don’t do sports. I mean, I played volleyball for a couple years and took on soccer this fall, but I definitely am not a “sports person” and I am assuredly not a, let’s say, proficient viewer of professional sports. Uh, no. I have minimal knowledge of football, and the smallest inkling of basketball (primarily from my first grade days when I was playing with all boys– sound familiar to any fields of study I happen to love now?). Yet this article made me laugh. A lot. It too came out last year, but I’ve read and reread it countless times, heightened by the fact that it’s one of my dad’s favorite articles. If you’ve ever heard of LeBron James (who goes by the nickname LeBon (like a bon bon) from my sister in our house), read this. Please.

Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt. I was looking through my notes from last school year to make sure that I technically read this book this year. It’s true. I did read it this year. It was in January, which seems both ages ago and no time at all. Frank McCourt writes more poignantly about childhood, poverty, innocence and loss of innocence than any other writer I’ve ever encountered. This is my go-to book whenever any of those things come up in discussion, and, as I tend to say, “it’s my go-to book for slum life.” As crude as it sounds, it’s true. And the whole book is true too, given that it’s a memoir. I said ages ago that I’d read ‘Tis (the sequel) and I haven’t yet, but will definitely get around to it soon.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. I don’t know how I managed to put several other things before this, as it is the best book I’ve ever read and I read it this past summer. Incredible. Just incredible. You have to read it if you haven’t. There’s no way to describe it that does it justice. Just amazing.

These articles (1, 2) on reading. My reading has developed in such a different way in the past couple of months; annotating has approached new standards and levels, which I hope to keep improving. Both of these articles were eye-opening in terms of approaching things in a new manner. More to come on how I read later.

Explaining Twerking to Your Parents. For all teenagers out there. All of them. All teenagers who have to deal with our potentially decaying (though quite up to debate, I admit) pop culture. Inexplicably fantastic.

War and Baked Beans. My dad sent me this article one afternoon. Food for thought, definitely, with no pun intended. Which brings me to…

The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien. Wow. This is one of those books you read in just a couple hours and then need a week to think about. Intense, certainly, but poetic, as a teacher and I agreed on. For sure on my reread list.

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. I wrote about it here right after I first read it, but I gifted my sister a copy and found myself, as I was attempting to wrap it, halfway through rereading it. Similar to The Things They Carried in terms of the way in which you need to read it- three hours or less, and then nothing else for a week. Don’t do what I did and read The Lost Symbol right afterwards. Let’s just say it doesn’t work well that way.

Give and Take by Adam Grant. Sociology, which has been a fairly new topic to me this year, is brought into a totally new light in this book. After reading about him in this NY Times Magazine article a long time ago, I waited to buy the book because it was a hardcover I could only find on Amazon. With a gift card one day, I splurged on it, and never looked back. My copy is currently lent out, but you will want one for yourself. It’s going to change the way I approach everything (and has already) moving forwards.

Both of these articles on running (1, 2). I ran track this spring again, the 400 and 800 meters. But I just love running. I’ve never been “good” at running long-distance, but I am vowing to run more for me next year. Both of these were great to read as general ideas/opinions/advice, not just on running.

Philosophical thoughts here. I know the people who run this blog, and this is a favorite sample of their writing. Reminds me a bit of several quotes from Paolo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed that we read in class (which is yet another book on my reading list). Philosophical questions are coming up in my annotations more, so I need to explore more writing and apply ideas across things.

Lastly, if that wasn’t enough reading material, this made me laugh back in June or July. Especially relevant given that this is an end-of-year list. You can be one of those people and comment on this post if you’d like, but no guarantees I won’t do the same on yours.

Happy reading! What’s the best you’ve read this year?



2 thoughts on “Great Things I’ve Read: 2013

  1. I need to read Thirteen Reasons Why, it’s been in my car forever. I also loved The Things They Carried this year so I’m way excited to start on a few other books you mention. We must have similar reading tastes. Plus, I definitely need to buy that Twerking Manual for my mother who asked just yesterday, “Ou, how do I twerk?”

    • Our reading tastes do seem similar! Your comments on Where’d You Go, Bernadette, which I read a couple weeks ago, were fascinating. And you definitely need to read Thirteen Reasons Why! It’s not one you can be cynical about super-easily, but it’s powerful in a different way, much more “teen lit”-y than The Things They Carried. Thanks for checking it out!

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