Tag Archives: The Goldfinch

Books of 2013 (and bonus news)

Lalalalalala…Oh hello there, dear Reader. It has been a while since Old Pints has updated. And so for a hit of fabulous, here is my best books list of 2013. I read a “few” (*giggles insanely*) books in 2013 and have come up with a list of my 20 favorites. Some were published in 2013 and some were not. The only books I deemed ineligible were ones which I reread in 2013 but had read for the first time in a previous year. I also decided to only select one book per author in cases where I read multiple books by the same author over the course of the year.

The numerical order is irrelevant. I just like numbering things.

1.)    I Remember You by: Yrsa Sigurdardottir. I love Sigurdardottir’s mysteries, so I was ecstatic with joy to find she had a ghost novel out there. It’s creepy and wonderful!

2.)    Flora and Ulysses by: Kate DiCamillo. A squirrel who wants “gianter doughnuts” since the universe is expanding. That’s all I need to say about that.

3.)    The Pinhoe Egg by: Diana Wynne Jones. DWJ makes all the lists forever and anon.

4.)    The Goldfinch by: Donna Tartt. Was there anyway this wouldn’t make the list? Tartt is my idol. This book was so filled with depth and brilliant lines that you want to savor each word, but also so intense and intriguing that you want to read it all in one sitting. Still, The Little Friend remains my Tartt favorite and one of the best novels of all time. Just saying.

5.)    The Ocean at the End of the Lane by: Neil Gaiman. A short well-told tale with just the right amount of longing and sadness at its heart.

6.)    We are All Completely Beside Ourselves by: Karen Joy Fowler. Extremely well written and heart-wrenching without ever falling into melodrama.

7.)    The End of the Point by: Elizabeth Graver. One of the best written books I’ve read in a long time. Completely absorbing and deep.

8.)    Claire Dewitt and the City of the Dead by: Sara Gran. This book just makes me happy. A great mystery with a completely original detective at its center.

9.)    An Everlasting Meal by: Tamar Adler. I just love to read well-written descriptions of food. What can I say?

10.)  A History of the World in 10 ½ Chapters by: Julian Barnes. Barnes is just brilliant.

11.) The Little Stranger by: Sarah Waters. Reading this perfectly rendered ghost (or not?) story made me think that reading everything by Waters was something I needed to do immediately.

12.) Three Graves Full by: Jamie Mason. I loved, loved, loved this. Sharply written, tightly wrought with fully realized characters and a genuine heart beating within.

13.) The Miniature Wife and Other Stories by: Manuel Gonzales. Go out and read this, dear reader. Each piece is so different from the last that one might expect to get dizzy, except that Gonzales’ prose is so strong that each story feels exactly in the right place.

14.) Splendors and Glooms by: Laura Amy Schlitz. Lovely and well told.

15.)  Madness, Rack, and Honey by: Mary Ruefle. Ruefle’s essays are funny and interesting and engaging.

16.) Mistaken by: Neil Jordan. I’ve long been a fan of Jordan’s films but had never read his fiction until this. This is a twisting and surprising and haunting novel. I keep going back to scenes from it in my mind long after having finished reading it.

17.)  The Shadow of the Wind by: Carlos Ruiz Zafon. A one sit read. I didn’t want to be pulled from the strange and dark and often beautiful world of this story.

18.) Catastrophe by: Dino Buzzati. Technically cheating because I had read some of these stories previously but never the whole collection. Ah, Buzzati!!

19.)  Vampires in the Lemon Grove by: Karen Russell. Mostly for two of the stories in this collection which were absolute gems.

20.) One for Sorrow by: Christopher Barzak. Lovely and sad in equal amounts.

PS Dear Reader, if you’ve come this far…Here is some good news from Pints. In the past month, I’ve been lucky enough to be included in some great literary journals: 3elements Review, Abyss & Apex, Driftwood Press, The Lake, Menacing Hedge, Rose Red Review, Sleet, and Treehouse Magazine. The links to all are up on my Writings page alongside my other published work. Please consider reading these lovely journals and let me know what you think about the pieces!

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10 things-October 2013 edition

I haven’t done one of these in a while. But here are 10 things that are currently keeping me sane (which is a heavy task between writing a novel, taking my MFA classes, teaching college composition, and maintaining the high levels of self-AWESOME that everyone is accustomed to from me).

1.)    Donna Tartt has a new novel out (and I’ve ordered it). Ms. Tartt is basically a flat out badass. The Secret History, her first novel, is often cited as being her best. And it is amazingly brilliant. But, her second novel The Little Friend, is one of my favorite novels of all time. In the years since it was first published, I have read it five or six times. It is exquisite and sublime and if her new novel The Goldfinch comes anywhere near to its wonderfulness than I am going to be one happy clam. Here’s a conversation between her and her editor that was up on Slate.

2.)    Daniel Alarcon has a new novel coming out this month, too! Like, what? It is a bountiful month indeed. Alarcon’s first collection, War by Candlelight, was filled with gorgeous stories including one of my top 100 “A Strong Dead Man.” His novel, Lost City Radio, is on my list of best first novels. So basically all I have for this one is ridiculously high expectations. Here’s some more info from Alarcon’s website.

3.)    The Pinocchio lizard, believed extinct, was recently spotted. Gorgeous, no? Here is an article up on National Geographic!

4.)    I have been getting back to baking. I was thrown off by starting school up, but, now I am into pumpkin scones and deliciousness full speed ahead. This weekend will be chocolate-stout cupcakes!

5.)    I am hard at work on the novel. Stage magicians are in this. STAGE MAGICIANS. That should just make everyone happy.

6.)    I have a prose poem coming out soon from Cease, Cows and one of my favorite ghost stories that I’ve written will be in the winter issue of Supernatural Tales. These are both wonderfully fantastic publications. So, I’m doing the happy dance of writerly acceptances.

7.)    I started a new interviewy project of Extremely Brilliant Creative People and so far have had the chance to interview the fabulous Dan Pankratz and the amazing ean weslynn. Next month, there will be a pretty awesome poet being interviewed too, so stay TUNED.

8.)    I have found out that the town I’m now living in not only has a shop with a pretty kickass puppet collection but that there is also a store that carries treacle. Treacle tarts will be made. I have wanted to make them since I first read Harry Potter and I could never find proper treacle. Until now. Sound the freaking trumpets!

9.)    Squashes are out. And squash season means one thing: ravioli. From scratch.

10.) My people continue to be amazing and as always a moment of thanks for having them in my life. Plus, then I have someone to make food for. It is win-win.

So, not all is bad in the world of Pints and Cupcakes. This seems a good time to remind all you, Dear Readers, that if you want more daily updates and rantings than consider following me on Twitter @PintsNCupcakes

 

Happy October!

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