a bibliophile's suggestions from twenty-thirteen

a few years ago, i bought a thick, black artist's sketchbook, the kind where the paper is heavy; it makes only the softest whooshing sound when you  flip it a page; and is slightly bumpy to the touch. i doodle in there. i write thoughts, lists, quotes that make my heart stop for a beat.

and i jot down all the books i've read in a year. 

i love to read. it started with small board books. my mom carefully stuck a piece of masking tape over the words and wrote down the Lithuanian translation. this was a genius idea for kiddos whose first language was Lithuanian. the board books were followed by an endless supply of big, glossy fairy tales from the library. my mom is the original family bibliophile. she would thoughtfully choose books for my sister and me, grabbing ones with beautifully intricate illustrations and compelling story lines. there was no rushing when it came to good library books. after all, who wants three weeks of awful stories (particularly my mom, who'd be reading and re-reading said awful stories to two tiny bibliophiles-in-training)?

after i learned to read myself, the library and all the books in it were my oyster.  reader, meet some of my favorite fiction from 2013. books, say hey.

Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple / this was a strange book, but cool. and set in seattle (a city i adore). bee's mother, bernadette, promised her a trip to antarctica. but then she disappears. combing her mother's writings for clues, bee begins a quest to find her mother.

Gold by Christ Cleave / drew and i adore the olympics. this was my chance to get into the head of an athlete and it was fascinating. this is a gripping story about olympic contenders kate and zoe and kate's eight-year-old daughter sophie, who is battling leukemia. what do you do when it comes to choosing between chasing the gold or being there for your sick daughter?

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman /i'm always drawn to an author who asks a bizarre "what if," then proceeds to craft a story around that very question. what if you had lost three babies to miscarriage and stillbirth only to discover that a baby has washed ashore the tiny island where your husband is lighthouse keeper? what if you don't report the baby missing, and instead, keep her to raise as your own? what if?

A Vintage Affair by Isabel Wolff / a bit more fluffy than the rest, this is a novel of the best kind: it's set in present day London, but with a story woven in from the past. i couldn't put it down. bonus: there are so many tantalizing descriptions of vintage clothing.

Still Alice by Lisa Genova /i was drawn to this book because at the time, my grandma was living with my parents and struggling with dementia. my entire family, particularly my mom, was coping with the difficulties that my grandma's dementia presented. this story--about a 50-year-old woman working in academia who is struck with early onset alzheimer's--is a heart wrenching look from the patient's point of view.

The Cuckoo's Calling by J.K. Rowling / a great book, as summarized here. enough said.

Touch & Go by Lisa Gardner / an excellent mystery, set both in Boston and the wilds of New Hampshire (naively, i didn't know New Hampshire HAD any wilds) about a family of three that vanishes from their home in downtown Boston.