RIFers Choose the Best Books of 2013

We asked RIFers to share your favorite books of 2013 - wow, what voracious readers you are!

You shared dozens and dozens of great reads – books that we read and loved, too, or that we’re now adding to our TBR pile based on your recommendation.

You mentioned everything from much-anticipated new books from bestselling authors to little-known debuts.

It’s a terrific list! Take a look at five books that topped RIFers’ Best of 2013 lists and get your first look at your new favorite book.



this-is-the-story-of-a-happy-marriage This is the Story of a Happy Marriage
Ann Patchett

This a very real love story, and one that is much more about the journey than the destination. It takes us into the very real world of Ann Patchett’s life. Stretching from her childhood to the present day, from a disastrous early marriage to a later happy one, it covers a multitude of topics with an uncanny ability to feel both surprising and familiar at the same time.



the goldfinch donna tarttThe Goldfinch
Donna Tartt

It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a thirteen-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.



the lowland jhumpa lahiriThe Lowland
Jhumpa Lahiri

An extraordinary novel, set in both India and America, that expands the scope and range of one of our most dazzling storytellers: a tale of two brothers bound by tragedy, a fiercely brilliant woman haunted by her past, a country torn by revolution, and a love that lasts long past death. A National Book Award Finalist and Shortlisted for the 2013 Man Booker Prize.



cartwheel jennifer duboisThe Cartwheel
Jennifer duBois

When Lily Hayes arrives in Buenos Aires for her semester abroad, she is enchanted by everything she encounters: the colorful buildings, the street food, the handsome, elusive man next door. Her studious roommate Katy is a bit of a bore. Five weeks later, Katy is found brutally murdered in their shared home, and Lily is the prime suspect.



maddaddam margaret atwoodMaddAddam
Margaret Atwood

Months after the Waterless Flood pandemic has wiped out most of humanity, Toby and Ren have rescued their friend Amanda from the vicious Painballers. They return to the MaddAddamite cob house, newly fortified against man and giant pigoon alike. Accompanying them are the Crakers, the gentle, quasi-human species engineered by the brilliant but deceased Crake.


Check out our favorites: The Read It Forward Best Books of 2013.

Congrats to Kate B., Robin S., Ann C., Casey K., and Kelly B. Their entries were selected at random to win copies of all 12 great reads in our Read It Forward Best Books of 2013 list.

Make sure you’re subscribed at the top of this page. You’ll get an exclusive email from us every week with info on how to enter our members-only Read It First giveaways.

  • Kate B

    I am so excited about this, Read It Forward! Thank you so much. Every title is a title I’ve been wanting to read, so I small thrilled! Thank you again!

    • Kate B

      That should say “I am thrilled.” Autocorrect is not being very helpful. Sorry about that!

  • The Book Wheel

    Great list! I loved Happy Marriage and am really looking forward to Cartwheel and Goldfinch, so it’s nice to have extra validation that they are worth it.