Amazon.com has announced its annual Best Books of the Year So Far lists. The midyear list highlights the best books released in 2013 between January and June. Life After Life by Kate Atkinson is the top rated book on the list. Amazon ranked the top ten books overall as well as the top 10 picks in 20 categories.
Sara Nelson, editorial director for Amazon Books and Kindle, said in a statement, "Customers looking for great summer reads will find an eclectic selection on the list this year, from the very best fiction to compelling memoirs to excellent young adult novels. Our #1 pick, Life after Life, is clever but never gimmicky - which is amazing when you consider that the story of the heroine's life begins, ends and then begins again, multiple times. We think this book is an extraordinary feat of narrative ambition, an audacious genre=bender and a work of literary genius."
Here are the top ten picks:
Life After Life by Kate Atkinson: What if you could be born again and again? This brilliant, multi-layered novel answers that question as Atkinson's protagonist moves through multiple lives, each one an iteration on the last, flirting with the balance between choice and fate.
The Son by Philipp Meyer: A multigenerational Western spanning the 1800s Comanche raids in Texas to the 20th century oil boom, The Son is a towering achievement.
Frozen in Time by Mitchell Zuckoff: Two adventures in one...recounting the 1942 crash (and subsequent struggle to survive) of a U.S. cargo plane crew in Greenland, and describing the author's own participation in a modern day mission to uncover the mystery behind their disappearance.
The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer: The characters in this novel pulse with life as Wolitzer follows a group of teenagers who meet at a summer camp for artsy teens in 1974 and work to maintain their friendship through the competitions and realities of growing up.
And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini: Following The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, Hosseini has written another masterwork, one that moves through war, separation, birth, death, deceit, and love - illustrating how people's actions, even the seemingly selfless ones, are shrouded in ambiguity.
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell: This Young Adult novel about two kids who fall in love on a bus is sweet without being saccharine. And it's a story adults can love, too.
Gulp by Mary Roach: Roach is about as entertaining a science writer as you'll find, and this book about how we ingest food will make you think, laugh, and wince as she covers all things alimentary.
After Visiting Friends by Michael Hainey: Unfolding like a novel, this nonfiction gem starts with journalist Hainey uncovering inconsistencies within his own journalist father's obituary - and while the truth behind the death will eventually be uncovered, greater truths await for Hainey, ones that will change the way he views the past and the present.
Tenth of December by George Saunders: Saunders' first collection of short stories in six years introduces his ironic, absurd, profound, and funny style to an army of new readers.
The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker: This enchanting debut, set mostly in turn-of-the-century Manhattan, is both a well-researched historical novel and a spectacular work of fantasy.