Review: Notable Books I Read in 2013Offbeat

If you follow me on Facebook, you know I love to read. On most Fridays, I participate in the #FridayReads hashtag and I list the books I currently am reading and the books I just finished. I do this to share book titles with fellow book lovers and also to get recommendations.

A couple of weeks ago I realized, I always list the books, but rarely share my reviews. I will try to do better in 2014 and write more blog reviews on the books I am reading!

I read many books and articles in 2013, but a few that stood out to me are listed below.


Invisible Child: Girl in the Shadows – Dasani’s Homeless Life by: Andrea Elliott

I teared reading this five part feature on a homeless child in New York City. It is worth the read and well written; the author really captured the plight of Dasani.

Slaves of the Internet by: Tim Kreider

This article hit home. As a freelancer, it is always tough being asked to do free work. This author discusses his experience with being under compensated.

The Repurposed Ph.D.: Finding Life after Academia – and Not Feeling Bad about it by: Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow

Since I am currently in a Ph.D program, this article was interesting to read. I am thinking about my future and I would love to be in academia, but I am not against looking at alternative career paths.

Science Fiction

Foundation by: Isaac Asimov

My first time reading an Asimov book and I was surprised. I was expecting a complicated scifi novel, but Asimov uses a simplistic style to explain a futuristic world. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series

The Passage by Justin Cronin

Wasn’t my favorite book and I won’t read the other books in the series, but I did like the concept, but not enough to read more. As I’m writing, I’m not sure why this is still on this list.

Divergent by: Veronica Roth

I’m still reading this book. I’m only on chapter one, but I like it so far. It kind of reminds me of The Hunger Games.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by: Seth Grahame-Smith

I actually started this book on audio and switched over to reading. I wanted to read the descriptions instead of relying on a narrator. It was a book I thought would be silly, but actually was very good and interesting. Plus the author is from my hometown, I have to support!


Levittown: Two Families, One Tycoon, and the Fight for Civil Rights in America’s Legendary Suburb by: David Kushner

My hometown is not too far from Levittown, so I wanted to catch a glimpse of how Long Island was in its early days of suburbanization.

The Big Truck That Went by: How the World Came to Save Haiti and Left Behind a Disaster by: Jonathan Katz

This book is a must read account of a journalist who was on the ground during the Haiti 2010 earthquake and stayed to report  the recovery efforts. It has an intriguing mixture of narrative and data to explain the impact of foreign governments and NGOs in Haiti. [12/23/13 forgot to add this]

Literary Fiction

The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by: Ayana Mathis

I picked up this book because I heard a bunch of praise from the Oprah Book Club, but I was slightly disappointed. I enjoyed the book, but I felt like it ended too abruptly.

Half of a Yellow Sun by: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

This book was good because I got to experience the story from various points of view.

Claire of the Sea Light by: Edwidge Danticat

I just finished this book the other night. At first I was going to put it down, but once I got a couple of chapters in, I was really into the story and the characters.

The Dinner by: Herman Koch

I actually finished this book in one night because I enjoyed the build up and suspense.

Crazy Rich Asians by: Kevin Kwan

I loved reading this book about first generation immigrants and their experience.

Personal Development

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by: Sheryl Sandberg

I really enjoyed this book about empowering women to succeed in the workplace.


I’m Down by: Mishna Wolf

I hope to author a memoir and I like to read various styles, so it was helpful to read a memoir that used humor.

Twelve Years a Slave –  by Solomon Northup Enhanced Edition by Dr. Sue Eakin

There are many versions of 12 years a Slave, but I recommend this version because it includes footnotes, images, maps, and all the back story of how Solomon Northup’s story came into light (which is an interesting story in itself). I know this is a a true account, but I wish Solomon or someone did a followup on his life and what happened several years after he returned home. I also saw the movie, while it was okay, I enjoyed the book more.

Assata: An Autobiography by: Assata Shakur

I loved this book. Assata’s account of her life was interesting and thought provoking.

Showing support

The following are all books written by friends or  online acquaintances who are new to the independent publishing industry. I love supporting people and their dreams, so it was an honor to read all these books and an inspiration for me to complete mine.

Turn It Loose by: Britni Danielle

Witness by: Ruby Rae

Do For Love (A Virginia Bridgeforth Ghost Mystery #1) by: K. Nicole Williams

11 Beautiful Tools by: Terez D Baskin

The Poetry Of Prose by: Ella Rucker

The Big Payback: A Kyra Walker Mystery by: K. Nicole Williams

A Promise Worth Making by: Michelle Alerte

Florida Sinkholes: Science and Policy by: Robert Brinkmann [12/23/13, did not read yet, but forgot to add my colleague’s book]


What are some notable books you read in 2013? What is on your list for 2014?



An urban planning PhD student finding peace in creating a balance between the mind, body, soul, & environment.

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    • byBob Brinkmann
    • onDecember 22, 2013

    Great titles! I haven’t read the Levittown book. I’ll add it to my must read list! Thanks. Bob

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