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Staff Favorites of 2013: Adult

What was the County of Los Angeles Public Library staff reading in 2013? Here are some suggestions from our staff of the best books we read. Some were published in 2013 while some are classics, but all are great!

Looking for more suggestions? Try these from the web: NY Times, Publishers Weekly, NPR, Amazon, and Goodreads.

See our Staff Favorites of 2013: Teens and Children. Find even more reading suggestions at Books & More.

>>Jump to Non-Fiction Books

Fiction

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The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion, 2013

Brilliant scientist and social outsider Don devises a 16-page survey to help him find a perfect woman to fit into his well-ordered life. Fiery Rosie is disqualified immediately, yet Don finds himself drawn to her and to her search for her father. This fun story will make you laugh out loud and view situations from a different perspective. I have passed this book on to all my friends.

Genre: Romantic Comedy

Recommended by Karen & Leticia from Hawaiian Gardens Library & Sorensen Library

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Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan, 2013

This is a fun, over-the-top saga of an extremely wealthy extended Chinese family, and the shenanigans that ensue when Nick, heir to his family's enormous fortune, brings home his ABC (American Born Chinese) girlfriend to meet his family in Singapore for the first time - exposing a world of "crazy rich" excess.
Downloadable eBook & audiobook.

Genre: Fiction

Recommended by Jennifer from Gardena Mayme Dear Library

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The Caretaker  by A. X. Ahmad , 2013

Disgraced Indian army captain Ranjit Singh is eking out a living on Martha’s Vineyard when he lands a job as winter caretaker of Senator Clayton Neals' vacant mansion. A storm damages his cottage, and he moves his family into his charge. One night armed men break in, kicking off this taut literary thriller featuring lush, rich prose.
Downloadable audiobook.

Genre: Suspense

Recommended by Richard from Rosemead Library

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Hit Me by Lawrence Block, 2013

Lawrence Block always manages to add new life to his long running series--especially when it comes to the stamp-collecting hit man Keller. Block's attention to detail--whether in the intricacies of philately or professional killing--and his dark sense of humor make for grimly entertaining reading.
Downloadable eBook.

Genre: Crime Fiction

Recommended by Matt from Castaic Library

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The Professionals by Owen Laukkanen, 2012

A group of college friends plunge almost casually into the kidnapping business. At first, they have great success by keeping things simple and by not getting too greedy but then they kidnap the wrong person (a mobster's spouse) and things rapidly go out of control. A first novel, well plotted and with interesting, surprising characters.

Genre: Suspense

Recommended by David from Library Headquarters

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The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch, 2013

The third book in the Gentleman Bastard Sequence finds our hero Locke Lamora matched against his greatest rival and the love of his life, Sabetha. While the first two Gentleman Bastard books worked as standalone novels, this book does require some familiarity with the series and characters. My favorite fantasy book of the year!

Genre: Fantasy

Recommended by Josh from Library Headquarters

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The Rook by Daniel O'Malley, 2012

Myfanwy Thomas wakes up in a park surrounded by dead bodies, all wearing latex gloves. She has no idea who she is, until she finds a letter in her pocket – a letter she apparently wrote to herself. I loved the twisty-turny plot of this novel filled with shadowy organizations, paranormal abilities, and a surprising amount of humor!

Genre: Paranormal Suspense

Recommended by Karen from Hawaiian Gardens Library

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The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult, 2013

If you want a riveting story that gets you thinking from page 1, this one is for you. Ms. Picoult brings the lasting emotional impact of the Holocaust alive as she delves into the familial relationships of a former Nazi SS officer and the granddaughter of a Holocaust survivor.

Genre: Fiction

Recommended by Hilda from Chet Holifield Library

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A Walk Across the Sun by Corban Addison, 2012

A tsunami orphans 2 young, innocent girls in India and they get swept into the sex trade. Lawyer Thomas Clarke witnesses a kidnapping of a young girl in a U.S. park. Compelled to help, Clarke is drawn into the sexual cesspools of both Bombay and the U.S. A gritty, well-told thriller, yes. But also redemptive, moving, and realistic.

Genre: Suspense

Recommended by Richard from Rosemead Library

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Henry's Sisters by Cathy Lamb, 2009

I loved, loved this book. It started a little slow, but I was soon hooked! At first I didn't care for the over-the-top characters, but as the author reveals their stories, the book has humor and drama and gets very emotional. I am not a crier, but at one point, I was crying my eyes out.

Genre: Fiction

Recommended by Theresa from Los Nietos Library

Non-Fiction

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The Autistic Brain: Thinking Across the Spectrum by Temple Grandin, 2013

Autism described from the inside. Temple Grandin has explored her own autism and discovered that she thinks differently. She explains how she functions, and how other autistic people deal with the world. Her exploration reveals how 'normal' brains differ from hers, and it helped me appreciate the differences.

Genre: Nonfiction

Recommended by Judy from A C Bilbrew Library

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Crash and Burn by Artie Lange, 2013

Howard Stern fans: the story behind comedian Artie Lange's epic meltdown that resulted in him leaving the radio show is even uglier than you imagined. Lange's description of his addiction is brutal and unflinching, leaving you incredulous that he made it out alive. Amid the sordidness is a pathos that leaves you hopeful for Lange and his future.

Genre: Biography

Recommended by Susan from Central Region

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The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America by George Packer, 2013

When did America start to unwind? Packer would argue that it started in the 1960s. He makes his argument by profiling a number of common Americans and following them from the 1970s until present day. Some people fight to survive, others excel, but together they form a very real picture of America.
Downloadable audiobook.

Genre: Nonfiction

Recommended by Jose from Cudahy Library

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A History of Food in 100 Recipes by William Sitwell, 2013

William Sitwell covers the major people, places, foods, and innovations that have made our gastronomic knowledge what it is today. This book covers almost 4,000 years of human history and is full of fun food facts like: why turkeys are called turkeys, why tomatoes almost never reached Italy, and how grocery stores were inspired by pig pens.

Genre: Nonfiction

Recommended by Victoria from Quartz Hill Library

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American Savage: Insights, Slights, and Fights on Faith, Sex, Love, and Politics by Dan Savage, 2013

Thoughtful, well-written, entertaining, informative, well-researched and documented, including source notes. A very personal book about his mother's death, his faith, Catholicism, his marriage, and the It Gets Better project; as well as a treatise on public policy regarding health care, sex education, monogamy, gun control, and same sex marriage.

Genre: Nonfiction

Recommended by Greg from West Hollywood Library

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Swimming Studies by Leanne Shapton, 2012

This is by far the most unique book I've read this year. Written like a work of art with original paintings by the author, this biography explores the life of a former competitive swimmer, illustrating how the sport has shaped her life.

Genre: Biography

Recommended by Jennifer from Gardena Mayme Dear Library

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When They Come for Us, We’ll Be Gone: The Epic Struggle to Save Soviet Jewry by Gal Beckerman, 2010

If you didn't know about the trans-Atlantic fight to allow Jews to immigrate from the Soviet Union, then this history will teach you all about the Refuseniks and the anatomy of their far-reaching movement. A deep, Orwellian, and informative book of a previously overlooked struggle.

Genre: Nonfiction

Recommended by Oleg from West Hollywood Library

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Moscow, 1937 by Karl Schlogel, 2012

Taking just one year, 1937, of Moscow history at the zenith of Stalin's power, Schlogel's book is a demanding read but becomes steadily more compelling as he shows how the purges and imprisonments, executions and show trials permeated every corner of society and warped it for generations afterwards. Any fictional dystopia pales in comparison.

Genre: Nonfiction

Recommended by David from Library Headquarters