Burial Rites, by Hannah Kent: I first heard about this title at Book Expo this year, featured in a panel on Fall 2013 buzz books. It was a Fall 2013 buzzed-about book, for sure, and it lived up to the buzz that surrounded it. Kent's debut novel, Burial Rites is inspired by the true story of the last person to be executed in Iceland--a woman named Agnes Magnusdottir, for the murder of her master and another man. Kent takes the facts of the story as we know them and fills in the details of Agnes' life and personality, providing room for readers to believe or doubt Agnes' guilt as they see fit. It's a dark book, both in terms of theme and setting, but a fascinating consideration of Icelandic culture, the concept of death sentences, and what it means to have your story told by others. Read my full review of Burial Rites.
Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls, by David Sedaris: Somehow, this was my first Sedaris book (what?), but it won't be the last. I listened to this one on audio, and hearing Sedaris read his own essays out loud was perfect and hilarious. Some are recorded at live readings, others in studio, which made for an interesting mix of tone, and with the exception of some strange imagined letters at the end of the collection, there wasn't a bit of this book I didn't love.
Contents May Have Shifted, by Pam Houston: This is another one I've been reading for months (since August, to be precise), but I chose to take slowly. Written as 154 short chapters (Houston writes that the book was originally titled 154 Reasons Not to Commit Suicide), I read one or two at a time, staving off the inevitable end of what was a fabulous, delightful, wonderful, book that I am now, and probably will remain, incapable of writing about in any cohesive way.