What Are Massachusetts' Must-Reads of 2013?

What are this year's best books written by Massachusetts authors, or are about the commonwealth?

Sure, you know the latest Jodi Picoult book is a must-read for 2013. And with movie adaptions in theatres, many readers are also picking up Life of Pi, Admission and The Silver Linings Playbook.

But what about books written closer to home? Which Massachusetts authors or books should you be reading in 2013? 

Since 2000, the Massachusetts Center for the Book has teamed up with the Massachusetts Library Association, to choose the commonwealth's best fiction, nonfiction, poetry and children's/young adult literature that has been written by Massachusetts writers or is about Massachusetts themes.

Last week, the MCB announced the finalists for each category: 

Fiction   The Art Forger B.A. Shapiro Cascade Maryanne O’Hara Defending Jacob William Landay The Song of Achilles Madeline Miller The Technologists Matthew Pearl Three Parts Dead Max Gladstone Non-fiction Autumn in the Heavenly Kingdom Stephen R. Platt Brothers George Howe Colt The Choke Artist David Yoo Clover Adams, A Gilded and Heartbreaking Life Natalie Dykstra In Pursuit of Giants Matt Rigney To Free a Family Sydney Nathans Poetry The Bees Are Waiting Karina Borowicz Darkening the Grass Michael Miller Life in the Second Circle Michael Cantor Place Jorie Graham Shortly Thereafter Colin Halloran What Is Amazing Heather Christle Children's/Young Adult Literature Ocean Sunlight Molly Bang and Penny Chisholm October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard Lesléa Newman Red Thread Sisters Carol Antoinette Peacock Summer of the Gypsy Moths Sara Pennypacker There Goes Ted Williams: the Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived Matt Tavares We’ve Got a Job: the 1963 Birmingham Children’s March Cynthia Levinson

Note: Links will take you off of Patch.

The winner will be chosen in late April by a panel of Massachusetts librarians, including Bethany Pierce of the South End branch of the Boston Public Library, Sarah Markell of the Copley Square branch of the BPL, Nancy Tupper Ling of Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Amy Rhilinger of the Attleboro Public Library, Peter Thornell of the Hingham Public Library and Lucy Loveridge of the Framingham Public Library.

Want to catch up on your commonwealth reading? Previous Mass Book winners can be found here

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

NP March 26, 2013 at 09:32 PM
Is the author of Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn?
Andrew Sylvia (Editor) March 26, 2013 at 10:56 PM
I loved Johnny Tremain as a kid, or as Bart Simpson called it, "Johnny Deformed." That took place right here in Massachusetts!
Andrew Sylvia (Editor) March 26, 2013 at 10:57 PM
Hi Saber, George Orwell's a great author, but I think this thread is for books with Massachusetts authors or take place in Massachusetts.
Dawn Reidy March 27, 2013 at 12:23 PM
I recently read Andre Dubus III's memoir Townie. In it he describes his upbringing in Newburyport and Haverhill. There are aspects of his story that are a bit disturbing, but his writing is outstanding and the book will keep your attention. I'm now reading John Elder Robison's book about his experiences as someone with Asperger's Syndrome. (He's Augusten Burroughs's brother.) So far I'm enjoying the book.
Earnhardt March 27, 2013 at 12:44 PM
You could also step back a little for those who have never read "On the road" or "Big Sur" by Lowell's own Jack Kerouac. Both are great reads for the beach.
Maggie March 27, 2013 at 03:12 PM
Lisa Genova is from Massachusetts and wrote Still Alice, Left Neglected, and her new one Love Anthony! Fabulous writer, as you'll find when you read her books!
KEKASE March 27, 2013 at 08:18 PM
Mary Sullivan's Dear Blue Sky is a great read. She's from Medfield, MA and there are hints of Medfield throughout the book.
Tina Stewart March 27, 2013 at 08:34 PM
Looking for more good reads? Come to Eileen MacDougall's Book Talk on Wednesday, April 3 at 7 pm at the Wilmington Memorial Library. Eileen is avid reader who will inspire you with a lively descriptions of several good books. Come and share your recent good reads with others!
marissa March 27, 2013 at 08:56 PM
Dawn, I wanted to let you know that Andre Dubus III will actually be speaking at the Wilmington Memorial Library on May 14th at 7pm! Registration for the event begins on April 14th. Call the library (978-658-2967) for more information!
Jennifer March 28, 2013 at 01:35 PM
Excellent young adult novel, On Gallows Hill by Lynda Styles. Set right here in Salem where the author was born and raised. Loved it!
Dawn Reidy March 28, 2013 at 01:40 PM
Oh thank you Marissa! I would love to hear him speak. I'll have to mark that registration date in my calendar.
Lynda Styles March 28, 2013 at 02:40 PM
Thanks, Witch City Girl! The novel is an edgy YA thriller appropriate for 14 and up. :) Happy Reading all!
Charlotte Wood March 28, 2013 at 06:01 PM
Mark your calendars! We just booked Maryanne O'Hara to speak at the Wilmington library Tuesday, August 6, 7pm. In addition, as Marissa noted above, we have Andre Dubus, Tuesday, May 14. The following round out our author series: Margo Livesey Monday, June 3, Hallie Ephron and Linda Barnes Tuesday, July 9, Courtney Sullivan Tuesday, July 22, and Dennis Lehane Friday, Sept. 6. Please register on the library's website beginning thirty days prior to the event.
Danielle Masterson (Editor) March 28, 2013 at 08:49 PM
Wow, that's quite a line-up, Charlotte! I'll be registering for Linda Barnes and Dennis Lehane, definitely! :)
Mike March 29, 2013 at 03:15 PM
On Gallows Hill by Lynda Styles was very good and you should read it before your teen as it opens the door for discussion on issues (other than the paranormal) that young girls face in this day and age. Another local first time author is Domenica Ruta and her memoir With or Without You. She is from Danvers and the book really captures the North Shore in the 80s and 90's.
Drew March 29, 2013 at 03:51 PM
Just finished "The Good House" and enjoyed it very much as it describes several local places on the north shore.
BookOasis March 29, 2013 at 04:06 PM
He'll be at the Stoneham Library on April 17th at 7pm as well. We'll be providing books for purchase and signing, should be a great talk.
BookOasis March 29, 2013 at 04:09 PM
My book club is doing The Good House next month - I'm very much looking forward to it!
Michelle Garber March 29, 2013 at 04:24 PM
Loved Defending Jacob, Gone Girl and Still Alice. Thanks for all the great suggestions!!
BenLaGuer March 29, 2013 at 06:06 PM
I enjoyed The Brothers Bulger: How They Terrorized and Corrupted Boston for a Quarter Century.
Michael West March 29, 2013 at 08:09 PM
Its not on the list, but my serial novel *Xoc* (pronounced Shok) is an entertaining story about the annual shark tournament. Sharks are killed. People are killed. And, as usual, it’s all for the money. In Xoc, you get a lot of intrigue, some interesting characters and plenty of suspenseful entertainment along the way. Basically, it’s the story of a young man named Sam returning from serving several years in Afghanistan as a “special ops” Marine. He comes to the Vineyard to get a fresh perspective on life, and on himself as a person. Sam gets a job working for his uncle Ted who is the harbormaster of Cottage City. It's mid-summer, July. He runs smack dab into the shark tournament and into a very savvy woman named Emma who is dead set against the killing of sharks. You can read the first 24 chapters of Xoc here: http://xocmv.wordpress.com/ New episodes are posted every Tuesday and Thursday.
Bill Carson March 29, 2013 at 10:19 PM
The downfall of Bulger was when he took down Eddy Connors. The Pony Room bar in Neponset Circle was open 24 hours a day back in the day. The place was after hours 24/7.Bulger wasn't a big drinker and hung around in the upstairs bar. He never bothered any of the locals . Today they call the bar the Upstairs Downstairs bar at Neponset Circle. Still has problems today nothing changes
Kevin Kelly March 30, 2013 at 01:04 AM
I just finished reading "What a Pencil!" by Charlestown author Kevin E. Kelly and found it humurous, insightful and an overall enjoyable quick read. Just sayin'.
Sharon April 02, 2013 at 12:40 PM
Dennis Lehane's books make for some very good reading. The Given Day was our "One Book, One Town" choice a couple of years ago. He was the guest speaker at one of our events, and I'm sure those that attend the Wilmington library event will have an enjoyable evening.
Sharon April 02, 2013 at 12:48 PM
Defending Jacob is our "One Book, One Town" selection this year. The last event is William Landay speaking at Sharon High School Saturday night (tickets are free from Sharon Public Library). I have mixed feelings about Defending Jacob because of the numerous illegal actions of Andy in the story. I enjoyed Mission Flats (story of Mission Hill) more than Defending Jacob because of this.
Sharon April 02, 2013 at 12:55 PM
Sorry, I forgot to add a link to the OBOT website for any interested in attending. http://onebookonetown.org/
Margaret Carroll-Bergman April 02, 2013 at 01:02 PM
Nonfiction: "Another Bullshit Night in Suck City," by Nick Flynn, (Boston and Scituate) ; "With or Without You," by Domenica Ruta, (Danvers); "Lands End: A Walk Through Provincetown," by Michael Cunningham; "Invisible Eden," By Maria Flook, (Truro). Fiction: "The Harbormaster's Daughter," by Heidi Jon Schmidt; "Tough Guys Don't Dance," Norman Mailer (Provincetown); and "The Friends of Eddie Coyle," by George V. Higgins (Boston) quickly come to mind. Only Ruta's book was released in 2013, yet the others are must reads.
Louisa Hufstader (Editor) April 02, 2013 at 01:22 PM
I wish you could have mentioned that first title last, so it wouldn't show up on the home page ...
Margaret Carroll-Bergman April 02, 2013 at 01:31 PM
Nick FLynn is a great writer! The title is poetic!
Lynda Styles April 06, 2013 at 03:13 PM
Thanks for the comment, Mike. I agree, the book has a heavy theme that warrants discussion. Best! Lynda


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