A Year in Review: Best Movies & Books of 2013

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2013 has come and gone! Instead of boring you with the obvious, “This year went by so fast! Where did the time go?” spiel, I’m going to celebrate how awesome 2013 was by listing my top favorite movies and books of the year. So get your handy dandy notepads out and start jotting down all of my suggestions. I can assure you they are worth checking out.

Top Movies of 2013

I’m dubbing 2013 “The Year of Movies”. Seriously, so many amazing movies came out this year. The good news? A lot of these are already available on Netflix! Grab your popcorn, your favorite blanket to cozy up with, and you’re ready to go.

This Is The End

OK, before I start I have to warn you – there is a possibility that you will die laughing if you choose to watch this. This movie tells the story of Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, and a ton of other celebrities partying their faces off at James Franco’s house. In the midst of the party shenanigans, these celebrity funny men are greeted with the apocalypse. If you like a good laugh, a lot of dirty humor, and Seth Rogen – you should definitely check this one out.


This movie tells the story of a medical engineer and an astronaut that work together to survive after an accident leaves them adrift in space. As a longtime fan of Sandra Bullock, I have to say this is hands down one of her best, if not her all time best performance. You’ll be hanging off the edge of your seat the entire time.

The Wolf of Wall Street

This movie is based on the true story of Jordan Belfort and his rise to a wealthy stockbroker living the life of the rich and famous. It continues with is “fall” as he enters into a downward spiral involving shady business, the feds, and and more driving under the influence than you could possibly imagine. You will find yourself laughing your face off, hating the characters, but loving the movie more than you could imagine. I would be seriously shocked if Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill weren’t nominated for an Oscar. If you’re going to see one movie, see this one (but a fair warning, this is an extremely R-rated movie).

American Hustle

Get ready to enter the life of Irving Rosenfeld, a con man forced to work for FBI agent, Reichi DiMaso. DiMaso sets up an elaborate sting operation in order to corrupt politicians, forcing Rosenfeld into a world of New Jersey powerbrokers and mafia. With actors like Christian Bale, Jennifer Lawrence, and Bradley Cooper, you won’t be disappointed by the performance of this all-star cast.

Top Books of 2013

My New Year’s resolution last year was to put down my computer and read more. Unfortunately, I did not do as well as I expected, but I still did read some really awesome books. The following list is made up of books that came out in 2013 in addition to some older books that were new to me this year. I encourage all of you to get offline and start reading more. You have a list of 7 books to read, so you have no excuses!

Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn

Let me introduce you to the best book I’ve read this year, and arguably one of my new all time favorites. Because I tend to go a little overboard with book descriptions, here’s the summary thanks to Barnes and Noble. 

It is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer? 
With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?

If you do one thing in 2014, you should you read this book.

The Divergent Trilogy, Veronica Roth

Let me introduce you to the Divergent trilogy, which happens to be found in the Young Adult section of your bookstore. If I didn’t include one YA novel in this list I’d feel like I was tricking you. The truth is, while I like to think I am sophisticated and mature, my reading choices sometime reflect the opposite. With that said, you should still read this trilogy because it is awesome and wildly entertaining.

Beatrice Prior lives in a dystopian Chicago world where society is separated into five factions: candor, abnegation, dauntless, amity, and erudite. Once placed into these factions, a person’s life is dedicated to cultivating the specific virtue that they were assigned. Beatrice struggles with the decision of what faction best suits her, if any. Instead of taking the traditional route, Beatrice makes a choice that surprises everyone, even herself.

Even if you are iffy about YA, this is a really amazing story and a quick and easy read. If you’re just starting on your “reading for fun” journey, I think this would be a great place to start.

Six Years, Harlan Coben

Earlier this year, my best friend and I drove my car all the way from sunny Florida to rainy Seattle. In order to prevent being bored out of our minds, I decided we should listen to audio books. Thanks to Audible and Harlan Coben, our ride was not boring at all. On the contrary, we didn’t want to stop driving because that would mean we’d have to stop listening. For anyone that is into murder mystery novels, Harlan Coben will be a very familiar name as he’s one of the most known writers of this genre. Six Years is his latest book and it does not disappoint.  Here’s the Barnes and Nobles synopsis.

Six years have passed since Jake Fisher watched Natalie, the love of his life, marry another man. Six years of keeping his promise to leave Natalie alone, and six years of tortured dreams of her life with her new husband, Todd. But six years haven’t come close to extinguishing his feelings, and when Jake comes across Todd’s obituary, he can’t keep himself away from the funeral. There he gets the glimpse of Todd’s wife he’s hoping for . . . but she is not Natalie. Whoever the mourning widow is, she’s been married to Todd for almost two decades, and with that fact, everything Jake thought he knew about the best time of his life — a time he has never gotten over — is turned completely inside out. As Jake searches for the truth, his picture-perfect memories of Natalie begin to unravel. Mutual friends of the couple either can’t be found or don’t remember Jake. No one has seen Natalie in years. Jake’s search for the woman who broke his heart, who lied to him, soon puts his very life at risk as it dawns on him that the man he has become may be based on a carefully constructed fiction.

If you’re planning a road trip or you just want a serious page turner, this is the book for you.

Youtility: Why Smart Marketing Is About Help Not Hype, Jay Baer

For you marketers and business owners out there, this one is for you. “What if instead of trying to be amazing you just focused on being useful?” Youtility focuses on the dynamic that exists between service and marketing. The book is filled with tons of examples of how different companies are able to drive sales simply by providing value. So if you’re stuck in a marketing rut or you’re just looking to expand your knowledge and learn something new, this book will change the way you approach marketing from the very moment you pick it up.

Here’s to 2014!

There you have it, my favorite movies and books of 2013. Here’s to another year filled with awesome movies and wonderful new reads. I encourage all of you to join me on my journey to read more. I came across the very awesome “The Empty Shelf Challenge” – all you have to do is empty a shelf in your house and fill it with books throughout the year. The goal is to read more than you did in 2013. Join me on this challenge!

Let me know what your favorites were this year. I’m always on the hunt for good movie and book suggestions!

Danielle Prager

Danielle is a digital marketing expert. She is always searching for or helping others learn the latest tips and tricks to improving social media, content marketing and other digital areas. When she's not working, she likes to spend her time keeping up to date on pop culture, getting her yoga on, and obsessing over how awesome the 90s were. You can find her on Twitter, @Danielle_Prager , and on Google+.

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