Karen Russell

Getting much sleep lately? The citizens of Karen Russell's dystopian novella, Sleep Donation, haven't been getting any. It's the near future, and America has been suffering from an insomnia crisis where hundreds of thousands of cases are terminal. And so an agency called Slumber Corps has been established to battle the problem.

Imagine an America that has been plagued for years by a mysterious epidemic of insomnia — an affliction so serious that many are dying from lack of sleep. That's the futuristic premise of Karen Russell's new novella, Sleep Donation.

This post is for everyone who passes right by the poetry section; all the bookish types who haven't read a short story since graduation. We know you're out there — and you're not alone.

First, a word about this list: It's honestly just a fluke that my best books rundown for 2013 is so gender-biased. I didn't deliberately set out this year to read so many terrific books by women.

(This post was updated at 10 a.m.)

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.