Every year brings at least one book that knocks my socks off and this year that book was Adam Johnson's The Orphan Master's Son. It won the Pulitzer, but that came a week after I met Adam at Stanford, where he now teaches and where I was once a creative writing fellow. The raves of his colleagues and of my friend, Jim McManus, a bestselling writer in his own right, made me put it on my list. Wow! It is a book that is both beautiful and terrifying about a dystopian world that happen to exist, North Korea, where reality is whatever the Dear Leader declares it to be. It also has elements of a thriller, and surely, a deeply romantic love story. Taken on any level, it is potent and compelling reading, and fully achieved: suspenseful, heartbreaking, and grimly educational. More from A Year in Reading 2013 Don't miss: A Year in Reading 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005 The good stuff: The Millions' Notable articles The motherlode: The Millions' Books and Reviews Like what you see? Learn about 5 insanely easy ways to Support The Millions, and follow The Millions on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr.