Thursday, January 2, 2014

My 2013 reading wrap-up

I read 217 books in 2013. About 12 of those include short stories and novellas, and 21 of the books fall into the young adult/juvenile fiction category, which I tend to whip through pretty fast. What stands out for me is that only seven books were re-reads. Last year, that number topped 29. I deliberately reduced my re-reads because there are so many books I want to read, that I tried to make reading new books my priority.

At the start of 2013, I had 224 books on my “To Read” list. Now that number is 426.
I already have three books in progress that I did not finish in 2013.

By the Numbers:
Total Books Read: 217
Books I read again for the second (or third or more time): 7
Romance:  71
Mystery:  36
Young Adult/Juvenile Fiction: 21
Nonfiction:  9
Paranormal, Horror, Sci/Fi, Fantasy:  23
Series books: 109

Here are my favorite books from 2013, in no particular order.

“The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green
Written for the young adult market, this book tells the story of a girl with terminal cancer who meets a boy with cancer at a support group. This tale of love and loss had me laughing and crying. Sometimes at the same time. A movie based on the book comes out this year. Read the book first.

“The Round House” by Louise Erdrich
Set on a North Dakota reservation,  this book reveals the aftermath of a brutal attack on a woman, and how her son Joe tries to solve the mystery of what happened to her and why. The statistics about sexual assault against Native American woman shared at the end of the book haunt and horrify me.

“Murder in Chelsea” by Victoria Thompson
Thompson wrote romance novels in the 1980s and 1990s, but switched genres to historical mysteries and found her voice. This series, based around a midwife working in New York City in the early 1900s, is amazing, and the latest book in the series finally gave readers some character/relationship development that is long overdue.

“Maisie Dobbs” by Jacqueline Winspear
I will cheat a bit here, and include all 10 books in the series. I discovered the Maisie Dobbs series early this spring and inhaled it before the 10th book came out. Set in Great Britain between World War I and World War II, it follows a young woman whose employer discovered her in the library in the middle of the night and helped her get an education. She works as a personal inquiry agent (private investigator) and her cases often deal with World War I veterans.

“7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess” by Jen Hatmaker
I travelled to a woman’s retreat in February with a dear friend for the chance to meet Jen Hatmaker and listen to her speak. Amazing experience and an incredible book. I really want to try the 7 challenge this year.

“Silent in the Grave” by Deanna Raybourn
Another mystery series, set in Victorian England, begin with the murder of Lady Julia Grey’s husband. So far the series includes 5 books and two short stories, one of which I need to get my eyes on.

“The Perfect Mile” by Neal Bascomb
A great read about Roger Bannister and the race to break the four-minute mile. 

If you like to read romance, you cannot go wrong with books by Mary Balogh, Celeste Bradley, Lynn Kurland, Julia Quinn or Eloisa James. I tried a few new authors this year and enjoyed books by Tessa Dare, Courtney Milan and Kate Noble. Most of these authors are on Facebook, and I love following them and may still "squee" a bit when I get to interact with them. A work highlight from the year was my phone interview with Celeste Bradley to learn more about her writing and her latest book.

I shall try to rediscover my love of writing, as I fell into a major writing slump in 2013 that I have not been able to shake. My list of books to read includes several writing guides/advice books to try to help me find my writing mojo again.
I set my goal for 2014 at 180 books (just under one book every two days.) This year will bring several changes, including my son graduating from high school and heading off to college. I hope to enjoy spending time with him (as much as he’ll allow) and make time for fitness.

To take a look at all the books I read in 2013,  click here.