Last year I correctly predicted that 2013 wouldn’t exactly be a banner year in terms of reading, as I would have my hands full of BABY starting in late April (or, as it turned out, early May). Acknowledging that my page counts were going to take a hit, I said,
I keep track because I enjoy making lists and graphs, and because it gives me something nerdy to do every New Year’s Eve. Sort of a tradition, I guess. What I’m trying to say is, I’m not really competing with anyone, even myself — I just find it interesting to see what my reading does, and I like aiming for goals, especially when it comes to reading. This is kind of like the grown-up version of libraries’ summer reading programs for kids, only instead of earning prizes I earn… er… graphs!
And despite having my hands full, I managed to meet my (more modest) reading goal and earned myself some graphs! Before we get to all that graphy goodness, though, a few things:
- I only count books that I completed (and this year was replete with abandoned books, often through no fault of their own)
- I count picture books if they have something akin to a plot, but am pretty sure I forgot to include a few that I read in the bleary early days of motherhood
- You can see a complete list of all books read since I started keeping track, which will include 2013’s books by the end of the day, any time you’d like
Okay, with no further ado… my 2013 reading review!
This year’s reading was inspired by different aspects of my life. I read some birth/parenting books, although fewer than one might expect, some books motivated by my work as a high school English teacher, and some books motivated by my new work as a middle school librarian. I read seven books for book club (would have been more, but I’d already read some of them): Girl in Translation, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, Bossypants, Jacob Have I Loved, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, and The Ocean at the End of the Lane. I read some books to and for my kidlet, several for the fun of it, and a couple out of stubbornness.
I think the best books I read this year were The Ocean at the End of the Lane and The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared. They head up a short list of favorites:
In 2013, I read a grand total of 68 books (not including unfinished books, plotless picture books, and a ridiculous amount of non-book online reading because let’s face it, an iPhone is easier to read than a novel when you’re nursing). While a significant drop from my 2012 reading, this does beat my goal of 52 books, so there’s that.
As usual, my reading peaked in January. I hit an unsurprising low in May, while trying to figure out if I would ever read again now that I had something so much more interesting to look at, but then started reading again that summer and had some healthy numbers boosted by some fun series (including a re-read of the Bio of a Space Tyrant series, which was cool to reexamine as an adult reader). Then I started a new job/career in September, and hit a remarkable low of only 2 books — one of which was a middle-level graphic novel — in November. Ouch!
Page totals weren’t that impressive, either, although this is a reflection of the fact that I have been reading more middle-level books in an attempt to become more familiar with literature appropriate to my new clientele (kiddos in that 10-15 year set).
I decided that I didn’t have the energy to do a full genre breakdown this year (this takes a surprising amount of work) so I just separated them into (adult) fiction, (adult) nonfiction, YA/middle-level, poetry, drama, and picture books. I didn’t separate out graphic novels this time but just lumped them in with the appropriate super-genre. I read a fair amount of science fiction and fantasy this year, which should come as a shock to absolutely no one.
Here’s the big picture — four years of data, huzzah:
So what’s next for the bibliovore’s table here at DYHJ? I’m about halfway through an urban fantasy/noir/paranormal offering by steampunk queen Cherie Priest and have the sequel waiting in the wings, plus another Priest book in a different series that I’d like to check out. I’ve got the next two books in The Hollows waiting for me; this time of year, I really gravitate toward paranormal romance/urban fantasy. I also have a lot of great YA/middle-level books that I need to read, both for myself and professionally. I probably ought to finish The Dark Tower but it got to a place where I was feeling a little squeamish (the whole impending birth of a baby demon thing) so that may be a few months off. I’m anxious to read The One (Cass), which comes out in May. I received The Night Circus as a gift from my book club friend Hannah, and am excited to read it once I purge this whole “canoodling with the undead” craving I get every midwinter. And of course, there will be many great book club books, random finds, and recommendations that come down the pipe throughout the year.
I’m setting a goal of 52 books again and hope that I’ll need to increase it, but we’ll see!
What did you read and love in 2013? What’s on your to-read list? Will you do the Goodreads challenge? You should!