Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Reading 2013

Well, if you're interested in the past, here are lists from 2011 and 2012.

The List:

1  Return of the King - JRR Tolkien*
2  The Fault in Our Stars - John Green
3  Great House - Nicole Krauss
4  Five Dysfunctions of a Team - Patrick Lencioni  (nf)
5  The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
6  Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn
7  Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald*
8  Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins*
9  Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins*
10  Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card
11  Ender's Shadow - Orson Scott Card
12  London War Notes - Mollie Panter-Downes  (nf)
13  Speaker for the Dead -Orson Scott Card
14  Shadow of the Hegemon - Orson Scott Card
15  Shadow Puppets -Orson Scott Card
16  Name of the Wind - Patrick Rothfuss
17  The Wise Man's Fear - Patrick Rothfuss
18  A body in the Library - Agatha Christie
19  Stardust - Neil Gaiman
20  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - JK Rowling
21  Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - JK Rowling
22  Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - JK Rowling
23  Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire -JK Rowling
24  Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - JK Rowling
25  Lady in Waiting - Jackie Kendall  (nf)
26  The Book Thief - Markus Zusak
27  Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince - JK Rowling
28  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - JK Rowling
   29 The Crowd, the Critic, and the Muse - Michael Gungor  (nf)

* indicates a re-read
(nf) indicates non-fiction

General trends:

// I read longer, though fewer books.  I set a goal of 40 books in 2013.  Don't think I'd conjectured the average length of each books would be 435 pages.  You can see below for one of my spiffy graphs.  This shows trends in average number of pages per book and per month over the last 3 years:

// I loooove sci-fi and fantasy [obvi].  I started 2013 by finishing off my re-visit to Middle Earth and another quick trip to District 12, but this only set the stage for journeys into the Enderverse, the Four Corners, Gaiman's Fairyland, and the wizarding world of Harry Potter.  I fully recognize I'm a late (very late) comer to Harry Potter, so I won't even bother "recommending" it, Neil Gaiman speaks for himself, but, a few words on the other two series.

I wrote a formal review of Ender's Game as part of my 31 days project, but here and here are thoughts I shared while reading the 1st book.  I can't recommend Ender's Game highly enough, but I'd also suggest it's parallel novel Ender's Shadow and direct sequel Speaker for the Dead (an anecdote of which I shared here).  I've forayed further into Shadow series, which is a fascinating political and psychological saga.  I'm hoping to finish the Ender Quartet, which I hear is highly philosophical.  Card's fiction is a thought-provoking delight.

As for the Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss, I did my best to give it a proper review hereName of the Wind, Rothfuss's incredible novel debut gripped me from it's earliest pages and once he sets up the frame narrative - there's no going back.  Both it and its sequel, Wise Man's Fear, are innovative fantasy while maintaining some of the familiar qualities I love most about series like Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter (though intended for a more mature audience than either of those series).  I finished these two in August and yet still find myself wondering about the characters as if they were lost friends.  I eagerly await the 3rd and final installment!

All that said, I have enjoyed indulging more in my love for sci-fi, fantasy, and the wonderful spots where they blend.  It's saddening that these are so often relegated to niche literature in academia... but that's a thought for another post.  I have loved these literary journeys and I'm looking forward to a few more in 2014.

// I only just realized looking back at this list that I didn't read a single pre-1900's book this year.  Gatsby, published in 1925, is the earliest novel on the list.

My teenage self would be appalled.  My 23 year old self is rather thrilled.

// Another theme that emerged in my reading habits was learning more about WWII.  Not facts.  Stories.  It was the focus of London War Notes and The Book Thief, but it crept up in plenty of other books too.  London War Notes (passage here) was a heart-breaking and beautiful bi-weekly column written for the New Yorker by an American living in London throughout the war.  Interestingly, The Book Thief, though fictional, was a harrowing tale of "the other side" - how many Germans experienced the war.  As a side note, I think it would be very interesting to read The Book Thief in conjunction with The History of Love.  But these contrasting perspectives make it obvious how unnecessary and tragic the war was - not for one side or the other, but for humanity. 

As for 2014, I'm excited to announce that I'll be taking part of Jon Acuff's "Empty Shelf Project."  I've already cleared the decks and have some books in the wings - so look forward to filling it up! 

I thoroughly enjoyed my literary wanderings in 2013.  More than finding new friends, I found new parts of myself.  These stories lent me courage where I was running low, joy in some dark moments, and love - so much love - for other people.  I couldn't really ask for much more.

Have you read any of these?  What were some of the trends or highlights for your reading in 2013?


  1. You, my friend, are impressive.
    And you are good at what you love. :)

    1. Thanks, Ash! That is a wonderful compliment!

  2. I will take note of what you read. Rothfuss is indeed amazing. :)

    1. Thank you! Always happy to offer a recommendation :)