Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Reading Review: 2013 Books

I did it! I made my goal of reading 80 books this year! A few of these were cookbooks, decorating books, shorter young adult or kids chapter books, but I didn't count any picture books. I feel like 80 is a sweet spot for me - I read 72 in 2012 and 68 books in 2011. But to read more than 80 I would have to cut out other things that I love to do also. So I'm going for 80 again in 2014. But... more non-fiction. And classics. I only read 3 classics and 1 non-fiction. Man, no wonder I got to 80 easily!

When I look at the reading goals I set last year, I failed miserably at most of them. I only read 3 of the 6 books I wanted to get to (although one I took off the list) and didn't get to any poems, plays, or non-fiction. So I guess my goal for 2014 is to read more meaningful and quality books and a little less just-for-fun fiction. And to finish a few I have been working on for a super long time!

To Read in 2014

3591262To Finish:
Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
The Hand the First Held Mine by Maggie O'Ferrell
The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty by James Thurber

Trails to Testimony by Bradley D. Harris
Raising up a Family to the Lord by Gene R. Cook
The Parenting Breakthrough by Merrilee Boyack

The Odd Couple by Neil Simon
The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare

General Fiction:
Ahab's Wife by Sena Jeter Naslund
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Peace Like a River by Leif Enger

This seems like a lot - just the 14 listed above. But anyone who can read 80 books in a year can get through those, right? Let's hope so. I would like to be widely-read and well-read (and well-rounded) and not just have finished a bunch of fluffy mystery books.

But I did read some great things in 2013 and want to lay out my favorites here.

Favorite 5 Stars (I only gave this rating to 6 books and one was a cookbook.)

The Penderwicks series by Jeanne Birdsall
I love this series and this family so much! It has a charming, old-fashioned feel to it, but probably set more currently since they mention laptops and such. It just impresses me that the children play sports, do creative things like writing, crafts, cooking, and plays, and never seem to mention watching tv or playing video games. It helps that it is set on the East coast in places that seem to good to be true but I want it anyways. I gave the 2nd book (of 3) 5 stars, but the rest are solid 4 stars and supposedly another book or two will be coming out eventually.
1024275The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman - a gripping, emotional story of love & loss about a couple isolated on an island off the coast of Australia
Pictures of Hollis Woods by Patricia Reilly Giff - A Newberry Honor book from The Battle of the Books list for elementary school, about an orphan girl who finally finds a family
A Proper Pursuit by Lynn Austin - a fun, light Christian romance
The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King - A Sherlock Holmes fan fiction book/series, introducing a young, female assistant for an older, semi-retired Holmes. Can't wait to read more!

Notable 4 stars

10508431Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein - about a couple of women serving in the RAF during WWII
Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George - for grade-schoolers
Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan - an interesting twist on a spy novel. set in the 1970s.
A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving - this has really stuck with me
Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri - great collection of short stories

The entire list of the 80 books I read is on Goodreads.