Saturday, January 4, 2014

2013 Reading Roundup

2013 has come to an end and so it’s time for my yearly reading wrap up.

This year I read 65 books, which is a little bit less than my yearly average based on the past seven years. 


Here is the list of books in the order I read them with a link to their Amazon page:

1.    Velva Jean Learns to Drive: A Novel by Jennifer Niven
2.    The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
3.    Vaclav and Lena by Haley Tanner
4.    The Middlesteins: A Novel by Jami Attenberg
5.    Shelter Me by Juliette Fay
6.    Heft: A Novel by Liz Moore
7.    Stolen Prey by John Sandford
8.    Me Before You: A Novel by Jojo Moyes
9.    The Elephant Keepers' Children by Peter Hoeg
10.  Broken for You by Stephanie Kallos
11.  After Eli by Rebecca Rupp
12.  When Crickets Cry by Charles Martin
13.  The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick
14.  Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
15.  The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
16.  Tell the Wolves I'm Home: A Novel by Carol Rifka Brunt
17.  Truth in Advertising: A Novel by John Kenney
18.  The Drop (A Harry Bosch Novel) by Michael Connelly
20.  One Last Thing Before I Go by Jonathan Tropper
21.  When It Happens to You: A Novel in Stories by Molly Ringwald
22.  The Magicians: A Novel by Lev Grossman
23.  I'd Know You Anywhere LP: A Novel by Laura Lippman
24.  The Story of Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon
25.  The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat by Edward Kelsey Moore
27.  The Orphan Master's Son: A Novel (Pulitzer Prize for Fiction) by Adam Johnson
28.  The Fallen Angels Book Club by R. Franklin James
29.  A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki
30.  Ghostman by Roger Hobbs
31.  Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
32.  To Be Sung Underwater: A Novel by Tom McNeal
33.  The House of Tomorrow by Peter Bognanni
34.  The Burgess Boys: A Novel by Elizabeth Strout
35.  The Painted Girls: A Novel by Cathy Marie Buchanan
36.  The Golem and the Jinni: A Novel by Helene Wecker
37.  The Homecoming of Samuel Lake: A Novel by Jenny Wingfield
38.  Silken Prey by John Sandford
39.  The Frozen Rabbi by Steve Stern
40.  The English Girl: A Novel (Gabriel Allon) by Daniel Silva
41.  The Last Summer of the Camperdowns: A Novel by Elizabeth Kelly
43.  The Beast: A Decker/Lazarus Novel  by Faye Kellerman
44.  Heir to the Glimmering World by Cynthia Ozick
45.  Noah's Compass: A Novel by Anne Tyler
46.  The Four Corners of the Sky: A Novel by Michael Malone
47.  American Dervish: A Novel by Ayad Akhtar
48.  Never Go Back: A Jack Reacher Novel by Lee Child
49.  W is for Wasted (Kinsey Millhone Mystery) by Sue Grafton
50.  Woke Up Lonely: A Novel by Fiona Maazel
51.  What We've Lost Is Nothing: A Novel by Rachel Louise Snyder
53.  The Enemy (Jack Reacher, No. 8) by Lee Child
54.  Good Kids: A Novel by Benjamin Nugent
55.  Bad Things Happen by Harry Dolan
56.  My Abandonment by Peter Rock
57.  Beauty: A Novel by Frederick Dillen
58.  The Marrying of Chani Kaufman by Eve Harris
59.  A Thousand Pardons: A Novel by Jonathan Dee
60.  In One Person: A Novel by John Irving
61.  Burial Rites: A Novel by Hannah Kent
62.  The Interestings: A Novel by Meg Wolitzer
63.  And the Dark Sacred Night: A Novel by Julia Glass
64.  We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
65.  There Will Come a Time by Carrie Arcos

The biggest change for me this past year is that I got a car radio with an auxiliary outlet so I am once again able to listen to audiobooks. So of the 65 books I “read” in 2013, 25 were audiobooks I listened to, 25 were e-books I read on my Kindle, and 15 were either paperbacks or hardcovers. 


Another change for me was that thanks to my enabling friend, CK, I discovered the world of digital advanced reader copies. An advanced reader copy (ARC) is a copy of a book released by its publisher before the book’s publication date. The two sites I use are Netgalley and Edelweiss. In 2013 I read five ARCs but I already have many more waiting for me on my Kindle. 

Of the 65 books I read, six were Young adult books and only one was non-fiction. One of my goals for 2014 is to read more non-fiction. I find it much more difficult to read non-fiction but I have several books that I’d really like to read. These are the non-fiction books which are already waiting for me on my Kindle and that I am hoping to read in 2014: 

The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee
Men We Reaped: A Memoir by Jesmyn Ward
The Prime Ministers: An Intimate Narrative of Israeli Leadership by Yehuda Avner
Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital by Sheri Fink

In 2013 I read 13,950 pages altogether and I listened to 287 hours of audio. The longest book I read was Wolf Hall at 650 pages (In One Person was a close second with 624 pages) and the shortest book was The Middlesteins, at 201 pages. The longest book I listened to was The Magicians, at 17 hours and 24 minutes and the shortest book was My Abandonment, at six hours and one minute (narrowly beating When It Happens to You, which is six hours and 18 minutes).

Some of my favorite books this year were Velva Jean Learns to Drive, The Fault in Our Stars, Me Before You, The Elephant Keepers' Children, When Crickets Cry, Where'd You Go, Bernadette, The Story of Beautiful Girl, A Tale for the Time Being, Orange is the New Black, My Abandonment, and The Interestings.

I went through a spell this year where I was reading books I really disliked. Why do I not abandon books I don’t like despite all the lip service I’ve paid to it (most notably here)? I don’t have an answer. The book I most despised was The Frozen Rabbi. Sometimes, I’ll read a book which I don’t like but then in the end it somehow redeems itself and I think, okay, that ending saved it a bit (Noah’s Compass, for example). The Frozen Rabbi was the opposite. I disliked the book the entire way through but the ending made it even more awful. And the reason I kept up with this book was because I felt guilted into it by my friend, CK, who wound up paying a lot for this hardcover edition she forgot to return to the public library when she made Aliyah and consoled herself by saying, well Fern will read it. So how could I not?

Another book I really disliked was Woke Up Lonely which I listened to on audio. It was very convoluted and strange, and again, the ending did not help its cause at all. A book which I can’t say I enjoyed exactly but I’m not sorry I read is The Orphan Master's Son, which won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for fiction. This book takes place in North Korea and offers a fascinating view into the lives of a citizenry of a country that we know little about. 

I’ve already started my first 3 books of 2014 (an audiobook, an e-book for during the week, and a paperback on Shabbat) and if you’d like to follow what I’m reading in real time, you can find me on Goodreads or Librarything

“We don’t need to have just one favorite. We keep adding favorites. Our favorite book is always the book that speaks most directly to us at a particular stage in our lives. And our lives change. We have other favorites that give us what we most need at that particular time. But we never lose the old favorites. They’re always with us. We just sort of accumulate them.” ~ Lloyd Alexander


mother in israel said...

So you got all the way through Wolf Hall? Dare you to read The Investigations!

Fern Chasida said...

Ummm, I don't think so mother in israel