Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Reading in Review

This has been a year of quantity, though not necessarily quality.  I read 73 books this year - the most I've read since I started tracking 12 years ago.  Almost half (31) were fiction, with many memoirs (10) and non-fiction (13) titles in there too.  To my chagrin, there were two or three I'd read before though I didn't realize it until the first couple of chapters and couldn't remember the endings anyway.  There were only 11 titles I flagged as recommendations, proving the addage that you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find a prince.  My top 5 reads for this year are:

  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.  I was drawn into this story from the beginning and was very impressed with such a young author's imagination.
  • The First Muslim by Lesley Hazleton.  I found this historical account of the life of the Prophet Mohammed a well presented and thoughtful read for our times.
  • The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey.  A slim auto-biography that I won't mind re-reading regularly, reflecting on the scale of life, however we are given to live it.
  • Help Thanks Wow by Anne Lamott.  A funny, on point, realistic example of living every moment with God.
  • Giants in the Earth by O.E. Rolvaag.  A classic that tells the story of Norweigan settlers in the Dakota territory.  Beautiful prose and heartbreaking lives.
The year's close brings the total books I've read since the beginning of 2001 to 699.  I was tempted to speed read something just to round off that number, but reality is more honest.  I keep a "TBR" or To Be Read list on my phone for shopping at used bookstores and I'm going to concentrate on those for reading in 2014. I think I made the same promise last year and got distracted with my reading groups, interesting looking titles at the library and "the-only-available-book" conundrum while travelling.  Truth be told, reading is like eating -- I have good intentions of only devouring the most healthy and hearty choices and find both habits are also sources of comfort, diversion and indulgence.  Oh well.

I spend a good part of every day reading other things than books.  My job has me reading and writing about technical solutions and I have a Feedly list of 74 blog subscriptions that I peruse regularly.  I get most of my news online from Google News.  I didn't read anyting on my Kindle (I'll probably get rid of it) and while I listen to podcasts while on the treadmill or riding in the car, I don't listen to audio books.  It's obvious that I love reading.  I plan to be reading until my last breath!

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