The Chips are Down on 2013

I know I’ve been absent for a while. Would you believe things have been busy around here? We have been doing all kinds of things on our side of the computer, I just haven’t been telling you about them. Sorry! One thing I have been keeping up, is reading. At the close of 2013, I had met nearly all of my reading goals!

If you remember, which I’m sure you do because it’s super important information, I set up a three tier reading goal for last year which was:

1. to read 30 books

2. of those 30, 11 specific titles

3. to read 10,000 pages

Thanks to good ‘ol, I was able to track all three of these goals. I am happy to report that by 12:01 am January 1, 2014 I had

                                       1. read 37 books

                                       2. read 8 of my 11 specific books

                                       3. read 12768 pages

I’m really very proud of myself for reading as much and as continuously as I did! I can also say, with my head held high, that each book I read was a “real” book and not just something I thought I could read quick to add to my quota.

Now for what you really want to know: What did I read and What did I think of it. I start with the mean gossip. There were a few books I was really disappointed in and just didn’t like this year.

I’ve already mentioned, at length, my disappointment with Daphne Du Maurier’s Frenchman’s Creek. I was likewise disappointed with The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggy O’Farrell, The Dutch Shoe Mystery by Ellery Queen and The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells. With each of these, my disappointment was the result of inappropriate expectations. I thought The Dutch Shoe Mystery would be just like the funny, delightful Ellery Queen short stories I’ve read and loved, not a simple story excruciatingly drawn out to fill a novel length book. The same is true for the Wells and O’Farrell books. I thought they would be more sci-fi and gothic than political and tripe (respectively). Oh wells.

So what were my favorites?

2013 Read Landscape

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith — I cannot can not say enough how much I enjoyed this book. I read it twice in a 3 month period. Who am I to know if J.K. Rowling’s pen name was revealed on purpose or not, but I’m glad it was. I was intrigued by the synopsis, but had I not known it was written by Rowling, I probably would have waited a few years until other people I knew read it and suggested it to me. So thanks, whistle blower! My review here

Ella  by Christopher Warwick– I’ve read a number of books on the topic of the Bolshevik Revolution. Although it was a short book, Ella gave me an entirely different outlook on one of the major players. Apparently you can learn new things about things you already knew 😉

Quiet  by Susan Cain– I read it in July and I’m still bringing it up in conversations! My review here

The Angel’s Game — This is the second installment of Carlos Ruiz Zafron’s Cemetary of Forgotten Books and I loved it. Haunting and darker than the first, but so so good.

What to Expect When No One’s Expecting by Jonathon Last and Lying- In by Richard Wertz and Dorothy Wertz (which I’ve written about here) both have me itching to read more about the birth culture and history in America. I’m currently interesting in reading more about postpartum support and expectations in women around the world.

Deconstructing Penguins by Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone (my review hereand The Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv  gave me some real world suggestions on what I can do to help the kids get the most out of their childhood education and development. Homeschooling is looming ever nearer, this year I need to start making some concrete plans for Evangeline.

Ryan insisted I add King Lear to my reading list for 2013. I had only read a few Shakespearean plays and all of them had been under the direction of a teacher in school. I didn’t think that I could read and understand a Shakespeare play by myself. But I did! I enjoyed it and I understood it. And not just the plot either!

How the Irish Saved Civilization by Thomas Cahill and Out of the Flames by Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone (my review here) also showed me that I can step out of my history comfort zone and read about eras I’m not already familiar with. In fact, after reading How the Irish Saved Civilization, I’ve been intrigued to read more on Irish and Dark Age history. Both are a far cry from my usual comfort zone which centers on 19th and 20th century Europe and America.

So what about this year? I did like having reading goals, although I’m still deciding if I’ll set out specific books to read this year. I have decided to establish these goals, however:

1. read 35 books

2. read 1100 pages

This is less than what I accomplished in 2013, but I’m interested not so much in stretching myself this year as keeping up what I’ve proven I can do. I hope to come back soon and write reviews for some of the books I’ve recently finished but haven’t yet blogged about, so you can be on the look out for those. Although, let’s be honest, I’m not sure when I’ll be able to sit back down and write.



One thought on “The Chips are Down on 2013

  1. Pingback: Southern Fiction — An Open Call for Suggestions | Being the Carruths

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