Books read in 2013: 45
Another year over, another Goodreads Reading Challenge completed!
In fact, in 2013 I exceeded my reading goal of 40 books, which I’m rather proud of, as I also managed to graduate university and start a full-time job this year too! I don’t set aside a strict time everyday to read, but I do try to switch off all distractions (the internet…) and retreat somewhere quiet for a couple of hours a day to get some quality reading time. Of course, more often than not I can only snag 20 minutes reading in my lunch-break, 10 minutes in the bath and a few pages before bed, but it all adds up in the end. Having started work this year, I’ve learnt that nothing is more luxurious than a whole day spent engrossed in a book (how I took for granted my Uni years!) – and I’ve been doing a lot of that in the lull between Christmas and New Year.
For my reading challenge, I only count fiction and non-fiction books I’ve read recreationally and completed. I don’t include graphic novels, comics or collected trade editions in the final tot-up, though I did read some absolutley fantastic comics this year (The Gigantic Beard The Was Evil, Rachel Rising and Wandering Son, among many others).
Total books read: 45
Adult fiction: 12
Children’s & YA fiction: 32
I read almost 3 times as much Children’s fiction as I did Adult! I am getting back into reading YA fiction in a big way – there’s so much originality and adventure in teenage and children’s fiction at the moment, it’s just exponentially more appealing to me than adult fiction for which I have little to no frame of reference – if I pick up a book in a bookshop and the blurb mentions a rocky marriage, an affair, or singleton woe, It goes straight back on the shelf without a second thought. Quite frankly, I just don’t care!
Having said that, being much more judicial about what adult fiction I buy means what I do read is often exactly the kind of book I love, hence why there are 3 adult fiction titles in my favourite books of 2013!
City of Bones, Cassandra Clare. I know. I was *fully* expecting to hate this series, but it’s such good fun and so fast to read that I just couldn’t help myself. I read all 5 books currently out in the Mortal Instruments series this year, and am really looking forward to book 6 out this spring. (Just don’t watch the City of Bones movie. Save yourself!)
Spitfire Women of World War II, Giles Whittell. The only non-fiction I read this year, Spitfire Women is exhaustingly researched and thoroughly engaging, especially if you are like me and love reading about women’s histories and the WWII era in general.
More Than This, Patrick Ness. Every book Ness writes is a treasure, and More Than This is no exception. Completely original, thought-provoking and a masterly told post-apoc teen sci-fi.
Little Gods, Anna Richards. Whichever member of staff at my local Waterstones who put this on their recommendations table, THANK YOU. A completely refreshing, complex and absolutely stunningly well written debut novel, about a giantess of a girl who defies her both her mother’s cruelty and the world’s fear of her size, to survive.
The Savages, Matt Whyman. 2013 seems to have been the year of the (fictional) cannibal. The Savages are a family of cannibals, and take great pride and pleasure from consuming their favourite meat. Sasha Savage is the Savage’s eldest, and her new boyfriend is a vegetarian. Surely it won’t hurt to try going veggie for a little while? A very clever and darkly comedic YA.
Eleanor and Park, Rainbow Rowell. A coming-of-age that stands out from the crowd is a rare and precious thing, and Rowell has achieved something truly beautiful with Eleanor and Park. Being a fat girl, how wonderful to read a book where the protagonist is fat and navigating her difficult home situation, her new school and her first love, and all without her journey to happiness involving dieting and a makeover. How I wish wish wish this book had been around when I was sixteen.
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Michael Chabon. One of the first books I read in 2013, Kavalier & Clay just blew me away with the intricacy of the story and how densely woven and compelling all the plots and subplots are. I’ve attempted a few times to review this book, but I just can’t. More than any book I’ve ever read, it is a novel that you simply have to experience to understand.
Who Fears Death, Nnedi Okorafor. Okorafor is quickly becoming one of my favourite authors; she’s just an incredible storyteller. For me, all other fantasy writers have paled in comparison to her, this year. Who Fears Death is a tale of identity, persecution and magic set in a future (or parallel) Nigeria, and it’s both brutal and beautiful, and essential reading.
Adult fiction favourites
Non-fiction favourite of 2013.
So, what’s next?!
In 2014 my goal is to read 50 books; I hope that i’ll maybe be able to exceed 50, but that’s my goal for now!
My bookish resolution last year was to read more non-fiction and more classics… which… didn’t happen. I tend to just read what I feel like reading at the time, so setting myself a genre challenge was never really going to work out! For 2014, my resolution instead is to keep a reading journal to record my thoughts and feeling on what I’m reading as I’m going along to help me write better reviews. In fact, I’ve already made my reading journal:
Featuring all manner of bad-ass ladies and some creatures too. Eleanor and Park fanart by PaperPie
So there’s my review of my year in books! Here’s to another year of fictional wonder, and to new favourite authors and worlds yet to be discovered.