What I’ve Read So Far This Year

At the beginning of this year, I challenged myself on Goodreads to read an average of one book a week. I did the same thing last year and hit my goal in December, eventually finishing with 59 or 60 books officially read. (I’d left off a few that were so bad I didn’t really want to cop to them, but did count a few short novellas that went along with some series I’d been reading, so it pretty much worked out right.) This year I finished my 52nd official book in the wee hours of June 29th. Oops. 

Screencap of my Goodreads reading challenge congratulations message.
And I’ve read another book since then. Well, two, but one was terrible so I didn’t count it.

I went ahead and increased my goal for the year to 78; I doubt I’ll be able to keep up the same pace due to some life changes that are coming up, but am still optimistic that I can squeeze in at least one book a week. And while I resisted them at first due to years of working at a used bookstore, I have to say that this wouldn’t have been possible without ebooks. To the best of my recollection, only four of the books I’ve read thus far in 2013 have been physical books (one hardcover, three paperbacks). Many of the remaining books I checked out from the library via OverDrive, which is great because they’re free and I actually greatly prefer their app to the Kindle one on my iPad. But what did I actually read this year, you ask? Let’s take a look.

Romance novels

By far the biggest chunk of the books I’ve read this year have been romance novels (and if anyone is rolling their eyes or judging me right now, I don’t want to hear it). Fully 32 of the 53 books on my 2013 shelf have been romances, but not the crappy bodice-rippers of days past. These days, there are plenty of options that actually have kickass feminist heroines instead of wilting wallflowers; you just have to know where to look. The obvious first choice for Persephoneers is Zoë Archer; just in the last six months I’ve read five of her books plus two by her husband, Nico Rosso. Many of the other books I’ve read this year have been by authors she recommended on her blog or Facebook page, including Julia Quinn, Eloisa James, and Julie Anne Long; I love all three of them. I finally got through the sixth and seventh books in the Outlander series, though that’s mostly been out of stubbornness. I’ve also gotten several books via NetGalley or by just picking random books from the library, but those have been a bit more hit-or-miss in the quality department.

Young Adult novels

I’ve also read a dozen YA novels this year, mostly of the fantasy or dystopian persuasion.Unfortunately, some of them didn’t really live up to their hype. I loved the Gemma Doyle trilogy by Libba Bray, but found Going Bovine to be really fucking depressing. I adored The Girl of Fire and Thorns and The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson (yay, the third book in the series comes out next month!) and Megan McCafferty’s Bumped and Thumped were pretty fun. Will Grayson, Will Grayson and Under the Never Sky were pretty underwhelming, and while I did like Gail Carriger’s Etiquette & Espionage, it wasn’t quite as awesome as the Parasol Protectorate series.

Nonfiction

I actually haven’t read as much nonfiction as usual this year; I’ll have to work on that in the second half of 2013. Mostly they were books that I’ve been meaning to get around to for ages and just finally decided to download from the library. I have no idea why it took me so long to get around to reading Into Thin Air; we always had stacks of cheap copies at the bookstore but I just never picked it up for some reason. The Immortal Life of Henrietta LacksCinderella Ate My Daughter, NurtureShock, and The Psychopath Test had also all been on my to-read list for ages, though none of them were quite as good as I’d heard. I loved Consider the Fork, though, and while I don’t usually count cookbooks toward my reading goals, I got an advance copy of a macaroni and cheese cookbook that was fantastic (and I totally plan to review it when it finally comes out next month, because damn did their recipe make a delicious mac & cheese).

Fantasy

I used to read a lot more fantasy books, but I’ve only read two this year that didn’t also qualify as romance or YA. A Memory of Light was the sole hardcover of the year thus far; I started reading the Wheel of Time series sometime in the mid-90s and was ridiculously psyched that the last book (number 14!) finally came out in January. It came out the day I was leaving to visit my family in Texas; I resisted the urge to pay full price for it at the airport but then dragged my sister to a bookstore so I could get it to start reading on the flight home. I also read Quintessence by David Walton, which I loved. It combined alchemy and magical creatures with exploration on a flat Earth during the Spanish Inquisition; you wouldn’t think combining that many disparate themes would work, but it was amazing.

What have you been reading this year? Any recommendations for how I should fill up my reading list for the rest of 2013?

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[E] Hillary

Hillary is a giant nerd and former Mathlete. She once read large swaths of "Why Evolution is True" and a geology book aloud to her infant daughter, in the hopes of a) instilling a love of science in her from a very young age and b) boring her to sleep. After escaping the wilds of Waco, Texas and spending the next decade in NYC, she currently lives in upstate New York, where she misses being able to get decent pizza and Chinese takeout delivered to her house. She lost on Jeopardy.

4 thoughts on “What I’ve Read So Far This Year”

  1. I set myself a goal of 100… which might be a little ridiculous, but last year I read 82 books, so… We’ll see?

    Currently I’m 4 books behind. And don’t even ask me about how behind I am on books I need to review! I’ll get caught up though. Eventually.

  2. Oh, I liked Will Grayson, Will Grayson. It was sweet.

    I gave myself 85 books as a challenge for this year.Three books behind on schedule. I liked Sharp Objects, 11/22/63, Hero and Salmon Fishing In Yemen a lot. Biggest disappointment was Bill Bryson about the history of the house/home.

    1. I liked it, I just went in expecting to be blown away by the awesome and I wasn’t. I have an irrational hatred for Bill Bryson, even though I suspect I’d actually enjoy some of his books. Too many conversations like this at the bookstore:

      Customer: Where would I find books by Bill Bryson?
      Me: He’s written on a ton of different topics, so pretty much any section would have *something* by him. What are you looking for.
      Customer: Oh, anything. Which ones do you have in stock?
      Me: (Spends several minutes scrolling through like 20-30 pages of our crappy inventory system, rattling off which ones should be in stock, opening individual records to see if they’re on shelves or tables; customer doesn’t write anything down, possibly answers their phone.)
      Customer: I really just wanted the new one.
      Me: You mean the one stacked right in front of me?
      Customer: Oh, I didn’t see it!
      Me: (screams internally)

  3. I finally got around to reading The Bone Doll’s Twin and the two books that came after. I have read Lynn Flewelling’s other series and enjoyed it. They are pretty good from a story standpoint but I’m not sure I agree with the author’s depiction of gender. (The main character is a girl who is raised as a boy)

    I’m currently reading Fuzzy Nation, by John Scalzi. It’s pretty darn good.

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