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.
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.
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 ZoÃ« 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.
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 Lacks, Cinderella 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).
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?