Thursday, December 27, 2012

What Are You Reading? Year Wrap-Up

Last year when I got a new book for Christmas and realized a few more were still sitting on my nightstand and a few titles were floating around in my head...I began a reading list. It was nothing more than a penciled list on the first page of a spiral notebook, but it was the perfect place for dumping all the book titles that I didn't want to forget to read. I turned my reading list  into an informal record sheet, too, by jotting down a completion date next to each book I finished.

I read 57 books this year-- 25 non-fiction and 32 fiction-- and that doesn't count the 20 books I read aloud to the kids for fun or the history books we read for school or the myriads of picture books we consumed!

I thought it would be fun to sum up my reading year.  And please, if you are a reader, too, chime in!   


Best kid lit (that I was read to myself) was Holesby Louis SacharI checked it out on a whim in August because I had heard the story was good. It took a few weeks to convince myself that I really wanted to read it, but when I finally picked it up, I couldn't put it down.  I needed to know what was going to happen next.  I needed to know why all these kids were sentenced to  work camp when they seemed to be innocent.  I needed to know why they had to dig all day.  I needed to know who the mysterious warden was!  Maybe the intended audience was middle schoolers, but I was thoroughly engrossed in the suspense  Do yourself a favor and try itI also read Mary Poppins this summer, but this was one instance where I liked the movie better.  The movie Mary is more cheerful. 

The Great New Author Award will be shared by two this year.  The first book I read this year was Watch Over Me by Christa Parrish I had never heard of the author, but the story was excellent and the characters well developed.  I went on to read Home Another Way, also by Parrish and am planning to read her third book which was released in November. 

Coincidentally, the last book I read this year was by another new-to-me author:  The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck. I haven't read anything else by Hauch (and truthfully, the covers don't look too promising), but I loved how this one wove the stories of four women through a one-hundred-year-old story of one wedding dress. 

My undecided vote
goes to Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.  I like to read books that get good buzz and have a movie in the works.  In 2011, I read The Help and it turned out to be the best book I read all year.  Gone Girl was also popular, got good reviews, and being made into a movie so I thought all the criteria was there for a winner.  The story was intriguing.  Wife goes missing.  Husband is number one suspect, but adamantly claims his innocence even though all the evidence points to him.  The problem was the language was horrible!  Absolutely retched! 

My favorite non-fiction selection was hands-down How Not to Die: Surprising Lessons from America's Favorite Medical Examiner by Dr. Jan Garavaglia.  I love the medical genre anyway which is why I also read books like The Parents' Concise Guide to Childhood Vaccinations: Practical Medical and Natural Ways to Protect Your Child and Midwife on Call: Tales of Tiny Miracles this year. This book was a quick and fun (in a weird sort of way) read.   Written by a medical examiner, How Not to Die was a fascinating look at the often preventable ways people die and debunked a few myths about things that are unlikely to kill you, too. The format was easy to follow and filled with narrative and real life examples. 

My biggest disappointment was Two Kisses for Maddy: A Memoir of Loss & Love. Having a daughter named Maddie myself, I was excited to read the story of a man who unexpectedly lost his wife only hours after their first child was born.  I expected heartbreaking and heart-pulling.  I did not expect crass and bitter which is what I got. 


I filled my notebook page with ideas this year.  Many were crossed off as finished and some books I changed my mind about or never had the chance to read.  I decided to start fresh with the approaching year.  I reevaluated my list, taking off a few that didn't interest me anymore and adding a few new titles.  I had hoped to begin with a small tidy list, wanting to begin the year with an attainable goal.  Instead, I  have a pool of 21 books to chose from already! 

My list for 2013 includes Emily of New Moon by L.M. Montgomery (Anne of Green Gables is one of my favorite books of all time and yet I've never read this one by the same author!), Below Stairs: The Classic Kitchen Maid's Memoir That Inspired "Upstairs, Downstairs" and "Downton Abbey" by Margaret Powell, The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Call the Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times by Jennifer Worth (a re-read) plus both sequels!

What did you read this year?  What are you planning for next year? 


  1. Funny, I was just looking at my book list the other day! I slacked off a lot at the end of the year. Aka: started homeschooling. Ha, ha. I think I came out right around 50 reads this year. Plus lots of others with the kids. The really frustrating thing was all the books I had to stop reading. There were probably 10 I simply had to put down. Frustrating. I will have to look for the "Below Stairs" book; I'm so intrigued by books like that! Also - "How Not to Die" sounds fascinating in almost an odd way. Lol! Thanks for sharing...I hope to do a book wrap-up too!

  2. I didn't keep a list this year but wish I had. I've read so many because of all the time in the hospital for my littlest guy's many surgeries and hours on end up with him in the middle of the night. No joke, I probably read 100 books just for me. Not counting the kids read alouds and books for homeschool.

    A new to me author that I liked: Shannon Hale. I read two of her series. First is the Books of Bayern series that begins with the title The Goose Girl. Somehow I had never read the fairy tale of the goose girl so this was a wonderful surprise around every corner. The other books in that series are Enna Burning, River Secrets, and a go along Forest Born. Her second series I read was Princess Academy, with books titled Princess Academy and Princess Academy: Palace of Stone. All were great.

    She has others I've not tried, including one delving into Jane Austen-esqe things. While I love Jane Austen's works I am not generally a fan of spinoffs.

    Ooo, one other book I loved was Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson. It has been once I took the time to reread even.

    You've inspired me! I'm keeping a list for my reading for 2013 and I'm going to have my oldest do the same.

  3. Wow! Thanks for sharing!
    Here are some of my favorites from this year.
    1. The Thirteenth Tale. A mystery of sorts with LOTS of twists & turns.
    2. The Night Circus. A "star crossed lovers" story with fantastical happenings.
    3. The Timekeeper. A great moral story about what happens when we rush our lives through by the clock.
    4. The Mill River Recluse. A heartwarming tale of a hurting young woman who, at the end of her life, teaches her entire town about love & being a good neighbor.

    All good reads!

  4. Wow! I feel like a total slacker ;) I did not keep a list, but I'm sure I've read nowhere near as many books. I guess I tend to migrate to crafts when I have a bit of spare time. The majority of my books have been read alouds for the kids and even with that I want to get a better plan of action ready for this coming year.

    Thanks for the motivation to keep a list and just simply read more books in general :)

  5. Below Stairs was pretty good. We forget that "work" today is not work as it was so long ago.

  6. I agree about Gone Girl - I liked it, but I'm hesitant to recommend it, because of the rough language.

    Try The Secret Keeper! Also buzzy, and a mystery, but much more family friendly. :)

  7. Wow, you read alot of books last year. I thought I did but not compared to you. That's great though. Happy Reading this year!


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