2014: New Year, New Reading Resolutions

If you are a long-time reader of this blog, you will know that I've long since given up on making lists of specific books I want to read, *but* that doesn't mean I'm any less goal-oriented.

After a bit of searching, I've found a few different approaches to Reading Resolutions for the new year that I'd like to explore.

The following resolutions are taken from an article on QuirkBooks.com. Check out this link to get a more in-depth explanation of each bullet point.
  • Catch up on that series you fell behind on
  • Finish the catalog of your favorite author
  • Read the classics you've been putting off
  • Don't judge a book by its cover
  • Finally organize your bookshelves
  • Shop at your local independent bookstore
  • When you start a book, commit to finishing it
  • Conversely, don't feel obligated to finish a book if you don't like it
  • Tackle the best books of 2013
  • Try out a new genre
  • Read that book
  • Just read more

I've also found a really fun and tactile approach: Random House's Reading Bingo Challenge 2014. Filling in one book per space, I actually plan to use both Bingo cards since they are 25 spaces a piece, and I intend to read at least 50 books this year.

2014 is going to be a challenging reading year! What are your reading resolutions?

2013 End of Year Book Survey

Look what I found, and just in time too: The Perpetual Page Turner's 2013 End of Year Book Survey.


Let me preface this by saying the survey is for books I read throughout the year, no matter when they were published, and it is not limited to just books that came out in 2013.

1. Best Book You Read In 2013?
Since it's still so fresh in my mind, I am going with Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost, which is book 1 in the Night Huntress series.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
J.D. Salinger's Raise High the Roofbeam, Carpenters & Seymour: An Introduction was a huge disappointment for me. It was the last book in his catalog that I hadn't read, so when it turned out to be completely self-indulgent, tedious, and boring, I was a little heartbroken.

3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2013?
Though it was published in 1958, I'd have to choose Elizabeth George Speare's The Witch of Blackbird Pond. I was so pleasantly surprised with this innocuous-looking Newbery winner.

4. Book you read in 2013 that you recommended to people most in 2013?
I recommend Orson Scott Card Ender's Shadow to people chasing that feeling from Ender's Game but were disappointed by Speaker for the Dead like I was.

5. Best series you discovered in 2013?
Maggie Stiefvater's The Raven Cycle series. I read both The Raven Boys and The Dream Thieves this year, and I adored both of them!

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2013?
J.R. Ward after I read Dark Lover.

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?
“Robert Galbraith's” The Cuckoo's Calling. I only read this because it's really written by J.K. Rowling; I never read murder-mysteries. I think the real world is scary enough. If I want to be afraid, I'll read the newspaper. Thankfully, this one was pretty tame.

8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2013?
Maggie Stiefvater's The Scorpio Races. I was really into that book. It reinforced my love of Stiefvater's work, even though I actually really dislike the Wolves of Mercy Falls series.

9. Book You Read In 2013 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
I'm not likely to re-read any book in 2014. My TBR mountain is comprised of 216 books. There's no time to re-read-- life's too short.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2013?
Put the Book Back on the Shelf
 Put the Book Back on the Shelf: A Belle and Sebastian Anthology

11. Most memorable character in 2013?
Karou from Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2013?
George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2013?
Though I wasn't wowed by it like I thought I would be, Carson McCullers' The Heart is a Lonely Hunter actually stuck with me long after I finished it.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2013 to finally read?
C.S. Lewis' The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. I wish I read it during childhood when I was “supposed” to.

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2013?
“A secret is a strange thing.

There are three kinds of secrets. One is the sort everyone knows about, the sort you need at least two people for. One to keep it. One to never know. The second is a harder kind of secret: one you keep from yourself. Every day, thousands of confessions are kept from their would-be confessors, none of these people knowing that their never-admitted secrets all boil down to the same three words: I am afraid.

And then there is the third kind of secret, the most hidden kind. A secret no one knows about. Perhaps it was known once, but was taken to the grave. Or maybe it is a useless mystery, arcane and lonely, unfound because no one ever looked for it.

Sometimes, some rare times, a secret stays undiscovered because it is something too big for the mind to hold. It is too strange, too vast, too terrifying to contemplate.

All of us have secrets in our lives. We’re keepers or keptfrom, players or played. Secrets and cockroaches — that’s what will be left at the end of it all.”

― Maggie Stiefvater, The Dream Thieves

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2013?
Shortest: Martin Rowson's The Wasteland at 74 pages
Longest: Koushun Takami's Battle Royale at 617 pages

17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers!
Chapter 32 of  Jeaniene Frost's One Foot in the Grave. Enough said. 
(If you are super curious, check out the reviews on GoodReads. There are many-a reader who was left reeling from Chapter 32. It's become such a “thing” that Frost has merchandise on her website referencing it specifically.)

18. Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2013 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).
Miri's many friendships in Shannon Hale's Princess Academy.

19. Favorite Book You Read in 2013 From An Author You’ve Read Previously:
Sharon Creech's Love that Dog. Creech is one of my all-time favorite authors, though her earlier work can be hit-or-miss.

20. Best Book You Read In 2013 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else:
Steve Martin's Shopgirl. A friend of mine was obsessed with the book and movie when it first came out, and I finally gave it a try this year.

21. Genre You Read The Most From in 2013?
Paranormal Romance. No surprise there.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2013?
Dash from Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by David Levithan & Rachel Cohn. Dash is everything I wanted my high school love interests to be.

23. Best 2013 debut you read?
Hmm. I didn't I read any works by authors who debuted in 2013, and I only read three books that were published in 2013. If I had to pick the best one, it would be Cynthia Hand's Boundless, which is the final book in the Unearthly trilogy.

24. Most vivid world/imagery in a book you read in 2013?
Phillip Pullman's The Golden Compass from the His Dark Material's series. Very vivid universe. Every now and then I think I see some Dust in the air...

25. Book That Was The Most Fun To Read in 2013?
Raina Telgemeier's Drama. Graphic novels are (almost) always a fun time.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2013?
None. Maria Semple's Where'd You Go, Bernadette was an emotional read for me, though it was mostly positive emotions.

27. Book You Read in 2013 That You Think Got Overlooked When It Came Out?
Richard Salas' Peculia or Sara Varon's Sweaterweather. Both are delightful graphic novels that I haven't heard much about.


I am linking my survey up at the Perpetual Page Turner's blog. Let me know if you do the same-- I'd love to read your survey!

2013 by the Numbers

Happy New Year, everyone! I've had a really great reading year. I read 57 books in 2013, totaling 17,021 pages. That's quite an accomplishment if I do say so myself. Also, it's a bump up from the 49 books I read in 2012.

GoodReads was paramount in my tracking my yearly progress. They even have a nifty little diagram to display your star ratings.

Only two books won the coveted 5 star rating this year: Elizabeth George Speare's The Witch of Blackbird Pond and Jeaniene Frost's One Foot in the Grave.  Alternatively, two books won the dreaded 1 star rating: Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot and some random graphic novel not even worth mentioning again here.

And simply because it does me proud to see them all listed one after the other, here is the definitive list of my 2013 reads in all its glory:
  1. Steve Martin's Shopgirl
  2. David Levithan & Rachel Cohn's Dash & Lily's Book of Dares
  3. Cynthia Hand's Boundless
  4. Sharon Creech's Love that Dog
  5. Scott Mills' Big Clay Pot
  6. Sharon Creech's Replay
  7. Maggie Stiefvater's The Raven Boys
  8. Martin Rowson's The Waste Land
  9. Miss Lasko-Gross' A Mess of Everything
  10. George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion
  11. Kristin Cashore's Graceling
  12. John Green's Paper Towns
  13. Raina Telgemeier's Drama
  14. J.K. Rowling's The Casual Vacancy
  15. Aline Kominsky-Crumb's Need More Love
  16. Maggie Stiefvater's The Scorpio Races
  17. Jen Van Meter's Hopeless Savages
  18. Sara Varon's Sweaterweather
  19. Paula McLain's The Paris Wife
  20. Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot
  21. Charles Burns' Black Hole
  22. Emily Dickinson's Selected Poems
  23. J.D. Salinger's Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters & Seymour: An Introduction
  24. Eric Stephenson's Put the Book Back on the Shelf
  25. Orson Scott Card Ender's Shadow
  26. Carson McCullers' The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
  27. J.R. Ward's Dark Lover
  28. Sharon Creech's Pleasing the Ghost
  29. C.S. Lewis' The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
  30. Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone
  31. Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy
  32. P.C. Cast's Marked
  33. Alan Moore's Watchmen
  34. Scott Westerfeld's Uglies
  35. Maggie Stiefvater's Linger
  36. Koushun Takami's Battle Royale
  37. Laurell K. Hamilton's Guilty Pleasures
  38. Garth Nix's Sabriel
  39. Shannon Hale's Princess Academy
  40. Libba Bray's A Great and Terrible Beauty
  41. Janet Taylor Lisle's Afternoon of the Elves
  42. Maggie Stiefvater's The Dream Thieves
  43. Elizabeth George Speare's The Witch of Blackbird Pond
  44. Robert Galbraith's The Cuckoo's Calling
  45. P.D. James' Death Comes to Pemberley
  46. Phillip Pullman's The Golden Compass
  47. Lauren Kate's Fallen
  48. Jeaniene Frost's Halfway to the Grave
  49. Richard Salas' Peculia
  50. Jeaniene Frost's One Foot in the Grave
  51. Sylvia Plath's Collected Poems
  52. Jeaniene Frost's At Grave's End
  53. Jeaniene Frost's Destined for an Early Grave
  54. Jeaniene Frost's First Drop of Crimson
  55. Jeaniene Frost's This Side of the Grave
  56. Maria Semple's Where'd You Go, Bernadette
  57. Jeaniene Frost's One Grave at a Time
Obviously, I'm pretty pleased with myself. I'm aiming to read 50 books in 2014 (it's going to be a busy year for me for a ton of other reasons. Stay tuned.). Now tell me, how was your reading year?
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