What I Read in 2013, and Other Stuff About Books

San Tan Regional Park; Photo Credit Doree Weller

San Tan Regional Park; Photo Credit Doree Weller

I made a few resolutions in 2013, one of which was that I was not going to keep compulsively purchasing books.  I made good use of my library, and managed to practice self-control, for the most part.  Some of the reason I buy books is that I find them in used book stores, and I want to read it, but I know that if I put it on a list of stuff to be read, I’ll probably never get around to getting it from the library or buying from Amazon.  But if I bring it home, I’ll read it eventually.  It sort of works.

One of the things I did to stop myself from buying books was to keep a list of everything I read in 2013.  It was fun, and if I ever wonder, “Did I read that book?” I can go back and look at my list and see the book, along with my thoughts.

I read 76 books in 2013, less than I’ve read in other years, though I don’t actually have the numbers on that.  I just know that in previous years, I’ve read one book after another, reading up to three or four books in a week.  While that’s great and all, I decided I had to stop.  I needed to do more writing, cooking, walking… things you can’t do if you’re just inexhaustibly consuming one book after another.  I’m trying to read more mindfully.

Of the 76 books on my list, 44 were new, 27 were re-reads, and 5 I didn’t finish.  Of the 5 I didn’t finish, 3 were because life is too short to read boring books, and the other two, I just haven’t finished yet.

I’ve included the complete list, along with some notes I made for my own benefit.  Because of my book club, I found 2 new favorite books and took some risks with books I wouldn’t normally read.  Some of them were great, and I’m so happy I tried them.  Others were not books I enjoyed at all, and actually 2 of them were ones I didn’t finish.  I highly recommend reading stuff others recommend.  After all, it doesn’t hurt anything to put a boring book down.  But discovering a new and wonderful book is like an adventure.  I would never have read Beautiful Disaster or The Fault In Our Stars on my own, but I love both books so much now that they’ll be going on my special bookshelf for favorites.

*This is a book I’ve read before.

+This is a book I didn’t finish.

X Book suggested by my book club.

1.  Words Get In The Way by Nan Rossiter  About a boy with autism, pretty good

2.  *Pollyanna by Eleanor M. Porter

3.  *Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster

4. X 600 Hours of Edward by Craig Lancaster (1/12/13-1/13/13)  A man with Asperger’s… good

5.  Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover’s Soul (competed 1/15/13)  🙂

6.  The good dream, Donna VanLiere (completed 1/24/13). Women’s fiction, pretty good.

7.  +Invisible Monsters, Chuck Palahniuk- just didn’t hold my interest… I tried!

8.  Anna Dressed in Blood, Kendare Blake (1/28/13)  Loved it!

9.  Girl of Nightmares, Kendare Blake (sequel to Anna Dressed in Blood)… great!

10.  Unforgettable Lady, Jessica Bird

11.  Fantasy Lover, Sherrilyn Kenyon (2/10/13)- Very good, get more by her.

12. X Zoo, James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge (2/10/13-2/12/13)  Good.

13.  Tempting the Beast, Lora Leigh (2/14/13)  Meh… don’t bother

14.  Sweep, Cate Tiernan (2/16/13)  Young adult series, great fun.

15. Cinder, Marissa Meyer (2/16- 2/17)  Great!

16. *Guilty Pleasures, Laurell K Hamilton (2/18-2/23)

17. *The Laughing Corpse, Laurell K. Hamilton (2/23)

18. *Circus of the Damned, Laurell K. Hamilton (2/23-2/24)

19.  *The Lunatic Cafe, Laurell K. Hamilton (2/25)

20.  *Bloody Bones, Laurell K. Hamilton (2/26-2/28)

21.  *The Killing Dance, Laurell K. Hamilton (2/28-3/1)

22.  *Burnt Offerings, Laurell K Hamilton (3/1-3/5)

23.  X Beautiful Disaster, Jamie McGuire (3/6- 3/9)  New for the favorites list.

24. *Beautiful Disaster, Jamie McGuire (3/9-3/11)

25.  X+Swamplandia, Karen Russell (3/11-3/14)  It read too much like literary fiction… boring!

26.  The Charming Man, Marian Keyes (3/15- 3/26)

27.  Calculated in Death (#45), JD Robb (3/27-3/31)

28.  Walking Disaster, Jamie McGuire (4/2)

29.  +Johnny Cash (4/3-

30. X The Language of Flowers, Vanessa Diffenbaugh (4/13-4/14)

31.  Sweet Rains, Nora Roberts (4/22- 4/23)

32.  Scarlet, Marissa Meyer (4/23-4/27)

33.  Blithe Images, Nora Roberts (4/28)

34.  Lover at Last, JR Ward (5/1- 5/4)  Great, of course.

35.  Law of Love, Nora Roberts (5/5-5/8)

36.  *High Noon, Nora Roberts (5/9- 5/11)

37.  Empty Chairs, Stacey Dansen (5/15- 5/18)

38.  *The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins (5/18- 5/20)

39.  *Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins (5/20)

40.  *Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins (5/21)

41.  Shards & Ashes, Melissa Marr & Kelley Armstrong (5/21-6/4)  Anthology,paranormal  🙂

42.  *50 Shades Darker, EL James (5/30- 6/2)

43. *50 Shades Freed, EL James (6/4- 6/6)

44.  X The Good House, Ann Leary  Not great, worth reading once.

45.  *Someone to Watch Over Me, Judith McNaught (6/22- 6/24)

46.  X The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, Mark Haddon (7/8)

47.  This Book is Full of Spiders, David Wong (7/10-7/14), sequel to John Dies at The End

48.  *Blue Smoke, Nora Roberts (7/16- 7/17)

49.  Deeply Odd, Dean Koontz (7/23-7/26)

50.  Whiskey Beach, Nora Roberts (7/27-7/29)

51.  *Northern Lights, Nora Roberts

52.  Blue is for Nightmares, Laurie Faria Stolarz

53.  White is for Magic, Laurie Faria Stolarz

54.  *Walking Disaster, Jamie McGuire

55.  *Ice Castles, Leonore Fleisher

56.  *Remember Me, Christopher Pike (9/1-9/4)

57.  Cesar Millan’s Short Guide to a Happy Dog, Cesar Millan (9/5-9/7)

58.  *Love Story, Erich Segal (9/10)

59.  *Where The Heart Is, Billie Letts

60.  *The Silver Link, The Silken Tie, Mildred Ames (9/16)

61.  The First Prophet, Kay Hooper (9/24- 9/27)

62. X The Lion is In, Delia Ephron (9/30)

63.  A Street Cat Named Bob: And how he changed my life, James Bowen (10/7)  Nice story

64.  X The Fault in our Stars, John Green (10/8- 10/10)  New for the Favorites List.

65.  Sarah, Plain and Tall, Patricia MacLachlan

66.  Emma, Jane Austen (10/20- 10/28)

67.  Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending,Elizabeth Dunn&Michael Norton (10/26)

68. X My Name is Memory, Ann Brashares (10/30-11/2)

69. X Wild, Cheryl Strayed (11/4-11/11)  Unexpectedly good, memoir

70.  Allegiant, Veronica Roth (11/12- 11/19)

71.  Mirror, Mirror, JD Robb

72.  Thankless in Death, JD Robb (12/10- 12/11)

73.  Innocence, Dean Koontz (12/12- 12/13)

74.  A Big Little Life: A Memoir of a Joyful Dog, Dean Koontz (12/14- 12/16)

75. X +In The Woods, Tana French (12/17-12/22)- Nothing happened, so I gave up.

76.  1984, George Orwell (12/23- present)

Being Bored

IMG_1110I often joke that it’s against my religion to be bored.  We sometimes get a bit of down time at work, and I hear people complain of being bored all the time.  I don’t understand that!  How can anyone be bored?  There’s so much to do!

I don’t mean that I’ve never been bored; I have, but for me it’s more of a mood thing than anything else.  Once in awhile I’ll feel out of sorts, and NOTHING will suit me.  As a general rule, though, I always have things to do.  In my work bag, I keep at least one book, but usually two, my personal iPad, and headphones.  I can read, write, surf the Internet, take a walk, listen to music, or have a conversation.  At home, there are more things to do than I know what do do with.

I don’t watch TV, in part because it’s not my medium of choice, but also because I’m just too busy doing other things.

How often do you get bored?


100_0251I decided that in 2013, I’m going to track the books I read, both because I’m curious about the number of books, and also because I read so many that I often can’t remember what I read.  Also, because of my book club and recommendations from other friends, I’m reading books I wouldn’t normally read.  Another reason I wanted to keep track is that I’m borrowing more books now than I have in the past, so I don’t necessarily have the book around to remind me what I’ve read.

I know I read more books than the average person, but I was curious and decided to look up what “average” is.  It’s 15 books for paper book readers, and 24 books a year for e-readers.  Yikes!  We’re only halfway into 2013, and I’ve already consumed 5 books!  Now, in all fairness, two of those were re-reads (Pollyanna and Daddy Long-Legs).

The study indicates that most people prefer e-books, and most people prefer to own books rather than to borrow.  I talked to someone the other day who said that she loves e-books because now she doesn’t have to buy a new bookshelf.

For writers, these are interesting trends.  If people are reading 1-2 books a month, it’s important to create a book that people are going to talk about, since most people read books based on recommendations from others.

It’s an interesting article, if you want to take a look.

Do I Need An Intervention??

We all know I’m a book addict; this is nothing new.  Given a choice between reading or breathing, I’d probably pick reading except… well… I’d die.  Every once in awhile though, I get completely hooked on a book.  I can’t put it down.  I’m almost late for work because I want to keep reading.  I stay up past my bedtime.  If I could read while driving, I would (which is why I put whatever book I’m reading in the trunk; remove the temptation).  There’s really no rhyme or reason to this.  It can be a book I’ve read before or something new.  I could read the book once, be hooked, but the next time not so much.  Or vice versa.

Most recently, I got hooked on Twilight.  Ugh, I’m ashamed to admit that.

I like Twilight, don’t get me wrong.  No, it’s not great literature, but it’s a good story.  You know, if you ignore the dysfunctional relationship between Bella and Edward.  But to not be able to put it down?!?  To go as far as reading Midnight Sun on Stephenie Meyer’s webpage again?  I almost felt like I needed an intervention.  I remember trying to get through them again when the third movie came out and not being all that interested.  This time?  Boom!  Off to the races!

I have to chalk it up to stress.  When I’m tired and/ or stressed out, I tend to get more easily hooked into fictional worlds.

Are there any others out there who get like that?  What was the last book that totally hooked you?  (I know people read this blog… stop being shy and take a minute to comment!)

5 Reasons Why Life Should Be More Like Reading

1.  You can put it down anytime you want to and pick it up again when you’re ready.  Ever wish you could just stop a moment in time?  If life were more like reading, you could stop it and give yourself a moment to mull it over, think about it, and then start again.

2.  You can skip to the end if you really want to.  I’ve never done this, though in certain cases it was hard!  But I know that the ending is there if I want to read it first.

3.  You pretty much always know what you’re getting into.  Pick up a romance novel, and it will have a happily ever after ending.  Pick up a murder mystery, and the hero will find the bad guy.  Problems are usually solved, and if they’re not solved in Book 1, there will probably be a sequel.

4.  If you get bored with a novel, you can just put it down and pick up another one.  Where in real life can you just quit if you’re bored?  I’m too fond of paychecks and such to do that.

5.  It never costs more than $20 to go anywhere in the world.  For a small price (less if I get it from the library), I can travel anywhere, see anything, meet anyone.  There’s no danger and I don’t’ have to get any special shots before I travel.  It doesn’t get any better than that!

Only Thousands of Choices

I’ve never had much sympathy for women who go to their closets and declare, “I have nothing to wear!”  Usually, they have more than enough to clothe a third world country.  I’ve never been one of those women, and always been pretty smug about it.

That brings me to this past weekend.  I was alone in the house and wanted to sit down for an hour with a book.  I had just finished what I was reading, and wanted to read something, preferably an old favorite.  I scoured the bookshelves and couldn’t find anything.  Yes, I declared, “I have nothing to read!”

Now, those of you who’ve followed this blog for awhile have seen pictures of my bookshelves.  I tried counting my books once, and stopped when I got to 1000.  This past year, I’ve tried to cut back on my addiction and have tried to use my library more, only buying things I really like and can’t live without.  So, I have all these books, some of which I’ve read and some of which I haven’t gotten to yet, along with the books from the library.  And yet I have nothing to read?

At least I know I have a problem, right?  I guess as a writer, I can’t have too many books.  I’m just going to keep telling myself that…