Reading in 2013

{Inspired by Estrella Azul’s post My 2013 in books}

In 2013, I had a goal of reading 50 books, which I revised to 62 when I felt that I was going well. Little did I know how well I was going to do! I knew that I would have more time during the year as my workload was less, but I wanted to make sure that I didn’t set an unrealistic target. I should admit it from the beginning: I am a bookworm. As bad as they get – that’s me. If I’m reading a good book, then all else fades away into oblivion. For example, today I had a lot of work to do, but I got distracted by my book. For 5 hours. Oops. Now, I get to make up that work time tonight after dinner. Anyway, that might be a story for another time.

2013 Reading Challenge Goal

I do enjoy reading a variety of books – almost anything, but it has to keep me entertained: if it follows the same pattern, then I get bored because I can predict generally what will happen. That’s often while I’ll get stuck on a series for a while and then just stop – I know the basic format of the book. I mean, once you’ve read 15 Jack Reacher books, you can almost predict what will happen in the 16th {spoiler alert}: Reacher finds himself somewhere he normally isn’t; he gets involved in a situation he doesn’t want to be involved in; he wants to leave – he knows he should leave; he stays (for now – he might leave and return again shortly after); he sees things that the other characters don’t; he finds a girl (well, 70% of the time); he makes a mistake and berates himself; he ends up solving the case using unorthodox methods and then disappears into the night. Don’t get me wrong – I really love reading that series at the moment, but I can predict it. So, it becomes numbing reading – reading that doesn’t challenge me to think or try to guess the plot. There’s always “what happens next?” or “did I guess right?” and that gets me through the book, but it’s becoming more difficult for me to be surprised by mainstream authors.

Hence, I try a variety of different styles and authors – and they invariably give me different results. In 2013, I was pleasantly surprised by a few different authors and books. I must admit that I think the story of a centurion on an adventure stole my heart and ruined me for other books for a while. I had a serious book hangover and I just couldn’t shake it off for a seriously long time. (Well, a long time between books for me – maybe two weeks?) While I read more than my goal of 62 books, only a few really made me think and appreciate the ability to read and to enjoy reading. Here are some of those books in no particular order (well, except the centurion who stole my heart is first!):

A side note: I love using Goodreads to track my reading – both what I’ve read, what I am reading, and what I want to read. If you haven’t seen that website yet, then I encourage you to do so – they give some good information and appropriate recommendations based on your reading. It’s also a place where you can follow your favourite authors and see what they’re up to. I guess one of my favourite things is the notification of when my favourite authors have just published a new book. I have so many “favourite” authors, though, that I am constantly being given lists of books that have just been published or are just about to be published.

Here’s a visual of what books I read – you can see that there are some choices that are more “escaping reality” than “rocking good reads”, but life sometimes demands books that allow you to escape without using your mind too much. There are also some books in there from my book club – one of the most relaxed book clubs I’ve ever participated in. The basic requirement is that you turn up to the meetings – no actual book reading required. {However, we do mostly read the books in some format – or at least I do…}

2013 in Books {Goodreads}

*Note: The starred books are some of my favourites this year – ones that I truly enjoyed reading.

What piqued your interest in 2013? Do you have any recommendations for me for 2014? I’m already on my second book (with 836 pages, too – and I just can’t put it down!), but am very open to suggestions. Please share your ideas or your favourite books below in the comments.