Reading Challenge 2013

Thursday, January 3, 2013

One of my New Year's Resolutions (of which I have many) is to complete the GoodReads Reading Challenge this year, which I failed last year. The failure was no one's fault but my own because, well, I set the reading goal myself. Last year my goal was 52 fun books, or one per week, which should have been pretty manageable. But each time I got deep into a dissertation chapter I pretty much gave up fun reading altogether, which meant that after each chapter I was left with a stack like this one...

The stack of mostly new releases waiting for me when I finished writing Chapter 2. I only made it through four of these by year's end.
...and only about a week of free reading time before I had to begin the next dissertation chapter. Towards the end of the year, I found myself mid-way through three or four different books, none of which were finished before January 1, which means that none of them counted toward the 2012 Reading Challenge, but together they set me up well for 2013. I already finished one of them this morning, so I have high hopes that I WILL complete the Challenge this year.

In all, I finished 44 books for fun last year. My list was YA heavy, and some of the titles aren't really books (more like singles or companion pieces), and a few of the books were more for teaching purposes than for entertainment. The list also feels incomplete because there were so many books for which I downloaded the samples onto my Kindle but never read the whole books or that I started and didn't finished or that I bought and didn't find time to read. So my reading and writing life was informed by so many other titles, many of which I hope to complete in the future, but for now, here are the books that I finished in 2012:

Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart (fourth time)
Atwood, Margaret. I’m Starved for You
Atwood, Margaret. In Other Worlds: SF and the Human Imagination
Baggott, Julianna. Pure (Pure #1)
Bergman, Megan Mayhew. Birds of a Lesser Paradise
Clare, Cassandra. City of Bones (Mortal Instruments #1)
Clare, Cassandra. City of Ashes (Mortal Instruments #2)
Clare, Cassandra. City of Glass (Mortal Instruments #3)
Clare, Cassandra. City of Fallen Angels (Mortal Instruments #4)
Clare, Cassandra. City of Lost Souls (Mortal Instruments #5)
Clare, Cassandra. Clockwork Angel (Infernal Devices #1)
Clare, Cassandra. Clockwork Prince (Infernal Devices #2)
Condie, Ally. Reached
Dermont, Amber. The Starboard Sea
Eugenides, Jeffrey. The Virgin Suicides
Fuller, Alexandra. Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood
Green, John. The Fault in Our Stars
Harris, Charlaine. Dead Reckoning (Sookie Stackhouse #11)
Hawkins, Rachel. Spell Bound (Hex Hall #3)
Hodkin, Michelle. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer #1)
Hodkin, Michelle. The Evolution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer #2)
Hubbard, Kirsten. Wanderlove
Ilibagiza, Immaculee. Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust
Keire, Vicki. Worlds Burn Through (The Chronicles of Nowhere #1)
Kirby, Jessi. In Honor
Meyer, Marissa. Cinder (Lunar Chronicles #1)
Morton, Kate. The Secret Keeper
Munro, Alice. Too Much Happiness
Oliver, Lauren. Hana (Delirium #1.5)
Oliver, Lauren. Pandemonium (Delirium #2)
Revis, Beth. A Million Suns
Reger, Rob. Piece of Mind (Emily the Strange, #4)
Riggs, Ransom. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine #1)
Roth, Veronica. Divergent (Divergent #1)
Roth, Veronica. Free Four: Tobias Tells the Story (Divergent #1.5)
Roth, Veronica. Insurgent (Divergent #2)
Rowling, J.K. The Casual Vacancy
Russell, Karen. Swamplandia!
Schwab, Victoria. The Ash-born Boy (The Near Witch #0)
Spillman, Rob, ed. Gods and Soldiers: The Penguin Anthology of Contemporary African Writing
Taylor, Laini. Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1)
Taylor, Laini. Days of Blood and Starlight (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #2)
Taylor, Laini. Lips Touch: Three Times
Walker, Karen Thompson. The Age of Miracles

There are lots of series on this list (because I like to live in the same worlds and with the same characters as long as possible) and lots of books by the same authors (because once you hook me, I'm yours), but I was reading many of these authors for the first time. 

I will always remember 2012 as the year in which I read Laini Taylor's gorgeous prose for the first time and became a forever fan. Her Daughter of Smoke and Bone goes down as my Favorite YA Fantasy of the Year (even though it was published in 2011).

In a year in which my reading list was dominated by dystopian titles (as it often is), Julianna Baggott's Pure wins for Best World Building, Veronica Roth's Divergent books win for Most Addicting Dystopian Series, and Beth Revis's A Million Suns wins Best Dystopian Sequel

I'd give the award for Best Contemporary YA to Kirsten Hubbard's Wanderlove (although it just barely nudged out Jessi Kirby's In Honor). 

Because I devoured SEVEN Cassandra Clare books, I had to create a special category just for her, so the Cassandra Clare Award for Best Cassandra Clare Book goes to Clockwork Prince, which was by far the most heart-wrenching of her works.

2012 will also be remembered as the year in which Kate Morton reminded me of why I'm so in love with her prose, her structure, and her storytelling. The Secret Keeper was absolutely one of my favorite reads of the year, and it wins for Best Literary Fiction and Best Historical Novel (even though I didn't read a lot of historical fiction).

2012 is also the year in which I was first introduced to Karen Thompson Walker, whose The Age of Miracles gets my award for Best Debut of the Year (and also Best Coming-of-Age, Best Literary Sci-Fi, and Least Bleak Semi-Apocalyptic Book of the Year).

The coming year promises to be just as exciting, as many of my favorite series are wrapping up, a few by favorite authors are just beginning, and I'm sure there were will be plenty of surprises and discoveries along the way. 

If you have any 2013 releases you are really looking forward to (or a book of your own to promote), please leave the titles in the comments and I'll try to add them to my TBR pile!


American Puzzle January 11, 2013 at 11:50 AM  

Louise Erdrich's The Round House. Compelling, poignant, and YA. :)

Lacy Marschalk January 11, 2013 at 11:58 AM  

It's in the stack in that picture, AMo! Three from the bottom. It's one of the books I didn't get to by the end of the year, but hopefully will in the next month or so. Glad to hear you recommend it! Would you call that YA, though? (Just asking your reason for doing so, since publishers don't categorize it that way. Not that their categories always matter.)

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