Sunday, January 12, 2014

Fifty(four) Books

My New Year's goal at the beginning of 2013, because I anticipated a bit more down time than I was used to with my long maternity leave, was to read 50 books. And even though having a baby around takes up more time than you ever expect (and I even knew to expect this, but you still don't believe it until it happens), by December 31 I had managed 54. Even if you don't count repeats, it was still 51. So just for fun, here's my master list. My personal favorites are highlighted, but I liked most everything I read. There are quite a few non-highlighted books I'd still recommend, and very few I absolutely wouldn't (Divergent and Allegiant, for example...but apparently tons of people love the series and they're making the first into a movie this summer, so maybe you will too. But it's no Hunger Games...). Starred books are re-reads.

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker
Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
The Cloud Atlas by Liam Callanan
The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
Anathem by Neal Stephenson
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow
The Round House by Louise Erdrich
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
The Taliban Cricket Club by Timeri N. Murari
Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones
Good Kings Bad Kings by Susan Nussbaum
The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult

Classics and Minor Classics
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricial Highsmith
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
Childhood's End by Arthur C. Clarke
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie*
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

Children's and YA Fiction
The Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde
Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick
Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins
Divergent by Veronica Roth
The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin*
Evolution, Me & Other Freaks of Nature by Robin Brande
The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly
The Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davies
Mrs. Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Allegiant by Veronica Roth
Caroline by Willo Davis Roberts*
Unwind by Neal Shusterman

Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang
Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Denick
The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande
Candy: A Century of Panic and Pleasure by Samira Kawash
Big in China by Alan Paul
Bossypants by Tina Fey
Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

Parenting, etc.
The Happiest Baby on the Block by Dr. Harvey Karp
Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman
Bottled Up: How the Way We Feed Babies Has Come to Define Motherhood, and Why It Shouldn't by Suzanne Barston
French Kids Eat Everything by Karen LeBillon
And Baby Makes Three by John and Julie Gottman
Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom is Wrong--And What You Really Need to Know by Emily Oster
Feisty Fido: Help for the Leash-Reactive Dog by Patricia McConnell (owning a dog is a little like parenting...)

Essays and Short Stories
The Best American Essays 2011 ed. Edwidge Danticat

Graphic Novels
Blankets by Craig Thompson

The God Who Weeps by Terryl and Fiona Givens (nonfiction)
The Reluctant Blogger by Ryan Rapier (fiction)

Aiming for quantity didn't really lend itself to long reads (although I did manage to get in some - A Prayer for Owen Meany, Anathem, Three Daughters of China), so this year I think I'll relax my quantity expectations and mix in some length. I'm also not going to worry too much about meeting a reading goal, since I'm back to work full time and balancing work with motherhood for the first time ever. But I'll still read, 'cause that's what I do. Any recommendations?


Abominable's Main Squeeze said...

Wow, impressive list!!
I found it interesting that you highlighted "I Capture the Castle" by Dodie Smith. I read that several years ago based on great reviews. I read the whole thing, but was completely underwhelmed. I may have to try it again and see if I can catch the beauty of it.

I've just finished reading 3 books by C. M. Curtis, "Return of the Outlaw," "The Three Lives of David Kelly," and "Across the Dark." (Dad is reading and loving "Return of the Outlaw" right now.) I thoroughly enjoyed all of them--good solid characters, great plots that kept me up late reading and surprise, surprise, no profanity or sex! Hope he writes another!

Brian Tanner said...

Oops - you forgot to bold Caroline.

Emily said...

I'm going to use this a guide. After we talked at Christmas, I read The Fault in Our Stars at the cabin and LOVED it. I was going to recommend it to you but I see you already know :)

Abominable's Main Squeeze said...

Thought of another fav because I just downloaded the latest in the series that came out this week. The Flavia de Luce series by Allan Bradley. You may or may not like it, everyone's got different tastes. The stories are fun, but it's the main character that I adore, a precocious but not obnoxious little girl named Flavia living with her father and sisters (one of which is a bookworm) in a crumbling family manor in mid-1900s England. She's a chemistry whiz with her own laboratory (courtesy of a great-uncle and former resident of the manor) and a special love of poisons. She gets under the feet of the town police chief helping him, much to his dismay, solve local mysteries. She is absolutely hysterical and I love her to death. There's a bunch of books in the series so if you feel inspired to try the first (The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie) and find you like it (or her) as much as I do, you will have fun with a bunch more. I've enjoyed every one of them. With your math mind, you just might connect. Who knows?

Thanks for "Candy." I'm in the middle of it right now and thoroughly enjoying it! Although, I have this inexplicable craving for candy right now. Hmmmm...