Sunday, December 29, 2013

Wrapping Up 2013

Wow it's hard to believe that 2013 is coming to a close already, but my calendar tells me that it is indeed the truth. To be honest, I'm quite glad to see this year end and quite excited to see the symbolic beginning of a fresh start that January 2014 represents. I was surprised to see that my reading wasn't so bad this year. It was actually my second best year as far as the number of books read since I've been blogging. However, in other aspects of life, this year was for the birds for the most part. Though I did take a lot of good from the bad at the same time so I can't say it was a total failure. But without further ado, here you have favorite 12 books of know, because I can't ever just give you a top 10 :p They're in no particular order.

Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver - Such a very beautiful book with many layers to it. This was my first experience with Kingsolver's fiction and it won't be my last. The story of a woman trying to find herself and gain acceptance with herself while also being the story of the very real dangers of climate change and it's effects on the world around us. Loved it.

Wandering Son by Shimura Takako - So this is cheating a bit as I've actually read all five volumes of this endearing manga series about a young boy and a young girl who identify as a young girl and a young boy, respectively that have been published so far. It's easily my favorite depiction of transgendered characters that I've read simply because it doesn't focus solely on the characters being transgendered as many books do. Not that there's anything inherently wrong with that, but this series instead focuses on the characters as people with that simply being one aspect of their lives.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain - One of the most powerful books I've read this year. This book helped me accept and embrace little old introvert me more than anything else I've read and I've recommended it to so many people. I think it's common sometimes for introverts to feel "less than" or that we don't fit in. Cain shows that that's not the case at all, that our strengths are just as powerful as those of extroverts, just different.

Farm City by Novella Carpenter - I LOVE this woman and reading this book made me want to go buy a herd of goats, a pig and some chickens and start a farm in the middle of the city. It's not just the amazing farm that she created and the way she sustained it and the community around her, it's the person behind the farm as well that makes this book and this woman so loveable.

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell - What can I say that hasn't been said about this book already? Simply the best characters I've read in so long and a hero of real people. God I love this book!

Parrotfish by Ellen Wittlinger - I've come to really love Ellen Wittlinger as an author. This is another great story of a transgendered character coming into his own while those around him struggle to accept her for him. I love the way she was able to balance the seriousness and at times, harshness of the story with humor.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman - It's always a good year when a new Neil Gaiman novel comes out! This one was certainly no exception. I get scared sometimes when my favorite authors put out new books. I'm afraid they won't live up to my expectations. But I really shouldn't ever fear with Gaiman. This book was so very special and so very personal. Perhaps more so than any other Gaiman novel and I adored it.

Hero by Perry Moore - AKA, the book that made me cry more than any other book this year. If you haven't read this amazing story yet, read it. That's all.

The Color Master by Aimee Bender - Quite possibly my favorite short story collection I've ever read. I really loved every story in this collection and "Tiger Mending" has become one of my favorite stories ever. It resonated so very much with me and gave me a much needed jolt.

More Than This by Patrick Ness - Oh Ness. You did it again. This story was such a surprise. Not that I was surprised that it was amazing, because we all know that Ness writes amazing stories, it's just that the story itself and how it unfolded was a welcome surprise. So much unexpected wonderfulness in these characters, much heartbreak, and such a very real story despite it's dystopian theme.

Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan - This story just struck home with me so much and meant a lot to me personally. Levithan continues to put out amazing, forward thinking books that never cease to amaze me and leave me begging for his next one.

Wild by Cheryl Strayed - I said that these books were in no particular order, but this is my favorite book of the year hands down. This book will stick with me forever. The last time a book had this type of effect on me was when I read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, a book that changed my life. This one did the same. I read this at a time when I could relate to Strayed's need for time to process traumatic life experiences in a solitary way, pushing herself into new territories and redefining herself. So very thankful for this book and so very thankful to Ana forever for telling me about it.

And now for stats...there's still the possibility that I'll finish another book or two before the year is over, but for now, I'm closing the books for the year. If I read anything else, I'll just update the post. Here we go:

Total Books Read: 80 (Up 18 from last year)
Total Pages Read: 17,231 (Up 3,091 from last year)
Comics/Graphic Novels Read: 29 (Up 25 from last year.....ha!)
Nonfiction: 21 (Up 6 from last year)
Short Story Collections/Essays/Anthologies: 5 (Down 2 from last year)
Poetry: 4 (Down 1 from last year)
LGBT Themed Books: 14 (Up 5 from last year)
Written by Women: 36
Written by Men: 41 (Most balanced I've been since blogging!)
Chunksters (450+ pages): 2 (same as last year :/)
Average # of Pages Per Book: 215 pgs. (Down from 234 pages last year)

Overall I'm happy with my stats! Nothing really surprises me. I've been drawn to shorter books this year, and I've really enjoyed graphic novels this year too. I've also noticed a trend to nonfiction this year too and that shows in the numbers as well. I'm not making any particular goals for next year aside from ENJOY YOURSELF CHRIS! And I shall :) I'll be spending January reading Long Awaited Reads for Ana and Iris' Long Awaited Reads Month :D So excited about that! Wishing you all the most amazing 2014 filled with personal victories and of course, one amazing book after the other.


Kailana said...

Well, that's great that despite the year you had you had a good reading year! Lots of good looking books in your best of list. :)

Bellezza Mjs said...

Oh, how could I have forgotten about Flight Behavior? Only, I'm still the teeniest bit cross at Delarobia for leaving her family. Regardless, it was beautiful writing and a provocative plot.

I want to read Quiet, which I own, because I am one of those. With every fibre of my being.

Thank you for making my Christmas so special, Chris, with bookmark and card as well as your lovely thoughts. xo

Amy said...

I really need to read Eleanor and Park, don't I?!?

Happy New Year, friend!

Anonymous said...

Two of your books are on my list of Best of 2013 too! (Eleanor & Park and More than This.) And happily I got them both for Christmas. :D

Beth F said...

What Amy said! So many here I really need to read.

Debi said...

Wow--I so love how varied your list is!!! And you know what else I love--that I still have so many of those left to read! Lucky me! Because I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that any book you love that much is a book I'll love too. :D

Here's to many more books of awesomeness in 2014!!!

DesLily said...

way to go baby boy!! But you always love reading so much you could never do "bad"... I know I didn't do as much as I'd like to but i'm just happy that I read as much as I do lol...

Happy new Year !x0x0x0

Melanie said...

I think i've seen Gaiman on every book bloggers list, including mine. It's an amazing book. Happy reading in 2014 and I hope things look up for you!

Becky said...

So many books on this list that I NEED to read! What a great list Chris! Thanks for sharing. I'm serious about reading a bunch of these. I hope you have an AMAZING year!

Lu @ Regular Rumination said...

Happy New Year, dear Chris. I'm excited for the clean slate 2014 promises too and I'm hoping that it is a better year for everyone. <3

Carole McDonnell said...

Have a great wonderful year, my friend!

Robin said...

What a nice post! So many books on your list that I would like to read! I hope 2014 is a great year for you.

Eva said...

Oh I just read The Colour Master in a fairy tale anthology & loved it. Clearly I need more Aimee Bender in my life! :)

I saw Cain's Ted talk and found it very empowering as well, although I'm not as much of an introvert as some of the people she describes. I should get around to reading the book.