2013: A Year in Books

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This year, I read a lot and loved it. Reading gave me insights into health, finances, parenting and children’s education. It exposed me to different ways of looking at the world. It expanded my empathy and understanding of what life might be like for those who grew up in different circumstances than I did. And above all – overwhelmingly – reading entertained me and let me escape into imaginary worlds.

First, the numbers. My reading list numbers 110 books this past year. Of those,

  • 6: Barely touched
  • 6: Significantly skimmed, but not completely devoured
  • 27 non-fiction
  • 14 by a single author (Neta Jackson – one co-written with her husband) whose social justice-sensitive Christian spirituality & relateable characters had me devouring several books a week
  • 2 that my husband also read (Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi by Brian Leaf; Superimmunity by Joel Fuhrman)
  • 1 that was half wonderful, half horrible, and left me pondering what makes a book work (The Postmistress by Sarah Blake)
  • 1 young adult novel that made me want to write my own (I have an opening line so far … the book was Wildwood by Colin Meloy)
  • Two significant re-reads (Good Grief by Lolly Winston; Beginner’s Greek by James Collins)
  • Forays back into the Mitford series by Jan Karon (read several times already … rural escapism!)
  • 1 that was so much better than I expected (Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict by Laura Viera Rigley) and many more that were worse
  • A new favourite Canadian novel: Grave Concern by Judith Millar (it has it all! A must-read!)
  • 1 hilarious sequel to the awesome Mennonite in a Little Black Dress (Does This Church Make Me Look Fat? by Rhoda Janzen)
  • Several that touched on relationships in a way I liked (Blindsided by Richard M Cohen; Does this Church …; Time of My Life by Allison Winn Scotch)
  • The most powerful memoir I’ve read (The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls)
  • 1 that started me on my new hobby/ passion of clothing refashioning (Overdressed by Elizabeth Cline)
  • A new Christian suspense series by Dani Pettrey, set in Alaska, that I thoroughly enjoyed (though – feel free to laugh – it was borderline too much suspense for me! I can’t handle much)
  • Two great parenting & family books that taught me about connections, rituals, visioning and more (Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids by Laura Markham; The Secrets of Happy Families by Bruce Feiler)
  • An author that made me reflect on the beauty of food and cooking well, inspiring a few more serious attempts in the kitchen (Erica Baumeister), though the thrust of it is a series of connected relationships. Plus Molly Wizenberg’s memoir/ cookbook (A Homemade Life)
  • Several that I simply enjoyed and would recommend if you like stories of relationships (Rules of Civility by Amor Towles; The Myth of You and Me by Leah Stewart; Me Before You by Jojo Moyes; Rurally Screwed by Jessica Knadler; The Island by Elin Hilderbrand; The View from Penthouse B by Elinor Lipman; Paris: A Love Story by Kati Morton)

I actually would love to write more about each and every book on the list … but you’re welcome, I’ll stop there.

Reading this much has now inspired me to write. This past year could be characterized as massive book consumption. Now I feel like I need to take some of what I’ve observed from my reading and start applying it to becoming the writer I want to become.

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