Friday, December 20, 2013

2013 Top Ten


As of this moment I've read 67 books in 2013 (I may squeeze two more in by year's end). That is seven books over my Goodreads goal for the year! This was also the year I discovered NetGalley and reviewing books for publishers, so you can imagine I got a little carried away with that for a good four months, which also happened to be over the summer. As it turns out, picking my top ten was easy because I reviewed so many books for publishers, that the ones I chose of my own accord were much fewer than usual. And although I enjoyed a good number of books I reviewed through NetGalley, only one of them made my top ten and it was as much for my sentimentality of the topic. So here they are in the order in which I read them throughout the year. 

1. Unglued, by Lisa Terkeurst - Christian nonfiction.
Unglued talks about how and why people lose it, aka become angry. Terkeurst spells out the reasons we become angry and how we deal with our anger. The first step to dealing with something is awareness and this book hit the nail on the head. It has been a game changer. See my previous review here.

2. Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy - fiction, classic. 
I reread this book in 2013 because of the movie release late in 2012. My book buddy RD also reread it and we watched the movie together, so that made it even better. The story parallels two characters and how the choices they make effect the ultimate path their lives take. See my previous review here.

3. History of the World According to Facebook, by Wylie Overstreet - fiction.
Readable in an hour, this book is set up to look like the homepage of someone's FB. The idea is a "What if?" scenario. What if FB had existed from the beginning of time? Who would have an account and what would they say, share, comment, and like? Historical (fiction and nonfiction) places, people, things, and events comprise the people of this FB. See my previous review here.

4. One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp - Christian nonfiction.
This rates alongside Unglued...a game changer. Voskamp's book centers on the place of thanksgiving in our lives. Not the holiday, but every day thanksgiving. Thanksgiving in the bad times as well as the good is the key to bringing joy and grace to your life. I can never say it as eloquently and clearly as Voskamp has, so my explanation should not deter anyone from reading One Thousand Gifts. She has a new Christmas book out this year titled The Greatest Gift. She also has a blog called A Holy Experience that regularly blows me away. I dream of having her insight and writing ability. See my previous post here. *Note: this is not the last you'll see of this book on my blog ;)

5. Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald, by Therese Anne Fowler - historical fiction.
With the new Great Gatsby movie out in 2013, fiction based on the lives of Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald the the Jazz Age in general has sky rocketed. With The Great Gatsby as one of my all time favorites, Fowler's researched account of Zelda was a must. What I love about this book is that it aims to tell the truth about the Fitgerald's relationship. See my previous post here.

6. Let's Pretend This Never Happened, by Jenny Lawson
Funny. Lawson's memoir is about trying to give her daughter a different childhood than the one she had with her taxidermy obsessed dad. But she find a herself repeatedly drawn back to the life she had growing up. I finished laughing...funny stories and a sense of belonging to a place.

7. The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas - fiction, classic.
Another great classic. Intimidating in size, but easy to read and follow. Dumas draws out stories of all characters and then brings their stories together in this story of revenge...revenge with impunity, as Edgar Allan Poe would say. See my previous post here.

8. Life After Life, by Kate Atkinson - fiction.
Probably the best page turner I read this year. People often think about the chance to go back and start over, make different choices. I was consistently interested in Ursula's lives and where each decision would take her...and how it would change when she started over. I highly recommend this one. See my previous post here.

9. The World's Strongest Librarian, by Josh Hanagarne - memoir.
Hanagarne's memoir is about his life dealing with Tourette's as well as the role his Mormon faith played in the past and present. Truly inspiring is the way in which Hanagarne challenges himself to take control and the humor with which he can look back upon his life. See my previous review here.

10. A Wilder Rose: Laura Ingalls Wilder, Rose Wilder Lane, and Their Little Houses, by Susan Witting Albert - historical fiction.
As a lifelong fan of The Little House on the Prairie books, I jumped at the chance to receive A Wilder Rose on NetGalley. Honestly, this book's appeal for me was the inside look at Laura Ingalls Wilder through her daughter Rose, neither of whom I read about past the last book in the Little House series. I loved it, but I'm sure a great deal of it was due to sentimental reasons. See my previous post here.


So that's 2013 in a nutshell. Overall it was great and I enjoyed immersing myself in the book blogging community. 2014 brings the Chunkster Challenge, a new reading goal on Goodreads, and more of my own choice reading. Bring it on 2014!

16 comments:

  1. Great selection! I've been wanting to read Anna Karenina for a long while, but I haven't got to it yet.

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    1. It's a good one and not a hard read either. Hope you get to it this year!

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  2. Jennine you are amazing. What a wonderful year this has been for you...you found your niche and what a niche it is. I will never be able to read ten percent of ten percent of the books you have read but because I read you, I know which ones to pick. Have a blessed holiday season my friend and may the new year help us all find our niches.

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    1. Thanks Carolynn! Here's to a Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year!

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  3. Great choices! I see quite a few books that are on my wishlist, including Anna K in 2014.

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    1. And AK would apply to your Chunkster Challenge!!!

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  4. History of the World sounds so interesting and unique! Maybe a pick-up-from-the-library kind of book.

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    1. Yes! Definitely that kind of book. I swapped it online, so got it for $3...but only because I wanted to put it on my classroom shelf. The students love it!

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  5. I need to read Anna Karenina and Life after Life! I am surprised that The Count of Monte Cristo is on your list, I LOVE that novel. It's by far my favourite classic :)

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    1. Yes, TBR 2014! I loved The Count of Monte Criso! Read it pretty quickly and it's definitely in my top three classics.

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  6. Good luck with your chunkster challenger next year. Hope you will enjoy them as much as you did these!

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    1. Thanks! I actually looked at the books on my TBR and found that many of them apply to the Chunkster Challenge, so I'm going to blow my measly goal of five chunksters way out of the water!

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  7. I need to pick up the Atkinson book and the Laura Ingalls Wilder one looks fascinating!

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    1. Yes! Try Life After Life for sure! And the Laura Ingalls Wilder book is best if you were a fan of the Little House books for sure. There's so much added info to those real life people who we all knew as characters really.

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  8. Great list! The only two I read were World’s Strongest Librarian and Z, both of which were fantastic and made my top list, too!

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    1. Well, then we know they HAVE to be amazing!

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