A little belated, but here it is: my review of my reading/literary highlights of 2013, as a follow up to my prior posts of 2011 and 2012.
As already noted, I have a lot of left over unfinished reading from 2013 that I’m hoping that I will finish this January.
As usual, thank you, Brooklyn Public Library and New York Public Library for allowing me to borrow ebooks and regular books from you! (I made my year-end donations awhile ago; hope you all did the same in time for your public library systems).
In 2013, I read a total of 63 books, which is almost the least since I’ve started keeping track of the books I’ve read since 2009 (excepting 2009 itself, since I started the list late in that year and couldn’t reconstruct what I was reading earlier that year).
I was hoping to read 75 books in 2013, because I didn’t hit that number in 2012. But, life had a way of getting to me first, and so like in 2012, the magic number of 75 books didn’t happen. I could blame my slower reading on my shorter commute, but I don’t know. 2013 was arguably a better year for me than 2012, but for various personal reasons that are not relevant here, I can’t quite say that. Well, here’s hoping that 2014 will be a far, far better year.
In no particular order, regarding my personal reading/literary highlights:
1. Breakdowns. Of the 63 books, 17 were ebooks; 48 were fiction, 13 non-fiction, 2 poetry. I’ll post the list, but it came down to the following: other than the 2 poetry books, there were 7 mystery/thriller/espionage; 3 comedy/parody; 10 romance; 7 books on writing; 11 comics compilations/graphic novels; 3 plays; 2 sci-fi/fantasy; 4 literary criticism type books; 3 literary fiction (one of which was Raymond Carver anthology); 1 politics/law (Jeffrey Toobin’s The Oath); 1 history; 2 literary historical fiction; 6 children’s lit; and 1 miscellaneous (I’m not sure where/how to categorize William Goldman’s The Princess Bride, the book that inspired the movie).
2. I really tried to read to catch up with my book club, rather than totally bypassing missed readings as in the past. That turned out to be better than I expected, since I ended up really enjoying Barry Unsworth’s The Quality of Mercy and Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall. I’m going to have to miss this January 2014’s meeting, where we’re going to discuss Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers, but I might just read it anyway to make up for the dearth of sci-fi/fantasy in my reading diet.
3. I really want to read more Star Trek books again – only one in 2013 was read, but… well, we shall see.
4. I binged on reading a bunch of writing books, since I had collected a bunch of ebooks on writing when Writer’s Digest had a great deal for NaNoWriMo a couple of years ago. I’m not sure if reading the writing books helped my fiction writing at all this year, but at least I tried to read more on writing.
5. Buying books at the independent stores – I’ve been trying to be more of a real supporter of other sources of books. Purchases in 2013 were made at Strand and Book Court, even if I did continue buying from Barnes and Noble and Amazon.
6. Finally read Herman Melville’s Bartleby the Scrivener. I might have to read it again in 2014 – what a read, and I still can’t quite digest how I felt about it (I mean that in a good way – the kind of reading where the food for thought just keeps going).
7. Brooklyn Book Festival! I never did get around to writing up a post on that, but I had attended two panels and bought at least three books. Gene Luen Yang signed my copy of his book Boxers at the Brooklyn Book Festival!
8. It’s sad that we’ve lost quite a lot of great authors, i.e., those who passed away, in 2013, like Elmore Leonard (my post here) or Barbara Mertz (a.k.a. Elizabeth Peters) (my post here). But, books – we still have their books.
9. I had attended the New York Public Library’s exhibit on children’s literature, “The ABC of It: Why Children’s Books Matter.” (now still going on through 3/23/14). Such a terrific exhibit – I highly recommend it. I read some of the children’s books at the exhibit – there is something to be said about the simplicity and richness of writers of children’s literature – and that made me pore through a couple more thereafter elsewhere.
10. I’m still into my favorites – Eloisa James and Batman. But, thanks to venturing into reading Gene Luen Yang, I might get into more graphic novels. Re-reading Colin Dexter’s The Wench is Dead was more fun than I expected, but I couldn’t get myself to read Dexter’s The Remorseful Day, even though I bought a copy in 2013 – it is the last Inspector Morse book, i.e., the death of Morse (not the spoiler; the spoiler is the murder case itself, but still: the last Morse book, even though the beauty of books is that we can keep re-reading and reviving our favorite characters).
On a last but not least item of note, which I’ll note again elsewhere (my television review post, likely): Ken Tucker moved on from Entertainment Weekly, both on the tv blog and in the dead tree magazine since 2/13, but he was a great read. I missed reading his writings on television stuff in 2013.
I’ll probably still put up a post or two from the more recent reads from December 2013. Otherwise, here is a compilation of my 2013 posts on reading/literary ventures (or you could click for the reading or lit tags on my tumblr):
First Readings of the Year 2013 (Agatha Christie and… Stephen Colbert).
A consideration on the Coverage on the Poet Ricardo Blanco, who gave a reading of his poem on the occasion of the 2nd Obama inauguration back in January 2013. (I’m noting it because I really liked that poem).
My take on having read Jeffrey Toobin’s The Oath, his sequel to his prior book, The Nine.
My take on half-way through reading Shakespeare’s Othello.
I’ll throw in this reblogged post on Kafka, since that’s where I had added my opinion on having read Kafka’sThe Castle.
My summer reading of 2013, to whatever extent.
My take on reading Agatha Christie’s Mrs. McGinty is Dead.
My post on Jane Austen’s birthday – and the already slow reading of Northanger Abbey.
My Christmas reading of 2013 (which is now going to be carried over into 2014; I read ebooks so slow, and how I just put down my ereader and just not properly get through an ebook; it’s kind of embarrassing).