What I’ve Read in 2013

My favorite book of 2013: The Time Traveler's WifeYeah, yeah, yeah: Last year I read 137 books. What have I done lately?

In January 2013 I managed to read 14 books. If I keep up that pace I’ll be reading 168 books this year. So whatever I learned last year and poured into my booklet 137 Books in One Year, it works.

Reading what you love is still great advice. The books I loved last month I flew through. One was 766 pages, but I read it in a few days. If you love it, the length doesn’t matter (the opposite is also true: The 550-page The Book Thief took me about a week because I didn’t love it).

Finding good books is important. A lot of my favorites this month were suggestions from Adam Shields (who I interviewed in 137 Books in One Year). I also stuck to favorite authors (Anne Lamott, Madeleine L’Engle, John Scalzi, David Levithan) and favorite genres (space-focused sci-fi, post-apocalyptic sci-fi).

Libraries are awesome. Ten of 14 books came from the library. And eight of those I requested. Learn how to use your library to get the most out of it.

Here are my favorite reads from the past month:

  • The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger – A time traveling love story sounds nerdy, but it’s head- and heart-spinning. A celebration of love against all challenges, even time. It’s likely this will be my favorite book of 2013 (yes, a bold claim to make on February 4, but I’ll bet it easily makes the top 5, if not the top spot).
  • The Passage by Justin Cronin – A post- (and pre-) apocalyptic vampire novel that’s told in incredible detail (adding up to an overwhelming 766 pages). It was thrilling and suspenseful, addicting like a Stephen King novel (though not quite as bloody). It took a little bit to get used to the intricate prose, which often gave way more detail than necessary, but it also jumped around and kept the plot moving.
  • Old Man’s War by John Scalzi – This one takes the premise of Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers, inserts old people as the soldiers and runs with it. A fun idea and thoroughly enjoyable.
  • Redshirts by John Scalzi – An entire novel based on what happens when the expendable “Redshirts” of the original Star Trek TV series figure out how expendable they are. The set up alone is worth a mention here. The follow through isn’t bad.
  • Help Thanks Wow: The Three Essential Prayers by Anne Lamott – This trippy Jesus follower breaks down prayer in a way that only she could. Short, sweet and a nice kick in the pants. Plus, it avoids some of her neurosis that can get a little old.
  • Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art by Madeleine L’Engle -Finally, I gave a re-read to one of my favorite books. Such a great exploration of faith and child-like wonder and how an artist creates and what it means to be a person of faith creating stuff (of course she’s a little more eloquent than that).

Be sure to grab your copy of 137 Books in One Year: How to Fall in Love With Reading. (Insider tip: It’ll be free Feb. 5-7!)

Here’s the full list for January 2013:

  1. Help Thanks Wow: The Three Essential Prayers by Anne Lamott
  2. Many Waters by Madeleine L’Engle
  3. The Arm of the Starfish by Madeleine L’Engle
  4. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
  5. Old Man’s War by John Scalzi
  6. Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan
  7. Boneshaker by Cherie Priest
  8. Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art by Madeleine L’Engle
  9. Feed by M.T. Anderson
  10. Divergent by Veronica Roth
  11. The Passage by Justin Cronin
  12. Redshirts by John Scalzi
  13. First Day on Earth by Cecil Castellucci
  14. Every You, Every Me by David Levithan

What have your read lately?

3 thoughts on “What I’ve Read in 2013”

  1. Keep it up. My favorite in January were the Wrinkle in Time Graphic novel, Free of Charge by Miroslov Volf (I read that in Dec and Jan it is on the dense side, but very good book on the relationship between giving and forgiveness), End of Sexual Identity (on how we as a culture has changed sexuality to identity, and a Little Book for New Theologians (great little book full of advice for seminary students, pastors and lay leaders on how to keep yourself grounded and focused on what theology is about).

  2. I’m impressed by the meaty nonfiction books you’re able to get through. I wish I could attack those like I do fiction, but it’s just not there for me. Oh well.

    I also started reading a book on my iPhone today. I could get used to this. ;-)

  3. I just finished Ishmael. It was horrible on every level. Personally, I like to read a few books at the same time. I’m not always in the mood for one particular genre or category of book, so having a few on hand keeps me interested in all of them.

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