2013 was an amazing year of reading for me. I read 121 books; 94 authors. On New Year’s Eve my sisters, who read stacks of books themselves, asked for an infographic of my list and no doubt that would have been easier to read than this rambling and rather random review…..
I attended 5 Author Talks: Seth Kantner, Eowyn Ivey, Linda Sue Park, Tom Kizzia and Sherry Simpson. I also participated in a writing workshop presented by Linda Sue Park
I read 4 books because I heard the authors interviewed in the OnBeing podcast – two are listed at the bottom of this post as the books I’m most glad to have read.
Very coincidentally, I read the nonfiction book Provenance: How a Con Man and a Forger Rewrote the History of Modern Art right before I read The Art Forger: A Novel, a fictional account of a very similar topic.
The book I worked hardest to finish was Barbara Kingsolver’s Flight Behavior. I’m a longtime Kingsolver fan, but not this time.
I read The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer and then ran across a copy of her middle grade book, the fingertips of Duncan Dorfman and really enjoyed that as well.
I read 13 Alaskan Authors – though not all are currently living in Alaska.
I read 39 books aloud to my boys this year. (David read through the Narnia series with them and they are currently working on the Lord of the Rings series. Not to mention all the other books they read or listened to 2013 – my boys have significant lists themselves!)
Reading Eowyn Ivey’s The Snow Child inspired our family to participate and create the winning snow child in the library’s Anchorage Reads event.
Looking back it’s obvious that reading nearly 40 books aloud to my boys was HUGE. We homeschool. This works for us. If we didn’t make time for this would I have replaced it with 40 books of my own? Perhaps. But it doesn’t really matter. I am very glad to have read the books I read aloud. I am ALWAYS happy to read Beverly Cleary books again and though I wasn’t eager to read the Little House books. (Many of my sentiments are found here.) I ultimately enjoyed reconnecting with the first big reads of my childhood. (I remember reading Farmer Boy when I was recovering from my tonsillectomy in kindergarten.)
The boys got to meet Linda Sue Park at a Library talk this summer. This was a fantastic experience for them. They both report A Long Walk To Water as their favorite book (apparently WaterAfrica is embedded in their sensibilities) and then Ethan recommends Kite Fighters while Ryan preferred A Single Shard. But I put in a vote for Keeping Score. Several times I fought back tears while reading these books aloud.
Steve Sheinkin’s books are excellent history come alive and I look forward to reading his future work!! We passed Bomb: The Race to Build – and Steal – the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon around the Hosler Book Club.
We all three thoroughly enjoyed Diana Wynne Jones’ very smart Howl’s Moving Castle Trilogy and the boys now have hard copies and audible copies for what appears to be an enormous amount of rereading pleasure.
Another reading highlight was Colony Kids: Adventures of the First Year in Alaska. We got to bring this piece of historical fiction to life in November with a tour of the Colony House Museum in Palmer. Our museum docents were actually Colony Kids who moved with their families to Alaska as part of Roosevelt’s New Deal.
I really liked both Rebecca Stead books. I read one to the boys and another on my own.
The YA novel, The Fault in Our Stars, particularly stuck with me and I talked David into reading it so I could discuss. If my emotional self can manage, I look forward to seeing its adaptation to the big screen. I followed John Green’s twitter feed during the filming and believe it will be worthy of book-to-movie viewing (unlike the Hobbit!!!)
My Top 10 Picks: Two books I am most glad to have read this year:
My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer – Christian Wiman
Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion – Fr. Gregory Boyd
Meanwhile, I’m nearly a week into 2014 and I HAVEN’T FINISHED A BOOK!!