2013: Reading Year in Review

Happy New Year, EDIWTB readers! I hope you all have a wonderful 2014. I had a good 2013. Some changes on the job front, but otherwise things were pretty steady.


As far as reading, it was an OK year. I wasn’t blown away by a lot of what I read. Some of the books I chose didn’t live up to expectations based on reviews or prior books by the same author.  But I also read some debut fiction that I found pretty exciting. Maybe I am just pickier than I used to be? Grumpier? My resolution for 2014 is to be even more selective about what I read so that I don’t waste time with books I don’t love.

In terms of volume, unfortunately I didn’t match my recent watershed reading year of 2011, when I read 54 books. In 2012, I managed to get in 47 books, which I was happy about considering I had a baby and started a new job. In 2013, I hoped to split the difference and reach 50 books. I only made it to 49. So my goal for 2014 is once again to make it to 50.

[Once again, I know there are a lot of book bloggers out there reading this and saying, "50 books? Seriously?" I wish I read as fast as you all do!!]

Here are my standout reads from 2012:

Best debut novel goes to Elliott Holt’s You Are One of Them.

Most addictive read goes to The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison.

For the last two years, I have tracked the Depressing Themes of the books I read, and the lists have been impressive. Here are the depressing subjects covered by the books I read in 2013: facial disfigurement (twice), being a widower, 9/11, home invasion, death of a baby (twice), paraplegia, euthanasia, family dysfunction, AIDS, the entire plot of The Little Bride, the entire plot of Little Bee (UGH!), obesity (twice), adolescent friendship, dead best friends, early widowhood, dead sister, breast cancer, death by parasomnia, infertility, thwarted adoption, kids in jail/on drugs, killing people while on a lifeboat, and abandonment of child (back-to-back reads!).  Again, I say it: sheesh.

The breakdown:

  • 47 fiction, 2 non-fiction
  • 16 repeat authors during 2013: Ann Patchett, Elizabeth Strout, Jennifer Haigh, Curtis Sittenfeld, Lionel Shriver, Ian McEwan, Mark Haddon, Jennifer Close, J. Courtney Sullivan, Terry McMillan, Liane Moriarty, Jhumpa Lahiri, Maggie O’Farrell, Meg Wolitzer, Caroline Leavitt and Susanna Daniel.
  • 14 audiobooks
  • 9 male authors, 40 female author
  • Book that disappointed me most: Little Bee by Chris Cleave.

Here’s to a great year of reading in 2014! And let me know what your reading highlights were this year.  What was the best book you read in 2013?

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15 Comments

  • December 31, 2013 - 11:24 am | Permalink

    I’ve read 2 of those books and they both made my best of list too. I have most of the other books and need to find the time to read them. Happy New Year!

    • gayle
      January 1, 2014 - 10:10 pm | Permalink

      Happy new year to you, Kathy!

  • December 31, 2013 - 3:58 pm | Permalink

    Looking forward to Interesting and Longbourn.

    • gayle
      January 1, 2014 - 10:10 pm | Permalink

      I think you will enjoy both.

  • December 31, 2013 - 8:45 pm | Permalink

    I really need to read The Interestings. I’ve loved two of her other books. I always love your depressing topics list too. This week (after I finished Tampa, which I adored!) my husband commented that I really like fiction about sexually deviant people (a departure from his normal amazement about the depressing things I read. Cheers to reaching 50 next year!

    • gayle
      January 1, 2014 - 10:09 pm | Permalink

      Love it, Carrie. We are reading soulmates!

  • December 31, 2013 - 10:29 pm | Permalink

    I only read 34 books this year. I need more time for pleasure reading! :)

    I really need to read Me Before You and Tampa in 2014.

    I tend to read books with depressing themes too.

    • gayle
      January 1, 2014 - 10:09 pm | Permalink

      34 is not bad at all! Life gets in the way of reading.

  • January 1, 2014 - 7:20 am | Permalink

    I too loved Longbourn — maybe the most surprising book to have made it to my best-of lists.

    • gayle
      January 1, 2014 - 10:09 pm | Permalink

      I agree – I didn’t expect to like it so much either!

  • January 2, 2014 - 11:17 am | Permalink

    I am so impressed that you were able to read 49 books. With a full-time job and a family to care for and be with, getting time to read must be tough. I’ve only read the Three Junes by Julia Glass, a great book. But I’ve read a couple other books by Lionel Shriver and would like to read Big Brother. I think her books are compelling, very interesting and provide a lot to think about. I’d also like to read The Interestings. I read Meg Wolitzer’s last book, The Uncoupling, which I thought was okay but not as good as I expected it to be. It was a little weird and disconnected (just my op.!)

    I love your posts and look forward to your 2014 book reviews. I hope you had a great holiday, a Merry Christmas and Best Wishes for a wonderful year.

    • gayle
      January 2, 2014 - 3:04 pm | Permalink

      Thank you so much for the sweet comments! I just wish I read faster. :) I think you’ll like Big Brother, tho it’s not as good as Kevin or Post-Birthday World. And The Interestings is much better than The Uncoupling – I agree with you on that one! Thank you for the comment and happy 2014!

  • Miriam Boots
    January 3, 2014 - 12:23 pm | Permalink

    Gayle-
    My book of 2013 was Longbourn by Jo Baker and I loved doing the online bookclub with you and others. Let us know when the next one will be but that will be a tough one to top!!!
    50 is a good goal for me too- I too wish I read faster but we read the speed we read and for some of us, it gives us more time to enjoy the good books. Also liked Someone Else’s Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson. I love your blog.
    You are amazing and we all need to stop being so hard on ourselves and give ourselves positive strokes!!!!

    • gayle
      January 3, 2014 - 10:28 pm | Permalink

      Thanks so much Miriam! I am so glad you’re still reading and following my blog. :)

  • January 8, 2014 - 9:48 am | Permalink

    The only book from your list of favourites that I’ve read is Tampa – which also made it onto my list. Most of the others are on my radar (or even my TBR pile)but Elliot Holt is new to me *heads off to look him up* Have a wonderful 2014!

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