A Year in Books

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It just occurred to me that I should take stock of the books I read last year in 2013. After the final tally, I was shocked to realize that I read 20 new books and I re-read 10 old books. That makes a grand total of 30 books.

All I have to say is thank goodness for free library audiobooks. If you don’t know how to access audiobooks from your public library, click here.

New Books I Read for the First Time

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
Finished: January
Grade: A+
Could not put this one down. A total swashbuckler!

The Lost Gate by Orson Scott Card
Finished: January
Grade: B-
So-so sci-fi story. Part of a series that I won’t be continuing.

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
Finished: March
Grade: Solid A
Good for people who are frequently embarrassed by those around them.

The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
Finished: March
Grade: A+
Loved it. Heartbreaking portrayal of how one traditional Chinese man’s morality declines as his standard of living rises.

Enchantment by Orson Scott Card
Finished: April
Grade: B-
Modern re-imagining of Sleeping Beauty. Just an OK read. The best part is Card’s research into 9th century Russian myth.

Swamplandia! by Karen Russell
Finished: April
Grade: A
Gorgeous writing! But one particular plot twist left me traumatized. About a young girl whose family owns an alligator amusement park in the Florida keys.

Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller
Finished May
Grade: B+
Self-deprecating and humorous Christian bildungsroman.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Finished: May
Grade: B-
Not nearly as good as I thought it would be. Starts strong, but the plotline loses steam about 3/4 of the way through.

Arcadia by Tom Stoppard
Finished: June
Grade: A+
Who doesn’t love this play?

All My Sons by Arthur Miller
Finished June
Grade: A
A tear-jerker with a classic Millerian ending. Do not read if contemplating suicide.

Candida by George Bernard Shaw
Finished: July
Grade: A
A good laugh! But the joke is ultimately on the institution of marriage.

The Constant Wife by W. Somerset Maugham
Finished: July
Grade: B
Wonderfully written and highly entertaining but sooooo heartless and cynical.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Finished: August
Grade: A+
Everyone should have to read this book to graduate from life!

The Member of the Wedding by Carson McCullers
Finished: August
Grade: C
Not my style. I love dramas about poor, ordinary people in the mid-century rural south, but the main character just really annoyed me.

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Finished: August
Grade: B+
Not as mind-bending and kick-butt as the movies suggest, but it’s worth it just to witness Holmes’ logic first-hand.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
Finished: September
Grade: A
Exceeded my expectations. Post-WWII epistolary novel with an awesome heroine that is totally clueless about love.

A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen
Finished: September
Grade: B+
I wanted to punch Nora in the face the whole time. Even at the end she still bugged me.

The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells
Finished: September
Grade: A-
I listened to a very nicely done dramatic reading by LA Theater Works.

Fallen by Lauren Kate
Finished: October
Grade: C
Read this on the recommendation of a 16-year-old girl. Isn’t there a limited space in this world for teenage hormone-crazed supernatural love stories?

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom
Finished: October
Grade: A+
I’m being serious, guys. This one will change your perspective on life.

Books I Re-read

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Finished: August
Grade: A+
Moral dissipation! Full of classic one-liners.

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Finished: November
Grade: A+
A totally luscious mystery and beautiful story of second chances

Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery
Finished: November
Grade: A+
I could probably read this one once per year and it wouldn’t be enough.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Finished: October

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Finished: October

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Finished: November

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Finished: November

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Finished: November

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Finished: December

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
(Technically I finished Jan. 9)

I’m giving the entire HP series an A+ grade. I mean, really. They’re already classics. I wouldn’t dedicate the entire fourth quarter of 2013 to any series rating less than an A+ in my book.

Let’s connect on Goodreads and see if we like the same stuff.

QUESTION OF THE DAY

What was the best book you read last year?

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