2013 in Books

Well, another year has come and gone. I admit, it wasn’t a great year for reading. Actually, since I began keeping track of books in 2008, it’s been my worst year in reading. I’ve had other really bad years – 2010 comes to mind – but there’s one big difference between then and now. In 2010, I had lots of really, really terrible books on my list, but a few really fantastic ones, too. This year, I’ve had very few really terrible books, but absolutely no great books that weren’t rereads. Not a single so-fantastic-it-bested-my-list books. Every single one of my “best of” list this year is a reread. Sigh.

So let me start this end-of-year summary with The Perpetual Time Turner’s survey again this year. Survey first, then I’m skipping my Best Of Books section (since they’re all rereads this year), then my stats for the year. Here goes:


Note: As I fill out this survey, I will not include rereads in any of my answers unless specifically noted.


1. Best Book You Read In 2013? (If you have to cheat — you can break it down by genre if you want or 2013 release vs. backlist)
Sadly, all my best books this year were rereads of old favorites – Shadow and Bone, Jane Eyre, The Night Circus, Mistborn: The Final Empire, Howl’s Moving Castle, The Bell Jar…etc. Other than rereads, however, I don’t really know if I had a “favorite” book. These are the contenders, though, for second-best:

– City of Dark Magic: This one wasn’t perfect, but it was fun, it taught me a lot about certain types of writing, and I loved it enough to both reread and buy. It’s one of the very few books of the year that actually stuck with me all year.

– The Golem and the Jinni: Amazingly well-written book, poignant and beautiful. The only reason this doesn’t make the best-of-best list is because despite its amazingness, it didn’t really stick in my head and make me ponder it for months on end.

– Steelheart: A fantastic book by Brandon Sanderson, but like The Golem and the Jinni, it didn’t really stick.

– Les Miserables: I was surprised how much I loved this one, but it did have a tendency towards boring in a few places, so it won’t go on the love-it-forever list.

– Siege and Storm: Not quite as good as Shadow and Bone, and it had some pacing problems and some other issues (like lack of Darkling), but still fairly good and definitely one of the top five non-rereads.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
The Madness Underneath (just got weird and not so great…) and The Rithmatist (felt more middle grade than YA)

3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2013?
Les Miserables. I expected to hate every moment of that book and didn’t know if I’d make it through, but besides a few politics-oriented bits, I actually really enjoyed it.

4. Book you read in 2013 that you recommended to people most in 2013?
I almost wish I could say I read Shadow and Bone in January, because that would definitely be it, but I read it the last week of December 2012…hmm. I don’t believe there is any book I read in 2013 that I particularly recommended. When people mentioned City of Dark Magic and The Golem and the Jinni, I did say “Yeah those were good,” but I didn’t go out of my way to recommend them, either.

5. Best series you discovered in 2013?
Well, I didn’t really read any completely fantastic series this year, but the Soulless series was pretty fun.

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2013?
I read a lot of books by authors I already knew this year, so I didn’t discover too many people. I really liked both books I read by Magnus Flyte, so maybe that counts?

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?
I didn’t read a lot of books out of my comfort zone this year, but I would say it’s probably a tie between The Chopin Manuscript (thriller) and The Cuckoo’s Calling (detective).

8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2013?
It’s a reread, but The Night Circus tops this category in 2013. I meant to read it to my kids, but after a couple chapters, I couldn’t stop until I was done. And this was my third year in a row reading it!

9. Book You Read In 2013 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
Siege and Storm. I think that’s the only non-reread book of this year I can imagine rereading.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2013?

daughter 15944406

17339241 leah-lin_book-cover-les-miserables

11. Most memorable character in 2013?

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2013?
The Golem and the Jinni.

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2013?
I’m not sure any book really had a great impact on me, but I do know MWF Seeking BFF has stuck with me and made me think a lot about friendship.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2013 to finally read?
Les Miserables. I was so afraid of this book and I really shouldn’t have been!

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2013?
Skipping this question – I never remember quotes!

16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2013?
Longest Book: Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson (643 pgs)
Shortest Book: Kid Cyclone Fights the Devil by Xavier Garza (87 pages)
Longest Audio: Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (60 hrs)
Shortest Audio: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (4 hrs)

17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers!
The Uninvited was pretty much nothing but WTF moments…then there was the Big Reveal in We Are All Completely Besides Ourselves…and of course, all the sex scenes in City of Dark Magic were delicious!

18. Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2013 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).
Friendship/love – Sturmhond and Alina, or the Golem and the Jinni. Sexy – Sarah and Max from City of Dark Magic.

19. Favorite Book You Read in 2013 From An Author You’ve Read Previously
Hmm, probably Steelheart, or Broken Harbor, or Scarlet.

20. Best Book You Read In 2013 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else:
Probably either MWF Seeking BFF (recommended by Jill) or Anansi Boys (recommended by Karen)

21. Genre You Read The Most From in 2013?

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2013?
Hmm, difficult. I didn’t really have any new crushes this year. If I had to choose one, it’s probably Sturmhond – though I still like the Darkling more!

23. Best 2013 debut you read?
City of Dark Magic.

24. Most vivid world/imagery in a book you read in 2013?
The boat-house neighborhood from He’s Gone, and the old run-down half-built town of Broken Harbor.

25. Book That Was The Most Fun To Read in 2013?
Siege and Storm, and The Rithmatist – because Jason and I read both of those two aloud to the boys.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2013?
Never got close to crying at a book in 2013…sad!

27. Book You Read in 2013 That You Think Got Overlooked This Year Or When It Came Out?
Not sure. I do think more people should read Leigh Bardugo’s books though. 😀


1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2013 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2014?
I have absolutely no books waiting on me to read in 2014.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2014 (non-debut)?
Oh gosh. I have a ton of books I am anticipating, all sequels or new books by authors I love! Most anticipating, though, has got to be Ruin and Rising!!!

3. 2014 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
I actually don’t know any 2014 debuts…

4. Series Ending You Are Most Anticipating in 2014?
Several! The end of the Grisha series, obviously, and then the end of the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy, and the end of the Mara Dyer series, and hopefully the end of the Shades of London series…

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2014?
I would love love love to have more FANTASTIC books, and fewer just meh, barely-remember sorts of books. I’m also hoping to keep my reading under 52 books in the upcoming year.

So…I’m skipping my Best Of Books section this year, because everything on it is a reread, and instead, will leave this post with my book stats of the year:

Total books: 75
New reads: 67
Rereads: 8

Yeah. I didn’t reread a lot, but the good thing is that of my eight rereads, I loved seven of them!

Novels/Novellas: 62
–Speculative: 43
–Realistic: 19
Nonfiction: 12
Collections/Anthologies: 1
Plays: 0
Poetry: 0

Ha. I’m not even sure it’s worth having the collections, plays, and poetry section up there…the nonfiction percentage is quite high this year, though – 16%.

Text/E-text: 54
Graphic/Photo/Art: 1
Audio: 20

Same thing – a graphic/art section is barely worth it anymore! Love that my audio was nearly a third of this year’s reading! Higher than in any previous year!

Classics: 6
Contemporary: 69

Just wasn’t in a classics mood this year. Second year in a row, actually.

Adult: 44
YA: 27
Children’s: 4

Yep, this is about standard now…

By men: 24
By women: 50
By both: 1

I really have started to read a lot more women over the last few years. I’m okay with that.

Chunksters (450+ pages): 10
In translation: 5
Languages: French (2), Middle English (1), Spanish (2)

Hmm. My chunksters went down by half this year, despite reading a lot more fantasy. Interesting. My translations have stayed about the same since I stopped forcing myself to read books to hit a specific quota.

Most read authors: Gail Carriger (5), Brandon Sanderson (4) – I read no other authors more than twice this year. This is the first year since 2005 that I haven’t read the Harry Potter series.

Best Book-related Discovery: Well, my answer this year is a bit hard. I didn’t really learn or discover anything wonderful this year. However, I do think I have a good book-related discovery: Reading good-enough books just doesn’t cut it! I read plenty of okay books this year, books that were “good enough” to keep reading, but just didn’t make an impression on me in the end. I didn’t give them up, because there was no point of giving them up – they were good. They just weren’t great. And you know, this is fine…sometimes. But nearly every book I read this year was just okay. Good enough, but not particularly memorable. As I look back over the 75 books I read this year, discounting the rereads, very few stand out. I barely remember the rest. Part of that might be my mindframe this year, but part of it is also that I just kept reading books that were good enough to keep reading, but not really demanding my time and attention. And I don’t see a point to continuing to read in that vein. For the last few years, I’ve stopped forcing myself to read to fit specific goals, and have just read haphazardly. I thought I’d be happier that way, and certainly, I’m less stressed. But I think the big thing I learned this year is that I don’t always feel like reading, and it’s okay to go long periods of time reading nothing, instead of grabbing what’s sitting around and “good enough” just to have something to read. In 2014, I definitely want to be better at giving up books that aren’t really doing anything for me, even if they are “good enough.”

About Amanda

Agender empty-nester filling my time with cats, books, fitness, and photography. She/they.
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1 Response to 2013 in Books

  1. Pingback: Over the last decade… | The Zen Leaf

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