Christmas is a week away, which really blows my mind.  It’s so hard to believe another year has vanished right before my eyes.  I was thinking about it at work today as I zoned out in Dino Hall, trying to sum up the things that have happened in the past 12 months, what I’ve learned, how I’ve changed.  I decided I’m too wordy to put it all neatly in one blog post, so I’m going to split it up into pieces to see where I’ve come from and where I’ve ended up at this point.  So we’ll call this first one:

2013 In Books

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In 2012 I read 88 books, which is a lot.  If you look back in my posts from January I wrote about my favorite fiction and non-fiction books.  Somewhere, on Facebook maybe?  I set some goals for this year…for the life of me I can not find it on there, but I do remember setting the goal of reading 100 books this year.  Well.  Didn’t quite get there.  It was a kind of tough year for me, book-wise.  I hit a lot of ruts, had a lot more books that I was just “Meh” about, at least a few that I started but failed to finish (which almost NEVER happens).  I had a lot of weeks where I just didn’t feel like reading at all.  But, I did still read 70 books this year, and the good ones were good.  Deliciously so.  I’m not going to split it up, just give you a quick summation of my favorites:

1) “Help, Thanks, Wow” by Anne Lamott.  Tiny little book with beautiful, profound spiritual thoughts.  I don’t like to buy a lot of books but this one is definitely one for my shelf.  Between her and Rachel Held Evans and Glennon Melton I swear someone is snatching thoughts right out of my head.

2) “The Beginner’s Goodbye” by Anne Tyler.  Sweet fiction story about a man who suddenly loses his wife and then thinks he is seeing her everywhere.

3) “The Age of Miracles” by Karen Thompson Walker.  This book was a miracle.  

4) “Does Jesus Really Love Me?” by Jeff Chu.  A gay Christian, Jeff travels the country and examines the entire spectrum of beliefs about gays and Christianity, from Westboro Baptist Church to a virtually all-gay congregation in Vegas and everything in between.  Challenging, eye-opening, heartbreaking.

5) “The Silver Star” by Jeannette Walls.  Wonderful fiction about two sisters growing up with a mostly-absent mother, dealing with various crises together and bringing a family back together at the same time.

6) “Carry On, Warrior” by Glennon Melton.  This book is to die for.  Literally.  I read it and feel like my heart has been ripped out and thrown on the page and I mean that in the very best way.  

7) “Red Ruby Heart in a Cold Blue Sea” by Morgan Callan Rogers.  Beautiful work of fiction, about a girl growing up in Maine after her mom just disappears.

8) “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn.  While I absolutely HATED the ending, this book kept me guessing and on the edge of my seat the entire time.  Talk about a page-turner!! This book was absolutely nuts.  

9) “Half of a Yellow Sun” by Chimamanda Adichie.  Adichie is one of the hot up and coming authors being talked about.  She writes about Africa which I love…this one is fiction about the Biafran War in Nigeria in the 60’s.  Don’t know much about that?  Neither did I.  Really got the historian in my psyched up.  And the characters, my goodness.  I was so sad when it ended.  I wanted to keep living in their lives.

10) “Americanah” by Chimamanda Adichie.  Another great book about Nigeria and America, about race and culture and class and love…wonderful story.

11) “The Bone Season” by Samantha Shannon.  Wow, this book, I hadn’t heard of it but Bill had and thought I might like it…it’s kind of like Hunger Games and Twilight and apocalypse and dystopia and all sorts of clairvoyant stuff that I had NO idea what she was talking about but it was totally fascinating and I could not put it down.  Apparently going to be a series of 7 books and THAT is exciting.  She’s a young author with an amazing vision. (don’t let the Twilight reference dissuade you…it’s much more grown up than that fluffy goo.)

And of course I read the new No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency book and was delighted as usual.

It was a good year for books, in spite of the walls I hit.  Since I’m starting grad school this spring I’m guessing my reading will continue to drop off, at least for a little bit.  Anyway, more shortly as I delve deeper into my year…

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