Saturday, January 4, 2014

2013 wrap up

I don't know why I haven't done a quick wrap up in the past.  This blog is basically now just a log of the books I finish reading during the year.  I am not sure that it will be anything more than that in the coming year, although a few extra posts of other stuff would probably be good.

I was looking back at the numbers of books I have read the last few years.  My log starts in 1997 with 6 books, 1998-15 books, 1999-18 books, 2000-15 books, 2001-18 books, 2002-8 books, 2003-10 books,  2004-9 books, 2005-6 books, 2006-12 books, 2007-16 books, 2008-30 books, 2009-81 books, 2010-87 books, 2011-75 books, 2012-70 books and 2013-67 books.  Just from looking at that, it was sometime in 2008 when I started reading multiple books at a time.  Before that I was strictly a one book at a time reader, if that book was slow or boring I just had to tough it out.  Kind of funny seeing it put down like that.

2013 was a different kind of year for my reading, I didn't really go back and re-read any of my favorite Russian novels.  I read both Tim Allen books, not sure why though but one was good & one was very much not good from what I remember.  I finally read Enemy at the Gates about Stalingrad and even after reading it and remembering the movie it is hard to grasp the reality of that battle or front of war.

My non-fiction read of the year probably has to go to Queen of the Oil Club, a really good read about a fascinating person that I had never heard of before reading the book.  The runner-up would have to be Passion & Principle about John & Jesse Fremont, I had heard of John Fremont but didn't really know much about him before reading the book and had no idea about his equal & wife Jesse.

My fiction read of the year, in a tough decision, is Miss Morissa by Mari Sandoz.  This is only the 2nd book I have read by Mari Sandoz & her Old Jules is one of my all time favorites.  Miss Morissa while not rating that high is a very good book.  I read two books in Mark Greaney's Gray Man series and really enjoyed them from an action entertainment point of view.  I also really liked Anonymous Sources by Mary Louise Kelly with a seemingly fresh type of action book--a female news reporter instead of the ex-spy, army guy type that many books have.  But as far as runner up in fiction this year I think it has to go to Winslow in Love by Kevin Canty.  I liked the book because it got into the frailties and insecurities of a writer who had seen his best days & was just plain old struggling with life.  Not an exciting read but one that does stay with you.

When I first glanced through my books read list, yes I keep a paper copy list not just here on the blog, I didn't see much I liked.  The more I looked though the list seemingly got better and better.  A couple disappointments though need to be pointed out.  The Land of Painted Caves, the last in Jean Auel's series was a real disappointment--I really liked all of the earlier books but this one just seemed too repetitive and just not inspired.  The Twelve, the 2nd in a trilogy by Justin Cronin wasn't bad but struggled to live up to the first and makes me wary of the 3rd.  The Big Bounce an Elmore Leonard book from the '60s wasn't very good and also makes me wary although I have read others by him that were much better so I am sure I will try another of his.  Finally, The View from Mount Joy by Lorna Landvik wasn't up to my expectations.  I really liked Your Oasis on Flame Lake and enjoyed Welcome to the Great Mysterious and Mount Joy just didn't reach that.  I have other books by her & will read more.

Overall a good year of reading.  As far as 2014, my reading will continue as it has with several books being read at a time and not really having much rhyme or reason going into which books are getting read.  I do try to have at least one non-fiction going and one fiction going beyond that not much planning.

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