Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013: In Summary

2013 has had its ups and downs but my reading life was almost all wonderful. Here are some stats from this year --

I read 104 books totaling almost 30,000 pages, just behind last year's total on pages but strangely the exact same number of books.

50 books were from my TBR and 12 were rereads from my shelves. This means that 60 percent of my reading was with my own books and that's exactly where I wanted to be.

23 books were from the library, including 3 audiobooks and 3 e-books. This was a big improvement and I've had fun branching into other mediums. (I read three other non-library e-books too.)

I only read 13 review copies this year which is shockingly low but completely in line with my new choosiness. I still have a small stack to get to though so I need to be just a bit better about accepting review copies and ARCs.

I also only read 4 books in translation which I'm a bit sad about -- one Spanish, one German, one Japanese and one French. My English books were from the US, UK, Canada and Australia.

I read 33+ new-to-me authors (not sure how many more there would be from story collections).

I read 6 non-fiction books this year, two better than last year.

The oldest book I read was Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens from 1837.

I read 8 chunksters (near or over 500 pages), with Rumo & His Miraculous Adventures being the longest at 688 pages.

Now on to my favorite reads of the year --

(shameless excuse to post a picture of Neil smiling at me -- we're bffs now)
Likely to Be Reread the Most Times in My Life
I'm going to have to call this a tie between
The Ocean at the End of the Lane - Neil Gaiman
The Night Circus - Erin Morgenstern

Title Length is Directly Proportional to Enjoyment Level
Another tie between Catherynne Valente and, well, Cat Valente!
The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There
The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two (hopefully finishing today)

Best of the Georgette Heyer Mysteries That I've Read So Far
(8 total)
Footsteps in the Dark

Best Bedtime Stories
(these are ones I read with Z that we both enjoyed)
Horten's Incredible Illusions - Lissa Evans
Ozma of Oz - L. Frank Baum
Cosmic - Frank Cottrell Boyce
Fortunately, The Milk - Neil Gaiman

Short Story Collections Worth Reading
(more than one, of course)
Impossible Things - Connie Willis
Under My Hat: Tales from the Cauldron - various

Rereads That Were Better The Second+ Time
Howl's Moving Castle - Diana Wynne Jones
A Tale of Time City - Diana Wynne Jones
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH - Robert C. O'Brien
Stardust - Neil Gaiman
The Last Dragonslayer - Jasper Fforde
Neverwhere - Neil Gaiman
Good Omens - Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
Coraline - Neil Gaiman
(looks like Jenny's Law applies to NG as well as DWJ!)

Best Choice to Get One Interested in Audiobooks
Ready Player One - Ernest Cline, read by Wil Wheaton

Book That Should Be Made Into a Movie
The Black Country - Alex Grecian

Everything Else That We Loved
A Little Princess - Frances Hodgson Burnett
Archer's Goon - Diana Wynne Jones
Unknown Pleasures: Inside Joy Division - Peter Hook
A Death in the Small Hours - Charles Finch
The 13 Story Treehouse - Andy Griffiths & Terry Denton (Z's choice)
Rumo & His Miraculous Adventures - Walter Moers
The Star of Kazan - Eva Ibbotson
The Mapping of Love and Death - Jacqueline Winspear
The Song of the Quarkbeast - Jasper Fforde
Love That Dog - Sharon Creech
Black Jack - Leon Garfield
The Agency: The Traitor in the Tunnel - Y.S. Lee
Gone Away Lake - Elizabeth Enright
The Penderwicks - Jeanne Birdsall
Wyrd Sisters - Terry Pratchett
The Book of Three - Lloyd Alexander
Greenwitch - Susan Cooper
Which Witch? - Eva Ibbotson
The Asylum - John Harwood
An Old Betrayal - Charles Finch
The Watcher in the Shadows - Carlos Ruiz Zafón
Ballet Shoes - Noel Streatfeild
The Grey King - Susan Cooper

Thank you again to everyone for reading our blog this year and commenting and entering our giveaways and everything else. I am really looking forward to Long Awaited Reads Month in January and DWJ March in, well, March and all of Carl's challenges (Sci-Fi Experience, Once Upon a Time and Readers Imbibing Peril). I'll also be continuing with the Top 100 Chapter Books Project at The Estella Society which I am enjoying immensely. Here's to 2014!

From our TBR shelves to yours,
K and Z


  1. yay for the return of DWJ month :D

    Looks like you read some excellent books this year - here's to an equally great 2014!

  2. Great stats!! I have not compiled all of mine (and they won't be quite as detailed!) because I'm hoping to finish at least 2 more books today! One of these said books is The Wonderful Wizard of Oz with my kids! This is one of the most well-received books I've read to them!!

    I am really looking forward to re-reading The Last Dragonslayer in 2014 and then reading The Song of the Quarkbeast. I really want to get to these sooner rather than later! And, I can't wait for more DWJ March! I think I'm going to wait to read Castle in the Air until then!

    Best of luck to you in 2014!!

    1. I'm really trying to finish that last book this year too! And I'm so happy that your kids are loving TWWoO. You'll definitely have to continue in the series with them then. :)
      And Jasper Fforde just announced the third Dragonslayer book on Instagram the other day!!! The Eye of Zoltar -- April 10 in the UK and October in the US ... WITH A TOUR!!!
      And I can't tell you how excited I am about DWJ March with her last novel coming out (Feb in the UK, April in the US).
      Have a wonderful new year too, Tif!

    2. Wait! Fforde is on IG? What's his username? I need to follow him!! I really hope that I live someplace close to where he will be touring!!

    3. http://instagram.com/jasperfforde

      He takes beautiful pictures of ceilings and of Wales. :)

    4. Thank you! I am now following him too!

  3. Footsteps in the Dark is my favorite of Heyer's mysteries, too - I think because most of the characters are actually LIKEABLE and do appear to like EACH OTHER, which is huge!

    So glad you had such a great reading year - here's to more in 2014 :-)

    1. I honestly didn't believe she could write a mystery with likeable characters. ;) It was refreshing to not have a surprise engagement at the end between two characters who presumably hated each other until that moment.
      Thank you for your support this year, Aarti!

  4. Love that opening picture. :)

    Great list of reading for the year. Interesting to see Gaiman on your list of books that were even better the second time around. I generally love his work first time and still enjoy it much more the second time around. Part of that may be that the second reading is focused simply on the story itself vs. comparing it to his previous works.

    I ordered the Impossible Things collection for myself for Christmas and Fortunately, The Milk is making its way too me now. Look forward to enjoying them both.

    Ready Player One is a great audio book. It is one of those books I couldn't imagine reading as the audio blows that experience away.

    The next time I "read" The Night Circus I hope to listen to Jim Dale's audio narration.

    I sincerely hope that 2014 blows this great year away for you.

    1. Thank you, Carl! It's one of my favorite pictures from the year and it's just from my front porch. :)

      I didn't realize I had reread so much Gaiman this year but I agree that the experiences were good because I knew him and his style better and so could focus on the story and the details.

      You are going to love the Impossible Things collection. I'm also planning on buying and reading her Best Of collection this year.

      And I can't imagine reading Ready Player One now. I'll definitely revisit on audio (as well as finding that Jim Dale Night Circus one!).

      Have a fantastic new year! :)

  5. I have to do DWJ month this year. I have so much by her I want to read!! You had an awesome reading year. I would say you are a Gaiman fan. :)

    1. I will make sure you participate. :) And yes, I might have become a full-fledged Gaiman fan in the past few years. I think I only read my first book of his maybe four years ago. Crazy!

  6. I got her Best Of collection from Mary for Christmas too, so I have all kinds of Connie Willis goodness waiting.

  7. Ah! So many great books here! So glad you loved The Night Circus Kristen! I've reread it every year since it came out now. And Howl! It does just keep getting better. I reread (or, relistened) to it again this year. :)

    1. I am so glad about The Night Circus too. I was afraid going in but it's just as wonderful as everyone said. I can't wait for my first reread!

  8. Re-reads that were better the second time. Gah. I knew there was a reason I should make more time for re-reads. What a great year for you! I just downloaded The Ocean at the End of the Lane and am just looking for an excuse to start it. Happy 2014!

    1. I stopped rereading for a while when I started the blog but I've decided lately to make more time for them and it's been nice, especially since I own all of these books and want them to be more than house decor!
      And I am so darn excited that you got Ocean! Yay!

  9. I JUST finished Howl's Moving Castle and I'm so excited to read it again in March. Thanks for the inspiration! I hope it is even better on the second read.

    Here's to hoping that 2014 is as amazing a reading year for you!! Happy New Year!

    1. I bet it will be better! She just packs in so much goodness that you're bound to have missed things that you will catch again. :)
      And happy new year to you too, my dear!

  10. I think you are right, and My Law does apply to Neil Gaiman too! Certainly Sandman repays rereading, and Neverwhere did too. The only exception (for me) has been American Gods -- it utterly captivated me the first time through, in high school, and I have never loved it in subsequent rereads. Strange but true!

    1. Neverwhere was SO much better the second time through. I'm a bit worried about a reread of American Gods because I appreciated it but didn't love it the first time. But I do have the nice author's preferred text to read next time so hopefully it helps me move toward love (or at least a stronger like).