Year’s End: Tidying Up

31Dec13

I’m writing this now because I’ve just started Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Love in the Time of Cholera, and I know I will not finish it by New Year’s Day. That’s not a complaint: it’s gorgeous, and I want to spend as much time with it as possible. I would be really irritated about never being assigned this book in school, except that that would have deprived me of the pleasure of reading it now. And I really do believe that books always find us in the proper time.

lot of books found me in December, including a ton of books that didn’t apply to my challenges, but were simply interesting and/or useful (like all the books on homemade gifts and baked goods that ship nicely through the mail). I did, however, manage to finish all the challenges I set myself in 2013, except one. Not too shabby! The one I didn’t finish I only missed by a few books, and that was because some of the genres they wanted you to read were simply a bridge too far for me.

My favorite book this month was, hands-down, Eleanor & Park, by Rainbow Rowell. Rowell understands 1986, bullying, and being poor. She understands these things so well that it was sometimes hard to read the novel, but only because I cared so much about Eleanor, and didn’t want her to get hurt (yes, I empathize with fictional characters. Shut up). Park’s character growth, while more subtle, still brings up a lot of stuff teenage boys grapple with: relationships with their fathers, not fitting in, trying to figure out girls. One girl in particular, who makes it very hard for him to love her. But fall in love they do, in a very realistic, “Yes, this is what it’s like, these are the actual feelings and obstacles” way. After the big reveal, it’s a race to the end of the novel, and you find yourself hoping, hoping, all the way up to the last page, that things will end well. And they do. Probably not the way you want them to, but with promise and hope, because it will not always be 1986.

eleanorandpark

For the last time this year, the numbers:

Fiction: 9

Short Story collections: 3

Graphic Novels: 6

Non-fiction: 7

December total: 25

Year-end total: 196

Pretty good year! I had a lot of fun, and learned a great many things.

My reading plans for 2014 are a little different. I think, for example, that I’ll focus on one challenge at a time. I’ll try to read more of the books I actually own, and pass them on to loving homes if they don’t thrill me. And I’m shooting for more diversity in my reading choices, because there’s still so much I don’t know about. And, of course, there will be BOOK CLUB, featuring my favorite books from 2013.

More on that in a few days. How did your reading year end up? What are you excited about for 2014 reading?

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