What I Read in 2013: The Year In Review

Each new year, I take a look back at what I’ve read during those previous twelve months. It never ceases to amaze me how many good books I’ve read–and how many books I was interested in that turned out to be less-than-stellar. 2013 was no exception, but also saw some deviations from my typical selection of books. I worked my way through two series, including one I never thought I’d read. I also explored some genres that I don’t usually delve into, with pretty good results.

As far as goals, I set myself a goal to read 30 books in the year, and have exceeded that by a full 45%. In fact, I read more books this year, and more pages than any previous year since keeping track of it all.

In any given year, most of the books I read are relatively middle-of-the-pack regarding quality. Either my scores have changed (which is entirely possible), or the books I selected this year were better-than-average, as very few of the books I read ranked lower than 4 out of 5 stars. I consider the 3-star range ‘average’ so most of the books I read were above-average.

In November 2013, “Ender’s Game” was released to theaters. Based on the book of the same name, which I’d never read, I decided to try reading it before the film came out. I’m glad that I did, since Ender’s Game was a pretty amazing novel. I went on to read the rest of the Ender series, which were quite good. As a result of reading the book, I was very excited to see the movie, which was good, but of course not as good as the book.

2013 was also another all-electronic year. Each title I read was an eBook.

That said, 2013 was an interesting year for books. Here’s how it went for me:

Books

Books read: 43
Pages read: 16,862 (avg. 46.19 pages/day)

  1. * Reamde by Neal Stephenson ( 1,055 pages | 1/1 – 1/22 | My rating: 4/5 | My Review )
  2. * The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter ( 432 pages | 1/23 – 1/27 | My rating: 5/5 | My Review )
  3. Blue Remembered Earth by Alastair Reynolds ( 510 pages | 1/28 – 2/9) | My rating: 4/5 )
  4. Defending Jacob by William Landay ( 432 pages | 2/12 – 2/21 | My rating: 4/5 )
  5. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn ( 434 pages | 2/23 – 3/4 | My rating: 4/5 )
  6. Slow Apocalypse by John Varley ( 443 pages | 3/5 – 3/18 | My rating: 4/5 )
  7. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline ( 384 pages | 3/18 – 3/22 | My rating: 5/5 )
  8. The Cassandra Project by Jack McDevitt ( 401 pages | 3/27 – 4/1 | My rating: 3/5 )
  9. Apollo’s Outcasts by Allen Steele ( 317 pages | 4/2 – 4/7 | My rating: 4/5 )
  10. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan ( 305 pages | 4/8 – 4/12 | My rating: 5/5 )
  11. After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall by Nancy Kress ( 193 pages | 4/13 – 4/16 | My rating: 5/5 )
  12. Red Planet Blues by Robert J. Sawyer ( 368 pages | 4/16 – 4/21 | My rating: 4/5 )
  13. Consequences by Kristine Kathryn Rusch ( 368 pages | 4/22 – 5/1 | My rating: 4/5 )
  14. Buried Deep by Kristine Kathryn Rusch ( 386 pages | 5/1 – 5/7 | My rating: 4/5 )
  15. Paloma by Kristine Kathryn Rusch ( 372 pages | 5/7 – 5/15 | My rating: 4/5 )
  16. Recovery Man by Kristine Kathryn Rusch ( 336 pages | 5/15 – 5/23 | My rating: 4/5 )
  17. Duplicate Effort by Kristine Kathryn Rusch ( 370 pages | 5/23 – 6/2 | My rating: 4/5 )
  18. Anniversary Day by Kristine Kathryn Rusch ( 348 pages | 6/2 – 6/7 | My rating: 4/5 )
  19. Blowback by Kristine Kathryn Rusch ( 392 pages | 6/7 – 6/15 | My rating: 4/5 )
  20. Inferno by Dan Brown ( 482 pages | 6/19 – 6/29 | My rating: 4/5 )
  21. Cryptic: The Best Short Fiction of Jack McDevitt by Jack McDevitt ( 450 pages | 7/1 – 7/16 | My rating: 5/5 )
  22. The Long War by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter ( 437 pages | 7/17 – 7/24 | My rating: 4/5 )
  23. * The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes ( 384 pages | 7/25 – 8/2 | My rating: 5/5 )
  24. The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury ( 298 pages | 8/3 – 8/9 | My rating: 3/5 )
  25. When We Wake by Karen Healey ( 305 pages | 8/10 – 8/13 | My rating: 4/5 )
  26. * The Cuckoo’s Calling by J.K. Rowling [as Robert Galbraith] ( 465 pages | 8/14 – 8/23 | My rating: 5/5 )
  27. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey ( 497 pages | 8/24 – 8/27 | My rating: 4/5 )
  28. Farside by Ben Bova ( 368 pages | 9/1 – 9/7 | My rating: 2/5 )
  29. New Earth by Ben Bova ( 385 pages | 9/8 – 9/13 | My rating: 3/5 )
  30. Shaman by Kim Stanley Robinson ( 452 pages | 9/13 – 9/27 | My rating: 4/5 )
  31. * Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card ( 352 pages | 10/3 – 10/9 | My rating: 5/5 )
  32. Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card ( 419 pages | 10/9 – 10/17 | My rating: 4/5 )
  33. Xenocide by Orson Scott Card ( 608 pages | 10/17 – 10/30 | My rating: 4/5 )
  34. Children of the Mind by Orson Scott Card ( 387 pages | 10/30 – 11/7 | My rating: 4/5 )
  35. Starhawk by Jack McDevitt ( 418 pages | 11/8 – 11/14 | My rating: 3/5 )
  36. Burning Paradise by Robert Charles Wilson ( 320 pages | 11/15 – 11/19 | My rating: 4/5 )
  37. * The Circle by Dave Eggers ( 504 pages | 11/19 – 11/24 | My rating: 5/5 | My review )
  38. The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters ( 322 pages | 11/25 – 12/3 | My rating: 4/5 )
  39. Countdown City by Ben H. Winters ( 322 pages | 12/3 – 12/8 | My rating: 4/5 )
  40. The Humans by Matt Haig ( 304 pages | 12/9 – 12/12 | My rating: 4/5 )
  41. K-Pax IV: A New Visitor from the Constellation Lyra by Gene Brewer ( 168 pages | 12/12 – 12/16 | My rating: 3/5 )
  42. The Minority Report by Philip K. Dick ( 112 pages | 12/16 – 12/17 | My rating: 5/5 )
  43. Forrest Gump by Winston Groom ( 257 pages | 12/17 – 12/30 | My rating: 3/5 )

* Highly recommended titles

To see this list (and accompanying details) on Goodreads, click here.

Looking forward, 2014 looks to be a bit of a wildcard. There are (to-date) 62 books on my to-read list. A good portion of them are the Culture series, by Iain M. Banks, which I’ve been intrigued by, but never read. Whether the series will remain on my list or not after I start the first, however, I cannot say.

But other than a new series, and a few books that I want to read, I’ve got no real game-plan for the year. Most of my favorite authors have already published late this year, so likely won’t have anything coming out until late next year at the earliest. It’s not as if I don’t have enough reading material to keep me busy, but there’s nothing all that exciting on my list–nothing that I can’t wait to get to. This is the first year in a long time I can recall that being the case.

So in 2014, the question is whether I can surpass the 42 books I read last year and go the distance. I think I’ll set a reasonable goal for myself of 35 books, since some of those on my list are rather lengthy.