I joined Goodreads in January, set myself a reading challenge, and got excited about reading. My initial goal was to read 25 books, and I bested it by 6. I read thirty-one books! And many of them were over 400 pages long! I really surprised myself and certainly read a lot more than I expected to.

So in no particular order, here are the highlights of what I read in 2013. You can see my complete list here, as well as at the end of this post.

Harry Potter Re-Read (5 books)
Philosophers Stone, Chamber of Secrets, Prisoner of Azkaban, Goblet of Fire, Order of the Phoenix (first five books) by J.K. Rowling

I love J.K. Rowling, so I started my first Harry Potter re-read. I have both the books and the audio books, so I read them before I went to bed and also took them on walks with me. Listening to Harry Potter while walking is like walking with a warm hug.

The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling)
I loved this book and I love J.K. Rowling. Her writing completely works for me. Can't wait for the next one.
Lord of the Rings (3 books)
The Fellowship of the Rings, The Two Towers, The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien

I tried to read this 10 years ago and stopped around page 50. I'm so glad I tried again, as I got completely obsessed with it. The Lord of the Rings is actually pretty great! I have re-watched all the movies since reading it and love to discuss the differences between the book and the film versions.

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

My first walk into Middle Earth was with the Hobbit. I liked the movie so I thought I should try the book. This book definitely made me appreciate Bilbo Baggins. He is a pretty neat dude.

An Astronaut's Guide To Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield
I have a really strong appreciation for people who are passionate about what they do. Chris Hadfield is one of those people and what he does is actually really amazing and inspiring. More than just an astronaut, Chris Hadfield is a real life teacher and I have definitely learned from him and his book. A must read.

 Wild by Cheryl Strayed
A memoir of a woman who hiked the Pacific Crest Trail after the loss of her mother. This book really hit me in the feels and I highly recommend it.

Freaky Deaky by Elmore Leonard
I hadn't read any Elmore Leonard before he passed earlier this year, but I am happy to say I've now read Freaky Deaky. It was a fun one to start on. It was fast paced, the main character was a 'one-step-ahead of the bad guy' bad ass, and it was a satisfying tale where the bad guys got theirs in the end. Highly recommended.

The Feeling Good Handbook by David D. Burns, M.D.
This is a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy self help book and I couldn't recommend it more. The book is filled with exercises to work through as you read about how your thoughts effect how you feel. I will probably read this book over and over throughout my life.

And the Rest:

Raylan by Elmore Leonard                        How to Archer by Sterling Archer
Nueromancer by William Gibson              Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn                         The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt
The Tempest by William Shakespeare    

Joyland and The Colorado Kid by Stephen King
Cold Days, Side Jobs, The Furies of Calderon, and Academ's Fury by Jim Butcher
Naked Heat, Heat Rises, Frozen Heat, and Deadly Heat by Richard Castle

According to my Goodreads stats I read over 12,000 pages this year. Right on!

Posted by Jen B On Monday, December 30, 2013 8 comments


  1. That's fun that you can track your pages. I read half a fiction book this year but always had my nose in a good bake book, cookery magazine and kept writing my own bakes.

    More of that next year, for sure.

    1. Sound good! And yummy! I love reading about good recipes too.

  2. I love stats. Goodreads states I read 5 more books this year (92) than last, but 3600 less pages. I'm not sure that's all that correct - some of the page counts on Goodreads is suspect (heck, some of the page counts on e-books is suspect!!!).

    It's amazing what you discover when you keep track though, isn't it? Good job in not only reaching your goal but surpassing it! You planning on upping your goal next year?

    1. Stats are great! I have so much reading-pride from keeping track. Even if the count is a little off, even over 10,000 pages blows my mind. I didn't know I could do that! :)

      I think I am going to keep the challenge at 25 or 30 books. 2-3 books per month is reasonable for me, I think (depending on length of course). I don't want to set it too high and stress myself out! haha! I'm so happy I even hit 25, so that is a good number for me.

  3. I'm hoping to do a Goodreads challenge for 2014.
    What do you think of the Furies of Calderon series? Foxy & I both like it a lot (but it is ok if you don't - I don't feel it is as strong as the Dresden stuff on some fronts, but it is better on others, if you know what I mean?)

    1. Oh cool! I just saw your blog! So happy for all the reading you did too! Library is the best right?? I get most of my books from the library and if I really like it, I might buy it eventually. Or get them as hand me downs (LOTRs I got from my dad, all the Harry Potters I got from you...thanks again - I love them!)

      Furies of Calderon wasn't for me. I wasn't really attached to any of the characters after the first book, but I love Jim Butcher so I wanted to try book two. I got through it but it just didn't work for me. I read the synopsis of books 3-6 online and called it a day. But I am glad you like it - there are lots of reviews online about all the good things about it, but it just didn't jive with me.

  4. Congratulations Jen! You saw how well I did with my 2013 goal. :( 2014's gonna be better, gonna set the bar lower ;).

    1. Thanks! I know it wasn't your goal, but 8 books is still great. Better than nothing, right?

      I kept my bar at 25 even though I read more than that last year. I don't want to worry about whether I'm reading enough... because in January so far I am not really reading at all. I have two books on the go that are just kinda sitting on the coffee table. So we'll see if I should have set the bar lower too! :)


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