What I Read in 2013

January 2nd, 2014

I thought I’d write a wrap-up post before 2013 ended, but then I spent a chunk of the evening of December 31 curled up on the couch finishing reading Scarlett Thomas’s The End of Mr. Y, so I didn’t. (And then we went to see/hear the steam whistles at Pratt, and then we walked from Church Ave to Brighton Beach, and then we didn’t get home until 6 am.)

Anyhow: I read 38 books in 2013 (including a few picture books and several kids’ books).

The breakdown:
Picture books: 3
Other kids’/YA books: 5
Fiction (for grown-ups): 24
Non-fiction: 4
Poetry: 2

Works in translation: 6

Favorites: Picture Me Gone by Meg Rosoff – definitely the best YA book I read in 2013 (not that I read that many!), mostly because of the really engaging narrator. Where’d You Go Bernadette? by Maria Semple – I do love epistolary or semi-epistolary novels, and this one was both funny and sweet. The End of Mr. Y and Our Tragic Universe, both by Scarlett Thomas – smart and fun and concerned with story/language/meaning in interesting ways. Artful by Ali Smith – smart and satisfying mix of fiction and lit crit.

Books I expected to like more than I actually did:The No Variations by Luis Chitarroni, which I found pretty overwhelmingly obscure. The Reverberator by Henry James, which I wanted to have more long descriptive sentences. The Stockholm Octavo by Karen Engelmann and Buddhaland Brooklyn by Richard C. Morais, both of which I wanted to be less plot-driven than they were.

In general: In 2013 I read more collections of short stories and fewer collections of poetry than usual, which was neither a good thing or a bad thing, just a different thing. As usual, I read more novels than anything else. I finally got around to reading multiple books by Scarlett Thomas, whose work I’ve been curious about since an acquaintance mentioned PopCo years ago. As usual, I somehow managed to read more library books than books from my own shelves.

Plans for 2014: I don’t have any specific reading plans this year. More poetry? And maybe this will be the year I finish reading Proust’s In Search of Lost Time?

4 Responses to “What I Read in 2013”

  1. Rebecca H. Says:

    I’m glad you liked the Maria Semple, which I really enjoyed too. I’d like to read The End of Mr. Y before too long, as I really liked the other two Thomas books I’ve read (PopCo and Our Tragic Universe). Such an interesting writer.

  2. Heather Says:

    The End of Mr. Y is great – it’s definitely my favorite of the Scarlett Thomas books I’ve read (though Our Tragic Universe is a very close second, and while I didn’t like PopCo quite as much, I still liked it a lot).

  3. Jenny @ Reading the End Says:

    More poetry would be a good resolution! I have sometimes thought of doing a resolution about poetry, but I’m always deterred by not being sure where I would get the poetry FROM. My library’s selection isn’t very good.

  4. Heather Says:

    Yeah, I am lucky – the Brooklyn Public Library has lots of new poetry books. Though I guess “more poetry” might not have to be “more poetry books,” depending on your mood/willingness to consume poetry in a more single-serving way vs. wanting to read a whole collection by someone? I do both. For single-serving poetry I love april-is (but it only gets updated in April!) and exceptindreams.

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