Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Books I read in 2013, and what I learned

I have a confession. I'm not the world's fastest reader. I'm not one of those people who can read a book a night. (Dangit!) In fact, it usually takes me a couple of weeks. This year, though, I decided that I was going to make reading more of a priority.

This year, I read 55 books. Or, on average, one every 6 1/2 days.

But not only did I read more this year, but I read differently. I decided that I wanted to read as many books as possible that were written by my fellow Lucky 13 authors. (We've all debuted in kidlit during 2013--- there's 101 of us! Click here to see all of our books.) Many of them I received as ARCs (advance reader copies), because we have a system where we sign up for the books we want to read, then when one comes to us, we read fast, then mail it to the next person on the list.

Remember how I said I'm not a fast reader? It definitely factored in to my reading choices in years past. Because I knew I wouldn't get through tons, I only read books that came highly recommended by people I trusted, along with the occasional book that I knew that appealed to me so strongly that I knew all on my own that they were going to be right up my alley.

But this year is different. I decided to read every book I could that was written by a Lucky 13, regardless of genre. Regardless of whether or not it's something I would normally pick up. Here's what I learned:
  • I like a lot of genres a lot more than I thought I would.
  • There are things to learn from every. single. book you read that will apply to the genre you are writing, even if it's nothing like the genre you're writing.
  • Not only will reading outside of your favorite genres still benefit your writing, but it will benefit it in ways that reading in your favorite genres cannot.
  • Getting to know someone as a person, and then getting to know them through their writing, will always fascinate me.
And here they are. All the books I read this year. (And for the first year EVER, all of the books I have read are kidlit.)

Middle Grade




Young Adult (Fellow Luckies from the Lucky 13s)













Young Adult (Fellow Leaguers from the League of Extraordinary Writers)



Young Adult (Others I've loved through blogging)





Do you keep track of the number of books you read each year? Do you ever branch out of your favorite genres? Did we read any of the same books?

16 comments:

S.P. Bowers said...

I used to keep track of the books I read. I try to keep up with it on Goodreads too. But generally life is too busy to stop and write which book I'm reading every time I finish. So my lists are generally incomplete. Still, it's fun to go back and see everything. It's like reading a travel log.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Loved seeing all the books you read. I've read and enjoyed a number. My blog gets me reading outside my favorite genres too. And like you, I get surprised about different ones I like. Happy New Year!

Kelly Polark said...

Wow! That must have taken forever to post all of those covers! Very impressive number of books! I do keep track in a word doc each year of what books I read. This year was not as many as last year. But I enjoyed them!

Patrick Stahl said...

My reading list contains 33 adult books from sci-fi, fantasy, a few thrillers, and Pride and Prejudice; House on Pooh Corner; How To Write Science Fiction and Fantasy; 14 YA books from sci-fi, fantasy (of various types), and horror; and 11 MG books, mostly fantasy. Almost all of the books are over 350 pages and the average is probably around 530 or so. Add on top of that my reading speed of two pages per minute and you get a lot of frustration and a never-ending reading list. I also have subscriptions to three short fiction magazines not including Daily Science Fiction. Thank the Lord I have an Audible subscription now...

Jessie Humphries said...

Holy shizballs, Pegs! You did good! I think I read waaaay slower than you (dangit to H). I'm in a cussing mood right now. Anyway, yes reading more is on my list too. Happy New Years (in 14-ish hours)!

ilima said...

Wow. What a beautiful list of books. And all of them kidlit...it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Way to go with your reading goals!

CallieCreativeCelt said...

Peggy, you are an inspiration to be able to take time to read so many books while working on so many other things in life. I also try to keep track of how many books I read. I like using Goodreads help me keep track and tell me how behind I am. I also make sure to read my favorite genres and read outside of my favorites. I haven't read any of the books on your list, though Goodreads does show other reads we have in common. I like that site, not so much some of the reviewers, but it's a great way to keep track of what I read and meet my reading goals.

Kristine Nielson said...

That's a fantastic reading list! I've only read one of those books, though there are several on your list I want to read.

I try to throw in some outside my genre reading every few books. Usually I aim for at least a couple of non-fiction books a year, too. This year's been a little different now because I moved to Australia and the selection of books the local library is decidedly different.

I love Goodreads as a tool for keeping track of what I read and what I liked or didn't like about it.

Lenore Appelhans said...

It's one of my goals to read all of our League books, so your books are in my queue and I WILL read them this year (soonest!!). Thanks so much for reading LEVEL 2 <3

Ruth Schiffmann said...

The only one of these I've read is Unravel Me (which I absolutely loved!) But a number of them are already on my TBR list. Still others have great covers that are going to make me go look them up. Thanks for sharing your list, Peggy.

Rebecca said...

Wow! What a great list! I may just keep this as reference if I ever need to grab a good book!

Tammy Theriault said...

Hey Peggy! I'm a slower reader too, but for the simple fact that if someone is going to take the time to write it, then I'll take the time to read it. Not just skim it.:)~
I love your thoughts on reading outside your genre!! I'm right there with you. Kinda sick of hearing I need to read in my writing genre all the time. I have continued to gain new perspectives no matter what genre I read. I literally read them all. I just enjoy reading to read.
Your post is speaking volumes to me! Thanks for that reaffirmation.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I'm a reading tramp. I'll read anything and everything..though chick stuff draws me in the quickest.

Carrie Butler said...

You're a reading beast! I haven't read many of those, but quite a few of them are on my TBR list. :)

Nicole said...

That's awesome, Peggy! I've never tracked my reading as carefully as this, but I feel like that might need to change for 2014. :)

Emily R. King said...

So many pretty covers!

Now I have to go back through your list and see which ones I need to add to my TBR pile...

Happy 2014, Peggy!