Tag Archives: best books of 2013

2014 Reading Year in Review

So this is kind of depressing: I just re-read my Reading Year in Review post for 2013, and it’s pretty much exactly what I was going to write this year. I didn’t read as many books as I wanted to, and I didn’t love a lot of the books I did read. Same thing, different year. Last year, I said that “wasn’t blown away by a lot of what I read”, and resolved to be more selective this year. I think I was pretty selective this year, but I still didn’t love a lot of the books I chose. As I said last year, I think I am too picky, or grumpy, or both.

Last year, I read 49 books, which I was bummed about because I wanted to hit 50. In 2014, I fell short again. November and December were particularly slow for me, due to being really busy and getting mired in The Art of Fielding. I managed to get to 48 books, which is one shy of last year. 2015: I will reach 52! A book a week!

Here are my standout reads from 2014:

Best audiobooks were Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris (read by the author) and The Blessings by Elise Juska (read by Therese Plummer).

Most disappointing books: To Rise Again At A Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris and Lucky Us by Amy Bloom.

Most creative read goes to One More Thing by BJ Novak.

For the last three years, I have tracked the Depressing Themes of the books I read, and the lists have been impressive. Here are the depressing subjects covered by the books I read in 2014: infertility, loss of a child (three times), giving up a child for adoption (twice), agoraphobia, infidelity, loss of a spouse in Iraq, being a widower, latchkey childhood, Japanese internment, PTSD, untimely death of a spouse, grief in general, abusive parents, arson (twice!), Brooklyn parenting, Iraq war casualties, dystopia, Holocaust reparations, loss of a parent, Puritanism, cerebral palsy, death from AIDS, suicide. That was actually a lighter year than 2013…

The breakdown:

  • 43 fiction, 5 non-fiction
  • 8 repeat authors during 2014: Maria Semple, Maggie Shipstead, Ann Hood, Sarah Pekkanen, Sue Miller, Joshua Ferris, Jojo Moyes, Jane Smiley
  • 16 audiobooks
  • 11 male authors, 37 female authors

How was your 2014 in reading? What were the highlights?

2013 Reading Year in Review

Happy New Year, EDIWTB readers! I hope you all have a wonderful 2014. I had a good 2013. Some changes on the job front, but otherwise things were pretty steady.


As far as reading, it was an OK year. I wasn’t blown away by a lot of what I read. Some of the books I chose didn’t live up to expectations based on reviews or prior books by the same author.  But I also read some debut fiction that I found pretty exciting. Maybe I am just pickier than I used to be? Grumpier? My resolution for 2014 is to be even more selective about what I read so that I don’t waste time with books I don’t love.

In terms of volume, unfortunately I didn’t match my recent watershed reading year of 2011, when I read 54 books. In 2012, I managed to get in 47 books, which I was happy about considering I had a baby and started a new job. In 2013, I hoped to split the difference and reach 50 books. I only made it to 49. So my goal for 2014 is once again to make it to 50.

[Once again, I know there are a lot of book bloggers out there reading this and saying, “50 books? Seriously?” I wish I read as fast as you all do!!]

Here are my standout reads from 2012:

Best debut novel goes to Elliott Holt’s You Are One of Them.

Most addictive read goes to The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison.

For the last two years, I have tracked the Depressing Themes of the books I read, and the lists have been impressive. Here are the depressing subjects covered by the books I read in 2013: facial disfigurement (twice), being a widower, 9/11, home invasion, death of a baby (twice), paraplegia, euthanasia, family dysfunction, AIDS, the entire plot of The Little Bride, the entire plot of Little Bee (UGH!), obesity (twice), adolescent friendship, dead best friends, early widowhood, dead sister, breast cancer, death by parasomnia, infertility, thwarted adoption, kids in jail/on drugs, killing people while on a lifeboat, and abandonment of child (back-to-back reads!).  Again, I say it: sheesh.

The breakdown:

  • 47 fiction, 2 non-fiction
  • 16 repeat authors during 2013: Ann Patchett, Elizabeth Strout, Jennifer Haigh, Curtis Sittenfeld, Lionel Shriver, Ian McEwan, Mark Haddon, Jennifer Close, J. Courtney Sullivan, Terry McMillan, Liane Moriarty, Jhumpa Lahiri, Maggie O’Farrell, Meg Wolitzer, Caroline Leavitt and Susanna Daniel.
  • 14 audiobooks
  • 9 male authors, 40 female author
  • Book that disappointed me most: Little Bee by Chris Cleave.

Here’s to a great year of reading in 2014! And let me know what your reading highlights were this year.  What was the best book you read in 2013?