I "read" a total of 50 books (well I have two almost done that I've counted in my 2012 book list- Anna Karenina only has 150 pages left- If I don't get it done I'll let you know :)- and the Runner's Year of Running daily book that I'll finish on December 31st). Six of the books were audio books, and 44 "real" books.
This was a true year of reading for me because I really felt like I spent quality time reading. I read different genres and even found I didn't dislike "books on tape". I need to write Pat Conroy a "thank you" note for introducing me to "books on tape". I had tried them in the past but could never focus on the story. I tried his book "My Reading Life" out when training this past year for the Chicago Marathon. I soon found that "books on tape" make great reading company on runs. If not for Pat's voice reading his own book I don't know if I would've tried the "books on tape" again.
I also need to write Pat Conroy a "thank you" note for justifying my love of reading. He stated in his book that he tries to read about 1,000 pages/day. Now I likely will never read that much but it made me think about making a priority for reading time in my everyday life. His book also introduced me to authors I had never read before. Soon after his book I listened to a book by one of his friends Anne River Siddons "Islands". This was another great running companion and I looked forward to the runs so I could meet up with "Islands" and hear more of the story.
Since I enjoyed this book so much I decided to try another book by Siddons. The next book made me realize just how hard "books on tape" can be to sell to the reader. The second book I just didn't like and I realized that I couldn't get into the story because I didn't like the reader's voice. Hence for "books on tape" it is not only the story line or character development it is also the reader's voice that can make or break the reader's experience listening to the story. I'll likely never pick up that second Siddons pick to read in a "real book" because I'll be reminded of not liking listening to the story. I know totally unfair to Ms. Siddons. However, her "Islands" book was one of favs of this past year's reading.
I moved on to other books and truly feel like I stumbled upon my next running buddy- "books on tape". Many of the books I listened to then motivated me to read other books. For instance "The Paris Wife" by Paula McClain was about Hemingway and his first wife Hadley. After listening to this great story I went on to read two other books by Hemingway (The Sun Also Rises, and Movable Feast). This book was another book that made it easy to go out to run because I got to hear more of the story. This was a longer book and it did a great job keeping me interested helped whittle the miles/time away training. Just the other day I was doing a run at a nature preserve I've done several of my long runs this past year and was specifically remembering listening to "The Paris Wife" and running the trail at the nature preserve. Great memories!
This past reading year I also tried to make an effort to actually read some books on my "to read list". Some of them I liked a lot "The Good Earth" by Pearl S Buck and "The Bonesetter's Daughter" by Amy Tan . Some I didn't enjoy as much as I thought I would based on the reviews that triggered me to put them on my "to read list". Many of the reviews or clippings of books I want to read come from the Sunday NY times Book section- my favorite part of the Sunday paper. However, for every book I don't like there are so many I do like and am glad I've read.
One of the books I didn't finish this past year was my book club's January Book "John Adams" by David McCullough. I just didn't enjoy it and found that if I am doing everything but reading to avoid picking up a book then it is time to put the book down. I don't regret putting that one down.
I also had books and authors that I came into contact with for the first time and just couldn't put down. Here they are in no particular order of importance, but would be on my "must read" books list for friends and family of book I read in 2012.
1. Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins ( ended up reading the whole trilogy)- my favorite book club book of 2012
2. Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruis Zafron (the sequel is on my "to read" list for 2013)
3. The Giver by Loist Lowry (after I finish "Anna..." plan to get my name back on the hold list for the 2nd in this trilogy).
4. The Paris Wife by Paula Mclain (my favorite audiobook from 2012)
5. Still Life by Louise Penny (the first in the Armande Gamache mystery series- I've read three total- #4 will be another book on my hold list after "Anna...")
One thing I did realize this past year was I haven't been keeping track of all the different chapter books I read with my kids this past year. So that will be another addition for 2013 "to do's". I hope to come up with a list of 12 books "to read" in 2013. I always do better when I have a set goal out there. My goal for 2013 would be to continue to keep up with "the bookies" and be an active participant in our monthly book club meetings, read the 12 "to read" books on my 2013 list, to continue to enjoy my new running buddy - Audio books, and to keep track of the chapter books I'm reading with my children. I'll keep you posted (no pun intended) on my 12 "to read" books for 2013. Happy reading in 2013!