Year in Review 2013


As I have for the past few years, I have spent the last few days reflecting on my reading year. This year wasn’t great. I didn’t meet any of my reading goals.

2012 Reading Challenge

2012 Reading Challenge
Dana has read 27 books toward her goal of 52 books.


  • Total number of books read: 27.
  • Fiction books: 19.
  • Nonfiction books: 6.
  • Memoirs: 2.
  • YA books: 7.
  • Audio books: 2.
  • Digital books: 10.
  • DailyLit books: 0.
  • Books reread: 5.

Favorite Reads of the Year (in no particular order):

  1. Moloka’i, Alan Brennert
  2. Divergent, Veronica Roth
  3. The Flight of Gemma Hardy, Margot Livesey
  4. Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi
  5. A Moveable Feast, Ernest Hemingway
  6. The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, William Joyce
  7. The Fault in Our Stars, John Green
  8. Smart Soapmaking and Milk Soapmaking, Anne L. Watson

Least Favorite Books (although this is relative because I didn’t have any less than 3-star books):

  1. Making Soaps & Scents, Catherine Bardey
  2. Delirium, Lauren Oliver

Favorite Book Meme of the Year: Top Ten Tuesdays.

Favorite Reading Challenge: The Mixing it Up Challenge (for at least making me thinking about going outside my usual reading comfort zones).

Favorite Blog Posts (again, in no particular order):

Here is my Where Are Your Reading 2012 Challenge map:

View 2012 Where Are You Reading Challenge in a larger map

I finished a re-read of Wuthering Heights recently, bringing my total to 27 books for the year. I don’t think I’ll finish anything else before the end of the year, so I’m calling it at 27. I have some hopes that if I buckle down, I can finish A Great and Terrible Beauty, but not high hopes.

In addition to not meeting my goal of reading 52 books, I also did not complete any of the challenges I set for myself. I think I over-committed myself on the challenges for sure, but I really did think I could meet the challenges. They didn’t seem onerous. I have decided to limit myself a bit more this year and just try to read things that look interesting.

I am also not going to host any challenges this year, as I find I am a terrible challenge host. I don’t think I peeked in after January, mainly because folks didn’t seem too interested in the challenge. I think I’d rather just participate in other challenges than host them.

There are good reasons for my failure to meet my reading goals. This year I moved and started a new job. I am not being too hard on myself because it was a huge adjustment. I moved 1000 miles from Roswell, GA (suburb of Atlanta) to Worcester, MA in central Massachusetts. We are all very happy in our new digs, and I love my new job.

In my previous job, I rode the bus to work, and my commute was typically 30 minutes each morning on the bus. I was able to get in a lot of reading that way, and I think my lack of commute now is a considerable factor in the number of books I was able to read. We moved here in June, and from that time onward, my commute was typically five minutes. The only way I could stretch it would be to walk, which I have done when the weather is nice, but it’s not conducive to reading. I actually can read and walk at the same time, but it’s better to have your wits about you. Even riding the bus, I only took about five minutes to get to work, but now that I’m carpooling with a coworker, it’s downright rude to think about. Essentially, one hour of reading time I used to have has been taken away. What I need to do is dedicate that reading time each day at home, even if I have to set a timer. I have often said that if something is important to you, you will make time for it. Well, reading is obviously important to me, but I have not been making as much time for it as I previously have done.

I’m looking forward to trying again to read a book a week this coming year.

Sunday Salon: Easter 2012

I hope everyone is having a good Easter. We have a ham in the oven. The kids received books in their Easter baskets. Dylan got [amazon_link id=”0394823370″ target=”_blank” ]The Lorax[/amazon_link], and Maggie got [amazon_link id=”0439023521″ target=”_blank” ]The Hunger Games[/amazon_link] (that is probably kind of weird, but she has been wanting to read it). I received a gift surprise of the entire [amazon_link id=”0545162076″ target=”_blank” ]Harry Potter series[/amazon_link] in e-book format, and I decided that since I wanted to reread them anyway this year, might as well start, particularly as I was not really getting into [amazon_link id=”006197806X” target=”_blank” ]Pandemonium[/amazon_link]. I also picked up [amazon_link id=”0143118749″ target=”_blank” ]For All the Tea in China[/amazon_link], which looks like a great read.

If you’ve read and finished Pandemonium, tell me: should I keep reading it? The more I think about it’s prequel, [amazon_link id=”B00526ZKYS” target=”_blank” ]Delirium[/amazon_link], the less I like it. I’m not sure I want to invest any more in the trilogy if I am not going to like it. I think I must be missing something because plenty of folks seem to love these books. Of course, plenty of people seem to be enjoying [amazon_link id=”0345803485″ target=”_blank” ]Fifty Shades of Grey[/amazon_link], and I know enough about myself to know I’d hate that series, so it’s not like I swim with the crowd as a matter of course.

Speaking of rereading, The Guardian has a nice piece about what authors themselves like to reread.

So what are you reading this fine Easter Sunday?

The Sunday Salon

Delirium, Lauren Oliver

[amazon_image id=”0061726834″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” class=”alignleft”]Delirium[/amazon_image]Lauren Oliver’s dystopian YA novel [amazon_link id=”0061726834″ target=”_blank” ]Delirium[/amazon_link] takes place in an alternate present in which love has been found to be the root of all humanity’s problems and has subsequently been treated as a disease. When citizens turn eighteen, they undergo a procedure that removes their capacity for love, and, in the view of most members of the society, renders everyone happier. Lena is weeks away from her procedure when she meets Alex. She falls in love with Alex, or as her society would call it, contracts amor deliria nervosa. Alex leads her to question everything she has ever believed about her society.

One of Oliver’s nice touches is an epigraph at the beginning of each chapter. The epigraph comes from literature or handbooks published by the government, and it is a quick way for Oliver to give her reader a glimpse of the world in which the novel is set. The reader doesn’t learn too much about what is going on outside of the U.S., and that is by design, because Lena doesn’t know, and the oppressive government is not forthcoming. Perhaps because Lena either does not know or is not interested (or because Oliver is saving it for later in the trilogy), the reader doesn’t learn how society arrived at the conclusion that love is a disease that should be eradicated. I did get the sense that the U.S. had decided love was dangerous quite a long time ago. I had a little bit of trouble believing the U.S. had come to the conclusion that love was so dangerous when it was mentioned that not every country in the world agreed, and I had to wonder what happened in the U.S. We are a group of people who enjoys their freedom, and for us to agree to such a totalitarian regime, something big must have happened. I didn’t get my answer, but perhaps it will be revealed in the future books of the trilogy.

While I can appreciate the way in which Oliver designed this alternate present, and parts of the book were gripping, the book as a whole didn’t grab me by the jugular the way it seems to have done for many other readers. I think I couldn’t get past the idea that a society would ever decide love was a problem that needed to be eradicated. I think I might try to read the sequels because I am interested enough to know what happened. I struggled with how to rate this book, and I ultimately decided on four stars because I did think it was probably better than just OK, but I also had no trouble putting it down, and sometimes I wasn’t over eager to pick it back up again.

The sequel to Delirium, [amazon_link id=”006197806X” target=”_blank” ]Pandemonium[/amazon_link], will be released on February 28.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Other reviews for Delirium:

Late Night Reading by Pino Dangelico

Sunday Salon Check In

Late Night Reading by Pino Dangelico

I’m not too far from finishing Lauren Oliver’s [amazon_link id=”B00526ZKYS” target=”_blank” ]Delirium[/amazon_link], and I can’t tell how I feel about it. It didn’t grab me like [amazon_link id=”0062024027″ target=”_blank” ]Divergent[/amazon_link] did. I like parts of it, but I also don’t have too much trouble putting it down and I don’t feel much desire to pick it back up again. Danger signs!

Now that we’re a couple of weeks into 2012, it seems like a good time to check in on some of my goals.

  1. The faculty book club has been revived. I went ahead and chose a book. Date and place of meeting TBD.
  2. I have been doing a little better with commenting more on reading blogs. Not much, but a little.
  3. I haven’t even looked at my blogroll to see if I need to clean any dormant blogs out.
  4. The first two books I read this year were not set in either the U.K. or the eastern seaboard, so I think I’m doing better changing up locales.

In terms of my other goals:

  1. The exercise regimen is going great. I do an hour on the Wii Fit every day—a mix of yoga, strength training, aerobic activities, and balance games. I am getting better at the activities, and what’s more, I can tell I’m toning up. I haven’t actually lost that much weight, and it seems to yo-yo up and down a bit with a general trend toward weight loss. I think I have maybe lost about five pounds. That thing yells at you if you gain weight or skip a day of exercise.
  2. The only progress I’ve made on learning to knit is joining Ravelry and talking to my sister about it. She sent me a link to the site she used to teach herself to knit.
  3. I’m probably cooking about the same. I did make some fabulous pub-style chicken and French fries last night. Fantastic dinner. I didn’t cook tonight though.

The Sunday Salon