One of my resolutions this year was to read 40 new books. I felt optimistic about this arbitrary number, but I unfortunately fell short of my goal, reading only 34 new books in 2014. Maybe it was because I read a number of books that were either 1,000+ pages or just under that. Maybe it was because I didn’t feel as challenged in my personal reading. Or maybe that’s just too many books for me to read in one year.
Hopefully not, because I’m going to push myself to actually read 40 new books in 2015. That’s one of my resolutions for the new year, along with attempting to eat more fruit (again!), find more charitable opportunities and watch church regularly.
Have you set any resolutions? Are you a goal-setter? Adam and I talked about ours the other night over dinner and we agreed that it’s easier to follow them if they are quantifiable. That is, “go to the gym” or “work out” are too vague as resolutions and can make success feel too flimsy. Instead, it’s helpful to phrase it as, “I will work out twice a week,” or in my case, “I will eat fruit 4 times a week.” (You guys. I know that’s insane because you are supposed to eat like 4 servings a day, but honestly, fruit is a toughy for me. I could eat veggies all day long, though). Anyway, I’ve found that putting parameters on a resolution will help me stay more consistent and transition it into my daily routine more fluidly.
If you’ve been following along with the book club then you’ll have some idea of all the books I read this year, but I thought it would be nice to get them all in a list here since I abandoned the Book It page. Should I just take that thing down because I’m truly terrible about updating it? Maybe there’s a new resolution in there…
Below is the list of 34 new books I read this year. I put an asterisk by the books I would highly recommend and you can follow the link to read more of what I had to say about them. In sum, I’m happy with the variety of books I read. You may remember that I’ve posed a challenge to myself to actively stray away from the contemporary fiction I’m so drawn to from time to time. I’m happy that I branched out a bit this year and plan to continue to do so. Read deeply and widely might be the motto.
- Martha Quest, Doris Lessing
- The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared, Jonas Jonasson
- Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving New York, ed. by Sari Botton
- The Mistress’ Daughter, A.H. Homes
- Dear Life: Stories, Alice Munro*
- The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt*
- Sisterland, Curtis Sittenfeld
- The Time Between, Karen White
- The Skies Belong to Us, Brendan I. Koerner
- The Luminaries, Eleanor Catton*
- Oblivion, David Foster Wallace
- The Engagements, J. Courtney Sullivan
- Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald, Therese Anne Fowler
- The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion
- The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell*
- Eleanor & Park, Rainbow Rowell
- Still Life With Bread Crumbs, Anne Quindlen
- A Tale for the Time Being, Ruth Ozeki*
- Life After Life, Kate Atkinson*
- Beloved, Toni Morrison
- The Moment, Douglas Kennedy
- Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell
- &Sons, David Gilbert
- The Little Friend, Donna Tartt
- Maine, J. Courtney Sullivan
- The Vacationers, Emma Straub
- We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, Karen Joy Fowler*
- The Signature of All Things, Elizabeth Gilbert
- Not That Kind of Girl, Lena Dunham*
- Mao’s Last Dancer, Li Cunxin
- What Alice Forgot, Liane Moriarty
- The Circle, Dave Eggers
- 1Q84, Haruki Murakami
- The Hundred-Year House, Rebecca Makkai
There were a few stunners on the list–The Goldfinch, The Luminaries, Life After Life–that really dazzled and excited me, and of course there were also a few that disappointed–1Q84, for being well over 1,000 pages, what did you really have to offer? But therein lies the joy of reading: the surprises and the development of taste and expectations. Reading never fails to amaze and inspire me, which is why I will continue to push myself to read more and read more widely.
What were your favorite books of the year? Any that you would recommend? I’m looking for contenders for next year’s list : )