So this is officially my second year of taking the Goodreads.com personal reading challenge. The challenge is to set a goal to read a set number of books over the course of the year. This year my goal was 60 books, which was 25 more than 2012.
Up until 2012 I was an infrequent reader. Before then, I might get through one or possibly two books per year. But by setting personal goals, I’ve really come to enjoy reading much more than I ever thought I would. I’ve also broadened what I like to read.
I used to steer clear of fiction all together, preferring to use the time to read, to learn something too. This made me a very picky reader. During 2012, I had a difficult time finding books that I thought would hold my attention. But over the past year and a half, I’ve really come to enjoy fiction, especially those that reflect on the human condition, as you’ll see from my favorites of the year…
The Book Thief – Favorite Book of the Year
I really do not know where to begin with this book. Everything was perfect; the settings, the characters, the story, everything.
Set in Germany during the Hitler’s reign, it tells the story of a young, illiterate Russian girl, Liesel Meminger, who is fostered by a German family. The story is told, very uniquely, from the perspective of “death”, as if it were a being witnessing the life of the Liesel, from when her mother has to give her and her brother up, to her death.
She experiences and witnesses such wonder, heartache, and love throughout the entire book. While reading it, you root for the impossible and hope for a happy ending, but this is not the case. Yet, you cannot help but feel happy for Liesel.
This is the book, I couldn’t stop talking about all year, and couldn’t wait for the movie. While the movie was good, this is a reader!
Had I not read The Book Thief, this would have easily taken the top spot for me. I loved this book. It was the one I couldn’t put down.
In a world much like that which was painted by Cormac McCarthy in The Road (my favorite book from last year, BTW), it is set in a dystopian future where most of humanity has died off. It is the story of a man and his search for companionship, meaning, and love. The story takes place in the foothills and mountains of Colorado. The imagery that is described is of lands I know and love.
Online reviews of this were just too good, I had to read it. The waiting list at the libraries were astronomically long, so this turned out to be the ONLY book that I actually purchased this year. And I’m glad I did.
You’ll learn that the world is not a wish granting factory and what true love is.
A review on Goodreads.com sums this book up best; “you want to hug everyone in it so tightly that they’ll have no doubt how much you love them”.
This is a middle school level book, but I earnestly recommend it to adults. It is a truly wonderful story.
Some of What I’ve Learned/Reaffirmed
- How really good Steak and Shake’s food is (Life Itself – Roger Ebert)
- I really need to close my social networking accounts (The Circle – Dave Eggers)
- Harley Motorcycles are overrated (Hell’s Angel – Ralph “Sonny” Barger)
- “Eminemlettes” is one of my new favorite words (Orange is the New Black – Piper Kerman)
- I do not have the Encyclopedia on my to-read list any longer (The Know-I-All – A.J. Jacobs)
- Space travel is way more complicated than you’d think (Packing for Mars – Mary Roach)
- The reality that addiction is not a choice, it is a disease (Beautiful Boy – David Sheff)
- Religions are the root of most of the world’s evils (Then They Came for Me – Maziar Bahari, Stolen Innocence – Elissa Wall, and God is not Great – Christopher Hitchens)
- We need to figure out how to make dogs live as long as us (The Dog Stars – Peter Heller, Merle’s Door – Ted Kerasote, and The Art of Racing in the Rain – Garth Stein)