12 Books A Year

2013 marked the first year I indulged in New Year’s resolutions. One of my resolutions included the challenge to read (at least) one book a month. Though I’m an avid reader, this proved harder than I thought. But, two days ago, I finished my last book of 2013.

Books Read in 2013

1. The Hobbit by J.R. Tolkien

This was my first foray into the written world of Tolkien. I undoubtedly think Tolkien is a literary master and fantastic storyteller; however, I lost interest in the story once I realized that Bilbo lives because he needs to be in the first three movies.

2. The Giver by Lois Lowry

Believe it or not, I had never read this classic. My being homeschooled in junior high seems to have deprived me of this little gem. I read this book in three days. A beautiful story which argues that pain is worth remembering.

3. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

I received this as a birthday gift and I couldn’t put it down. This book tells the story of a boy with Asperger’s Syndrome who investigates the death of his neighbor’s dog. Through his journey, we learn of his troubled family and his unique perspective of the world.

4. As Sure As the Dawn (Mark of the Lion #3) by Francine Rivers

This is the final installment of a trilogy my sister got me into. I typically stay far, far away from Christian fiction, but this series caught me. It’s a must read for Christian females who love historical fiction or romance or seeing God work through people.

5. Ender’s Shadow by Orson Scott-Card

Ender’s Game is probably my second favorite book of all time, behind Orwell’s 1984. Ender’s Shadow is a companion novel and follows the exact time frame as Ender’s Game except through Bean’s perspective. It’s just as good as Ender’s Game, providing an outside view of the boy who could save us all.

6. Crazy Love by Francis Chan

I read this as part of my small group. It’s a pretty popular choice in the Christian world, with some controversy, of course. It speaks to how we should love like Christ loves, which should make us look crazy to the outside world. Some good nuggets, but overdone in my mind.

7. The Chosen by Chaim Potok

I found this book at Half Price Books in the sale section for $1 and it has become one of my favorites I read all year. I was introduced to Potok in high school when I read “My Name Is Asher Lev.” The Chosen chronicles the lives of two American Jewish boys during World War II: a Hasidic Jew who is destined to be a Rabbi, but doesn’t want to, and a Modern Orthodox Jew who is destined to be a mathematician, but wants to become a Rabbi. Just read it.

8. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

I needed a break from the density of The Chosen, so I went with a Young Adult novel. Don’t let the tagline of the soon-to-be-released film based on the book fool you, this is not just a “sick love story.” The book follows Hazel Grace as she battles with not only her cancer, but also questions of life, death, and what it means to love someone. The book could have come across as cheesy if it weren’t for the charming and often darkly hilarious snark that spews from both Hazel Grace and her love interest, and fellow cancer victim, Augustus.

9. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein

I found this book abandoned atop a trashcan at my friend’s apartment complex over a year ago. Spurred my recently discovered love of science fiction, I decided to give this one a go. Much more philosophical than I expected, it follows a one-armed mechanic and his super computer “friend” as they try to declare their moon colony’s independence from earth. Filled with questions of government power, free-will, the definition of family, human rights, and what it means to be free, this book took me on a much more cerebral ride than I necessarily wanted. But it was definitely worth it in the end.

10. Matilda by Roald Dahl

I wasn’t allowed to see the movie when I was little, so I never read the book. After reading the book, I have no clue why I wasn’t allowed to see the film, unless it’s because Matilda disobeys her parents (the reason for the banishment of The Little Mermaid from my household). Go figure.

11. A Patchwork Planet by Anne Tyler

Upon hearing that I needed a December book, my boss dropped this puppy off at my desk. Needless to say, I felt compelled to read it. It’s not really the kind of book I would have read on my own, but it was nice to shake things up a bit and try something new. The book follows the life of the black sheep of the Gatlin family tree as he tries to find meaning in his own life outside of the pressures of his family dynasty.

12. Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas

This was both the first book and last book I read in 2013. It took me the entire year to finish, but that means I got to sprinkle bits of Bonhoeffer wisdom throughout my year. A German theologian during World War II, Dietrich Bonhoeffer championed the Christian faith, discipleship, and doctrine when the German church did anything but. This lead him to join the conspiracy to kill Hitler, which he was ultimately executed for. A brilliant, humble, Godly, and inspirational man, and a must-read for any Christian.

Phew. If you read all that, I commend you. But I also challenge you to pick up a few books in 2014. I enjoyed the challenge so much that I’ve decided to do it every year. I wonder which 12 books I’ll read next…

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