Reading Round Up 2013

I have more than a few holiday posts to get up, but it has become my yearly tradition to spend the last few days of the year doing a review of all of the topics I have been covering on my blog.  Reading, skating, Burda, and sewing reviews, as well as plans for the upcoming year.  So in honor of tradition, I shall put off a few finished item posts until we cross over into the new year.  In the meantime, I thought I would kick off my end-of-year countdown with a look back at the books I have read during 2013.

Books Read:  16

Favorite Book:  A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson

Favorite New Author: Patrick Rothfuss

This is the most books I have read in a year since starting grad school!  I suppose more free reading time is a perk of having a degree.  This has definitely been a big year for me and epic fantasy – I finally was able to finish the Wheel of Time (thanks Brandon Sanderson!), which I have been reading since middle school.  I also got caught up on George R. R. Marten’s Song of Ice and Fire series (or, well, I’m almost caught up – I’m crawling through A Dance with Dragons at the moment), and I read all of Brandon Sanderson’s new young adult releases as well.  Oh, and I started on Patrick Rothfuss’s Name of the Wind series – which really needs to get finished soon!  I need to know what happens!  Though I suppose that is how I feel about most things I read, but that goes double for the story of Kvothe.

A Memory of Light was the first book I finished this year, and honestly, I think that was good because I was going to need a year to come down from the high that was the epic ending to the series that I have been following for over half of my life.  That being said, there were a few other standout novels as well:

(1) The Patrick Rothfuss books.  His writing is so good!  I felt the second book got a bit draggy in parts, but the quality of his writing is fantastic.  Read him.  Or, well, maybe wait until the third book is about to come out, then read him.  That way you won’t have to deal with the agony of waiting like the rest of us.

(2)  The Last Hot Time.  I need to read more John M. Ford.  He was often recommended by Robert Jordan at his book signings back in the day, and I can see why.  His writing is layered, deep, and complex, but still very readable.  He is able to convey ideas with what is unsaid as much as with what is said by his characters, and it gives a very real texture to his world, even if that world is full of elves wielding tommy guns.

(3) The Second Mark.  Even though this book discusses the events of an Olympics from a decade ago, the stories of the athletes and the events during and after the judging scandal are still a compelling read.  It was fascinating to see how the changes in world events and the political landscape had such an impact of the lives of young talented athletes and their coaches.  A compelling read for anyone, but it should be mandatory for fans of skating; this is a surprise favorite for me this year.

Although there were a few less than inspiring books that I finished this year (looking at you Julie Powell), overall I read some truly fantastic stories and worthwhile pieces of literature.  Next year I hope to do the same.  Though I know the month of March will be dedicated to Sanderson’s upcoming Words of Radiance, I don’t think there will be as many series books released in the coming year.  I am hoping to have the time to explore new writers and new worlds.  I have recently been enjoying listening to the Sword & Laser podcast while in the sewing room, so I think I might take some suggestions from there, or possibly try to keep up with their monthly book picks.  MTV’s possible upcoming TV show might be prompting me to read the Shannara books by Terry Brooks as well.  I would also like to read more skating and sewing books if I can find the time.  And perhaps a bit more non-fiction.  I am missing a little bit of the science in my life, and without so many new epic tomes headed my way, next year I might be able to balance that out a bit.  So, erm, lots to read.  As usual.

And that was my year in books!  Have any of you read any good books this year?  Find any good new authors?  Feel free to discuss and leave suggestions in the comments!

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