Highlights of My 2013 Reading Plan

I read a lot this year. I didn’t read everything on my list because I tend to add to it faster than I cross books off. Also, I didn’t quite meet my goal of 124 books, as I discovered that pregnancy and driving in the car made me nauseous. That cut out a lot of prime reading time for me. This is a problem that I’ve never had before – so here is hoping it doesn’t last after the baby is born!

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Still, I managed to read 114 books this year. I’m always glad to read more than 100 books a year! For comparison, I read 97 books in 2010, 98 books in 2011, and 122 books in 2012. You can view the highlights of those years in reading by clicking on the various years. Now, let me share the highlights of my reading this year.

I am working at becoming a well-rounded reader. To help me, I divide my reading list into the areas of money-saving, classics, organization, fiction and non-fiction. I read the most in the area of fiction but I have read some great books in other genres due to this approach. Some books I read on recommendations from others and some I read because they look interesting on the library shelf. Here are the best books I read in 2013.

In the area of money-saving, my favorite read was The Good Life for Less: Giving Your Family Great Meals, Good Times, and a Happy Home on a Budget by Amy Allen Clark. This book was a well-rounded look at ways to save money in all areas of the home. No matter what couponing book I read, I appreciate the encouragement they give me to keep living frugally!

The other year, I read The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. I really enjoyed that book but I enjoyed reading her latest one even more. Happier at Home: Kiss More, Jump More, Abandon Self-Control and My Other Experiments in Everyday Life by Gretchen Rubin gave me lots of good food for thought. I’d highly recommend this book because it challenges you to make the most of your time at home – whether you are a SAHM or a working Mom. This book challenges you to pick and choose the areas that will make you happier at home.

I really enjoyed reading The Baker’s Daughter by Sarah McCoy. It is set in El Paso, Texas (modern day) and Germany (during WWII). The story starts with Elsie Schmidt, the baker’s daughter, who is faced with a difficult decision when an escaped Jewish boy appears on her doorstep on Christmas Eve. I can’t tell more without giving anything away, except to add that the story is told in flashbacks and is a riveting read.

I would be remiss to not include Dee Henderson’s latest book as one of my highlights. Full Disclosure by Dee Henderson was worth the wait. Dee’s books always leave me trying to figure out who and what is happening. This one didn’t disappoint!

One of my new favorite author discoveries was Lisa See. Shanghai Girls by Lisa See was a pick off the library shelf and a great one at that! Set during WWII in Shanghai, it follows two beautiful sisters who are married off to Americans. I had never read any mail-order-bride stories from the Chinese perspective and it was intriguing. After I finished this book, I read several others by Lisa See, but Shanghai Girls remains my favorite book of hers so far.

Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World by Bob Goff was one of the few books I bought for my Kindle because  it came so highly recommended. This book is written as a series of short stories from Bob’s actual life. This book is a challenge to look for opportunities to love those in your life – daily. This book will make you laugh as you ponder what love (from God) motivates you to do in life.

Another book that I found myself greatly enjoying was Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table by Shauna Niequist. This book was beautifully written as a collection of essays about the love and life that is found around the kitchen table. In addition to providing a beautiful reminder of God’s grace cultivated in relationships, Shauna provides delicious recipes, too.

These are just a couple of the books that stuck with me throughout my year of reading. I would highly recommend any – or all – of these books to anyone. What books would you recommend for me to read? I’ll take those into consideration before I come back soon to share my reading plan for the upcoming year!

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  1. I haven’t read any of these! Bread and Wine is on my list for next year and I’ve been wanting to read Love Does for a while. Might have to add some of the others to my list.

    1. Those two were my absolute favorites of the year. If you don’t read any others, read those! They are both amazing.

  2. I rec’d “Bread and Wine…” for Christmas. I LOVE it. Every essay almost brings tears to my eyes. She could be me. Definitely going to check our her blog.

    1. Wasn’t it beautiful? I have some of her same views on the beauty of the dining room table. Loved it! Now, I have some of her other books on my list for this year.

  3. I’ve heard good things about Boob Hell, I have it added to my reading list for after baby is born and I get through the first few weeks of breastfeeding.

    Family Vocation is the other non-fiction book high on my reading list. I trying to add a bunch of other books to my list but I’m not ready to recommend any of those yet.

    I’m also curious how your reading changes this next year. Almost everything I read is audio or e-book these days, except for the children’s books I read to Gabriel. I also found it much easier to keep an ebook handy while nursing before, so much easier to “flip” the page.



    1. I’m already finding it a lot easier to read ebooks, so I imagine it’s true. And I enjoy audio books as well! Thanks for the recommendations, Alisha!

  4. I added every one of these to my reading list. What a great plan to break your list into genres. Something to think about as I load my library reservations with YA after YA. I agree with Mrs. Hanel…will be interested to see your 2014 list. 🙂

    1. The genre idea I owe to my brother-in-law. A couple of years ago, he commented that if he could read as fast as me, he’d be learning a lot! I realized that I owed it to myself to branch out. But fiction will always be my first love! 🙂

  5. I’ll be interested to hear if/how your reading changes with the new baby. I find it is SO much easier to read ebooks now; mostly because it’s easy to switch from facebook and email to reading without finding a new thing to pick up. But still I only read 63 books this year compared to my nearly 200 in years past. Of course I didn’t count the baby books we’ve been reading. 😉

    1. I will be curious to see how my reading changes, too! I’m already finding ebooks easier to read. Maybe the baby will help me work my way through the 200 plus free ebooks downloaded to my Kindle, waiting to be read. And by the way, 63 books is still a lot, Bethany!

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