Erin’s 2013 reading challenge

Inspired by Julia’s reading challenge, as well as the annual prompt from Goodreads, I challenged myself to read 45 books this year. I know what you are thinking – “But Erin, last year you read 49, as admitted to in your Favorite Books of 2012 post… shouldn’t you be MORE ambitious?”  Normally I would agree with you, however this year’s challenge includes some beasts:

thick book!

How i feel about my choices…

Now why would I choose all of these novels you ask?

Well, my 2013 challenge was set in part to address my book hoarding problem. So I included 25 specific books  in my challenge that I already own, but have not read; those six beasts fall into this category.  The other 20 books are a combination of the 12 Unputdownable Book Club books (1 per month) and 8 of my own choosing.

So, it is now April 2 (wow, where did the first quarter of 2013 go…) and boy do I feel the fool for setting such an ambitious goal!  Unlike Julia, who is apparently on fire, this is how my last three months have been going:

tortoise

sooooo sloooooooowly

I have read 9 books so far and at this pace I am 2-3 books behind where I should be to meet my goal… AND I only started the first of the beasts last month and am only one third of the way through!  So far I have read 3 book club books: Our Daily Bread by Lauren Davis, The Imposter Bride by Nancy Richler, and Prisoner of Tehran by Marina Nemat, as well as 5 from my challenge list (one overlapped with book club) and 2 others.

Despite my slow progress (partly due to a week-long birthday trip to Las Vegas during which time I read absolutely nothing…. Hey, its Vegas!) I have read some great books. My two favorites are:

Our Daily Bread by Lauren Davis – This was an amazing novel with characters and a story that just draw you in. Davis took a difficult topic and dealt with it with tact and sensitivity – turning it into a truly unputdownable read! You can read my full review in this post.

ODB When God Was a Rabbit

When God Was a Rabbit by Sarah Winman – This novel is follows Elly from childhood through adulthood, focusing on her relationships with the various people in her life, in particular her brother, with whom she is very close, and her best childhood friend. It has themes of love and friendship, violence and tragedy, and weaves them into an amazing story of one family’s trials from the 1960s through 2001. The characters are wonderful, the story is engaging, and the writing is honest and magical at the same time. Winman transports you into a story that you don’t want to leave until the last page. I highly recommend it!

I was also terribly disappointed by one book that I had been looking forward to reading for almost a year. This review will be the topic of my post next week… stay tuned!

Hopefully I can pick up the pace in the next few months and get on track or its going to be a loooooooong December, full of late nights finishing all the remaining books… because I hate not meeting my goals 😉

My 2013 reading challenge list:

  1. Angela’s Ashes – Frank McCourt
  2. Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
  3. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis de Bernières
  4. Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed – Jared Diamond
  5. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close            – Jonathan Safran Foer
  6. Inheritance (Inheritance, #4) – Christopher Paolini
  7. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë
  8. Love in the Time of Cholera – Gabriel García Márquez
  9. Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
  10. Mistress of the Sun – Sandra Gulland
  11. Motherless Daughters: The Legacy of Loss – Hope Edelman
  12. Our Daily Bread – Lauren B.Davis
  13. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking – Susan Cain
  14. Shantaram – Gregory David Roberts
  15. Tess of the d’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
  16. The Age of Miracles – Karen Thompson Walker
  17. The End of Your Life Book Club – Will Schwalbe
  18. The Sisters Brothers – Patrick deWitt
  19. The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
  20. The Unbearable Lightness of Being – Milan Kundera
  21. They Fight Like Soldiers, They Die Like Children: The Global Quest to Eradicate the Use of Child Soldiers – Roméo Dallaire
  22. Web of Angels – Lilian Nattel
  23. When God Was a Rabbit – Sarah Winman
  24. Winter of the World (The Century Trilogy #2) – Ken Follett
  25. World Without End (The Pillars of the Earth, #2) – Ken Follett

How is your 2013 reading challenge going?

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About Erin Hopkin

I am a graduate of Carleton University with a Bachelor of Public Affairs and Policy Management, with a specialization in International Studies (yes that may be the longest undergraduate degree title ever). Essentially it means I was trained to work in international policy making for the government – but that is not where I ended up. I actually work writing proposals and winning lots of business for a facility project management firm. I have always been a reader; however, my book choices have changed over the years. In university I read a lot of fantasy or books with happy endings because I was studying political science and international relations – often there are no happy resolutions to those conflicts. I now read more contemporary fiction novels with some classics, non-fiction, political and YA (a guilty pleasure) thrown in. I was drawn to the Unputdownable Book Club by my love of reading, wine and food and I am never disappointed!
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10 Responses to Erin’s 2013 reading challenge

  1. Julia Kent says:

    WOW you have some serious work to do lady. I’d be scared of the list of 25, let alone the goal of 45 in total! Some encouragement – the TIme Traveler’s Wife will be a breeze, and I suggest we read The SIsters Brothers at the same time to chat about it and motivate each other 🙂

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  2. Congratulations, Erin! I think it is perfectly okay to set realistic goals. You have a greater chance of achieving your targets if you believe in them in the first place. There are so many great books on your list. My “to-read” list is over 150 books long, and I admire your discipline in being able to decide what you will read in advance. I just tend to go with the flow. I even read several books at once. I have just completed 22 books of my target of 75 books for the year. Keep up the good work.

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    • Julia Kent says:

      Joya, do you use Goodreads? We love it for organizing the books we want to read, own and have read. I think Erin and I both like working through lists of specific books to see a light at the end of the tunnel and a sense of accomplishment!
      I can’t believe you read more than one book at once! I don’t think I could!

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  3. Erin Hopkin says:

    Thanks for the encouragement guys – hopefully the next few months go better! I also often read two books at once – so maybe doing this as a form of a break will help me get through some of my tougher (and longer) choices. Good luck on both of your 2013 challenges too!

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