My Favorite Books of 2013 & Some 2014 Reading Goals

Well, I didn’t do much blogging this year, but I certainly did a lot of reading.  More reading than I’ve ever done before, in fact!  My original reading goals for 2013 were to read a total of 45 books, 5 nonfiction books, and 5 classics.  I only read 2 classics this year, so I didn’t meet that goal.  I read 19 nonfiction books, so clearly more than five.  And, I ended up reading 85 books total this year!  I know.  I’m blown away too.  In 2012, I read 38 books, so I figured that 45 was a reasonable goal.  By mid-year, I’d already reached that goal, so I bumped it up to 60 and eventually to 70 books.  I’m really pleased with my reading life this year, and I can’t wait to see what books next year will bring!  I don’t want to get ahead of myself, though, so let’s talk about what I really loved in 2013…


  • The One and Only Ivan — This is children’s literature, but such a sweet, sad, lovely store.  You can read it in a nap time if you need to.
  • The Little Stranger — A slightly spooky, old-timey mystery.  Loved the writing, the characters…everything!  If you enjoyed The Thirteenth Tale, I think you would like this book.
  • The Snow Child — I absolutely adored this book. It was lovely and quiet and soft and just a little bit sad. I wanted to curl up inside it and stay there. Loved it!
  • Half of a Yellow Sun — Historical fiction from the Nigerian/Biafra wars in the sixties.  Fantastic writing.  Even if African historical fiction isn’t your cup of tea, I still highly recommend checking this book out.
  • Eleanor & Park — This book touched my heart in so many ways.  Lovely, sweet, and sad.  If you haven’t already read this, what are you waiting for?
  • The Golem & the Jinni — A tale of a Golem and a Jinni trying to make their way in the human world.  Different, but so good. I loved the way that the storylines in this book intertwined.
  • Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore — Inventive!  Delightful! Enchanting!  Intriguing!  This book is my new favorite recommendation.  A fun, different story that was a perfect blend of books & technology for me.
  • Fangirl — This book just charmed the pants right off of me.  Absolutely delightful.  Why are you reading this blog post when you could be reading Fangirl?  Seriously.  Off you go now.
  • Oryx and Crake — Dystopia from Margaret Atwood.  Do I need to say any more?


  • Into the Minds of Babes: How Screen Time Affects Children From Birth to Age 5 — This book was excellent.  Full of research, balanced, and easy to read.  It was a very pragmatic look at how and why we use media with young children, and what effect that media has.  I think every parent and teacher of young children should take the time to read this book.
  • Mindset — Carol Dweck’s book is amazing.  It’s not a parenting book by any means, but it’s one I think all parents & teachers should read.  The powerful differences in success between those with a growth mindset and those with a fixed mindset speak for themselves.
  • Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking — I learned SO MUCH about myself as an introvert and really came to understand a lot of why I do what I do. Plus, I feel like I have a much better grasp on the best ways to parent and teach introverts, as well as a good grasp on what it means to lead as an introvert.  Excellent book.
  • Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better — Very readable, well-researched, and simply fascinating.  We are constantly talking about the negative impacts of technology and social media, but what about the good that they are doing?  Clive Thompson does an excellent job of pointing out the positives.

So, that was my reading year in a nutshell…well, that and dozens of YA dystopian novels.  What about next year?  Here are my reading goals for 2014:

  1. Read 60 Books — I feel like I should go for more than I read this year, but I also know that this was a huge reading year for me, sometimes at the expense of doing other things I enjoy.  I think a goal of 60 will help keep my momentum going, but also allow me some time to get back to writing.  Plus, I can always up my goal later if I need to!
  2. Read 5 Classics — I really did want to do this last year and didn’t quite make it.  Time to try again.
  3. Write About My Reading — I’m not entirely sure how I want to tackle this one yet, but I will definitely be blogging about what I’m reading.  Weekly?  Monthly?  Sporadically?  I haven’t decided yet.

I am really proud of myself as a reader this year.  I read a variety of things, and I read a lot in general.  Even with two little girls and a crazy new job.  I’m excited to keep up my momentum and can’t wait to see what 2014 brings to my reading life!


  1. I plan on going back and rereading all of my favorites next year, but I keep hearing about lovely books I’ve never read before and I want them all! Balance will be difficult next year, I know.

  2. Great list. I am resolving to read more in 2014 and this is a great starting place! I read a lot of books that I didnt love, so basically, reading has become meh. I need a book or two to grab me and not let go.

  3. I love the variety that you read and I really admire how much non-fiction you read on education related topics. I really need to get better at that!!

  4. I did a lot less reading last year than I normally do. 🙁

    My goal for this year is 52, which puts me on an average pace of a book a week. That seemed reasonable to me.

    On your favorites list I read Snow Child, Eleanor & Park and Fangirl. Loved all three. Will have to check out the rest of your faves.

    Happy reading!

  5. Stephanie F says:

    Have you read Atwood’s A Handmaid’s Tale? I had to read it for undergrad orientation years ago and have read it at least a dozen times since.

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