Saturday, 28 December 2013
52 Books In 52 Weeks Wrap-up 2013
While I didn't have a blog last year, I did particiapte in the 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge. Robin is the host and she encourages participants to answer questions at the end of the year, to review their reading experiences. I admit, I haven't completed the questions previously but, with a new blog, this year I thought I'd give it a go!
1. How many book did you read this year?
I should end up with about 70 books read, which is 8 less than the
2. Did you meet or beat your own personal goal?
My personal goal was 65 books, so I beat my challenge.
3. Favourite book of 2013?
Oh, this is a difficult question. I would say The Divine Comedy
because of the ambitiousness of Dante's writing, the differences
between the three books and the opportunity he gives the reader
to intimately explore Heaven, Hell and Purgatory.
4. Least favourite book of 2013 and why?
I have no problem answering this! Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier.
The whole structure of the story seemed not only forced but poorly
stitched together, and the storyline shallow. The main character's
husband is a murderer for really no good reason, and the only emotion
the second Mrs. deWinter displays is joy that her husband doesn't
love his first wife, the murdered Rebecca. I know that Rebecca
was supposed to be the force that dominates the story, I think we
are supposed to sympathize with Mrs. de Winter II and be chilled
by Mrs. Danvers but, honestly, I was ready to tear my hair out by
the end of the story. Never again unless by torture!
5. One book you thought you'd never read and was pleasantly surprised
that you liked it?
The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton. I thought I would like it but I never
imagined that I would love it as much as I did. Wharton was a master of
character development when she created Lily Bart. The reader is
introduced to an innocent child, an accomplished flirt, a damaged
product of society, a redeemed angel, and each of these traits shone out
just as strongly as all the others. Just, WOW!
6. One book you thought you'd love but didn't?
Walden Two. I expected a good utopian read. What I got was B.F.
Skinner's philosophical treatise of the perfect society, but in a way
that was rambling and unappealing. I didn't feel he really made an
attempt to engage with the reader.
Also, The Summer Book, by Tove Jansson. It was a story of a girl
who had lost her mother and was spending her time on an island off
Finland with her grandmother, and of their relationship together.
Jansson only mentions the mother's death once and then doesn't
explore this theme further, asking us to surmise the girl's often
unpleasant behaviour is a result of this tragedy. Fine, but the
grandmother is a little off-colour too, as well as other characters in
this novel. I didn't hate it and, in fact, some parts were amusing,
but it left me with no connection to the characters and a very uneasy
7. One book that touched you --- made you laugh, cry, sing or dance.
Oh, lots of these! First The House of Mirth …… my heart just ached for
Lily, but because I've mentioned this title already, I'll pick another: All
Quiet on the Western Front. I found this book particularly poignant
because, while it was realistic, it wasn't sensationalistic. I felt the author
intimately knew his characters and was able to communicate their
struggles with the reader. As enjoyable as a book on war can be.
8. Any new to you authors discovered and you can't wait to read more of
I enjoyed The Master and Margarita, so I'd like to read more of Mikhail
Bulgakov. Oh, and Emilé Zola, absolutely. I also enjoyed M.R. James'
9. Name the longest book you read? The shortest?
If I finish in time, it would be War and Peace at 1392 pages. If not, my
next closest is Dombey and Son by Charles Dickens at 996 pages. The
shortest was Cautionary Tales for Children by Hilaire Belloc at 72 pages.
10. Name the most unputdownable book you read?
The Brain That Changes Itself was fascinating!
11. Book that had the greatest impact on you this year?
The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton. I still think about it: Lily's fate
and was it necessary?
12. What book would you recommend everybody read?
The Divine Comedy, The House of Mirth, Beowulf and Pride and
13. Share your most favourite cover.
What a lovely cover! I speaks of adventure and makes you want to
pick up the book and read!
14. Do you have a character you fell in love with?
Lily Bart from The House of Mirth. A tragically loveable yet sometimes
unlikeable character! Also Rilla from Rilla of Ingleside, Miette from The
Fortune of the Rougons, Antonia from My Antonia …… the list could go
15. What was your most favourite part of the challenge? Did you do any of
I enjoy how this challenge gives me focus. I didn't do any of the mini-
challenges but I'll certainly be considering some for 2014!
My goals for 2014 are to read less books and to spend more time with the books I read. I want to take the time to read over passages that resonate with me, be able to ponder the thoughts the book has provoked, and leave time to journal. The beginning of the year is shaping up to be busy; I have probably too many books scheduled to read but I am feeling positive about starting the year off without many leftovers from 2013.
All the best to everyone for 2014!