Tuesday, December 31, 2013

My Year in Books

I read a lot.  You might call me a compulsive reader because I find it hard to not be in the process of reading at least one book at any given time.  One time on a trip (before I had a Kindle...or children, so I actually had a chance to read on trips) I finished the one book I brought and had no other choice than to start reading it again.

This year I decided to keep track of the books I read.  I have read more than (post-children) normal this year because the first half of the year I spent a lot of time reading to try to distract myself from throwing up, and the last part of the year I spent a lot of time reading while nursing in the middle of the night.  Night wakings are slightly easier if you at least have an interesting book to read!  So here are my 2013 book statistics:

59 - total books read
30 - number of that total that were re-reads
4 - nonfiction books
25 - Amazon free books
4 - books purchased

I did not include in my total books that I started but didn't finish (some of the books are free because they are really terrible), books I read parts of (because I do that), books I referenced (like sections of parenting books), or children's books.

As you probably notice from my statistics, I don't read much non-fiction.  It's not that I dislike nonfiction, I just like fiction a lot more. :)  Generally the non-fiction books I like the most are ones that tell a story.  The non-fiction books I read this year were all related to topics I find particularly interesting.  Since there are only four, I will tell you what they were:
1. A Year of Biblical Womanhood
2. Ina May's Guide to Childbirth
3. The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding
4. Everyday Justice

You will also notice that I like to re-read books.  A lot.  My favorite books (Christy, Til We Have Faces, The Little House books...) I re-read almost every year.   Some people have a hard time understanding this, but it makes perfect sense to me.  I love drinking coffee every day, I never seem to get tired of chocolate, and I like talking to the same friends year after year.  Familiar books become a part of your life like a friend or a favorite food, so that you start to really miss them after a long absence.  If I had to choose between only reading new books or only re-reading books, I would have to choose re-reading.  (And I have already read a lot of books in my lifetime, so I'd have a pretty decent size collection to choose from.)

Because of my voracious reading habits, I get a lot of use out of my kindle.  I hardly ever need to buy books because  there are so many free ones.  Admittedly, I read some and think, "Good thing this was free, because it would not have been worth spending money on."  But a number are decent and some are actually quite good.  We also have access to digital books from three different library systems.  While at home, I also enjoyed a selection from my family's extensive home library.

If you were to read one book I read this year, I would most recommend Everyday Justice: The Global Impact of our Daily Choices.  This is the book that will have the biggest impact on how I live.  Julie Clawson examines the impact of our consumer choices in several different areas (coffee, chocolate, cars, clothes, waste...).  This book causes you to confront the reality of modern-day slavery, unfair labor practices, environmental hazards, and to acknowledge the ways we contribute to these systemic injustices in our every day choices.  Working to live ethically can easily be overwhelming, but the author encourages us to start small and make manageable changes rather than throw up our hands in guilty resignation.  So...read it!

What book from your year of reading would you most recommend?  What are you most looking forward to reading next year?


Nate and Molly said...

I loved this post! I admit I am not a re-reader, but at the same time when I HAVE re-read a book/series I have not been disappointed.

I just finished One Thousand Gifts and while it is non-fiction, I highly recommend it. It's a life-changer just as you talked about the Everyday Justice book being one.

pinkorchid said...

Thanks for the recommendation! What else did you read? I need some good books to read! :)

pinkorchid said...

This is Ginny Hrushka, btw. :)