Looking Back at 2013

For the past two days I’ve been writing about my personal reading goals and the blogging goals I’ll be working on for 2014. Now, three days into the new year it’s time to take one last look back at 2013 and how things went. I sort of fell off the band wagon a bit in the second half of the year, really losing a lot of steam in regards to how often I was publishing new posts, especially book reviews. But, 2014 should be better.

Let’s start by taking a quick look at the last few books I finished before the new year. The weeks of the year saw me driving my way through six pieces of literature, just narrowly surpassing my total pages read mark from last year. They were:

The Daedalus Incident was an absolutely spectacular debut for Michael J. Martinez, so much so that I’ve added him to my “must read” list already. He took some amazing chances with his storytelling and put together a tale that is unlike anything I’ve seen. Abaddon’s Gate was a wonderful installment to the continuing story that is The Expanse and I can’t wait for the next book in a few months.

Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft gave me a lot of motivation and hope for my own fledgling writing dreams and I’m hoping I can incorporate some of the insights and lessons I took from it into my routines this year at some point. The other three items on the list were all short stories written by the authors to add a bit of depth to the universes they exist in between the most recently released books and the upcoming ones. I enjoyed all three of them immensely. It was a good month of reading for me in the realm of quality writing.

As far as reading statistics go, here are a couple that might be interesting:

  • Total Books Read: 84
  • Total Pages Read: 31,512
  • Average Book Length: 375 pages

I had sort of hoped I could get all the way to 100 books read, but it just wasn’t in the cards for me. I had to navigate my way through some unexpected circumstances during the middle of the year that took my focus away from blogging and put it elsewhere.

In the world of blogging statistics, 20four12 saw 7,600 unique visitors over the course of the year for an average of about 20-21 visitors per day. That’s not too bad, but I would like to see it be significantly higher by the time this new year is finished.

And, last but not least, let’s take a look at two lists. In reading 84 books and novellas over the course of the year it is inevitable that I would find some favorites and least favorites. Part of me thought I should only list my favorites, but then I decided I was interested in seeing if any of the ones on my least favorite list would incite some discussion. Maybe some of them are favorites to other people, or maybe even some of the books I considered my favorite from this year are hated by others. I always find that to be incredibly fascinating. In no particular order:

Ten Favorite Books I Read in 2013:

Honorable Mention

Ten Least Favorite Books I Read in 2013:

I feel compelled to note that of the books listed in the least favorite category, I only find two of them to be absolutely atrocious, but I’m not going to tell you which ones. All of the others I just didn’t like as much as I wanted to, or they just simply were not my style when all was said and done. Take, The Great Gatsby for example. Widely considered to be a premier piece of fiction, I can’t stand it. It’s a matter of taste.

So, there you have it, a snapshot of my reading and blogging experiences from 2013. It was an interesting year for me as both a reader and as a blogger, but ultimately I feel like I did an okay job with both. Here’s to 2014 and making 20four12 really shine!

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Looking Back at September 2013

It’s been another slow month for me in regards to posting here on the blog, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t still been reading some good books. I tackled my first non-fiction book of the year as well as my first biography (possibly ever) this past month. I also got to read the newest book by my favorite author and finish a book I really wasn’t very interested in finishing.

So, it seems that the past month was all over the map for me in regards to my reading choices. I don’t know if October will be the same way or not, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see if I do the same or do something else.

Here are the books I read in September:

I was really impressed by the two Brandon Sanderson books I read. They were quality work that I’m used to seeing from him. Steelheart was a little on the short side for my preference, but I could understand that it needed to be given how it’s being marketed as a YA novel and part of a trilogy.

Reading Fast Food Nation certainly taught me a few things about how the fast food industry came to be and where it is probably going in the future, but it also spent an awful lot of time trying to convince me that McDonalds is the devil incarnate. By the time I was finished I had learned some things but I wasn’t really compelled to stop enjoying my chicken nuggets whenever I get the hankering.

The Still was the book I really had a hard time with. The story was interesting enough but the main character Rodrigo was annoying as all get out. By the time I was halfway through the book I really didn’t want to finish. Rodrigo was just so hard to get through and the author was really hammering his bratty attitude home over and over again. The biggest problem is that The Still is the first book in a duology and the last 50 pages of the book sort of made me want to forgive the previous 600 pages and read the second book anyways. I’m really going to have to think about whether I want to read that second book and even if I do it will probably be a while before that happens.

In October I’m looking to get past Stephen King’s Under the Dome in a timely fashion so I can then get around to finishing off a couple of series that I’ve left hanging for far too long. There are also a couple of new books I’ve been hearing lots of great press about that I really want to get my hands on as well.