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 October 2013

October was a really, really good month for me in regards to getting books read. I may not have enjoyed all the books I read, but I finished 10 books in the month again for the first time in a long time, which makes me pretty happy. I read some older books, some long books, some short books, some bad books, and some brand new books that blew my mind. It feels really good to be back on the reading horse so-to-speak after having several months where I felt like it was a bit of a chore.

I even managed to reach 70 total books read for 2013 by having such a great month and now I get to see how far I can push that number by the end of the year. If I were to get 10 more books in November and December respectively I’d be at 90 which is a pretty big number if you ask me.

So, here are the books I read in October:

My favorite book of the month was Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie. She did some amazing things with gender assignments regarding the characters and told a very vibrant story that had me racing to finish the book. I’d heard lots of great things about Ancillary Justice for weeks before I started reading it and I’m a little disappointed I didn’t pick it up earlier because it was so good. Parasite, which I just finished last night, was also really good. I’m glad Mira Grant has a new novel out and I’m excited to see where she ultimately winds up taking things with this new story. Although, part of me wishes she would write another book in the same world as her Newsflesh trilogy again. I loved those books so much.

Getting a chance to finally see what Dragonlance was all about was a lot of fun. There are some fun characters in Dragons of Autumn Twilight and I’m sure I’ll be revisiting that world again soon. Shattered Soul left me with a really bad taste in my mouth, but I’m not going to discuss my issues with it in this post. There are a lot of things I want to say about it but I need to decide how I want to say them first. Suffice it to say that I don’t recommend the book to anyone.

Coming up in November I’ve got some really good books I’ve been waiting to read for a long time. A co-worker wants me to try my hand at a Dresden Files book or two, I’ve got Caliban’s War and Abbadon’s Gate to read, and I’ve got the last few David Dalglish novels I haven’t read yet on deck as well. My goal is to get another 10 books read, but the holiday season is approaching fast so we’ll see if I can hit that goal or not. Ultimately, I’d like my Kindle to be 100% empty by January 1st if I can manage it just to say I did it.