books read in 2013

I think I read (or listened) to more fiction this year than I ever have in my life, which was actually a goal. I’ve discovered that I really like fiction (but I’ll always lean toward non-fiction–there’s too much to learn in the world not to). A lot of what I read I would not recommend unless I could sit down with you and completely explain my thoughts, so I will not feature those here. Like life, some books, (for me) need my opinions and thoughts and emotions voiced one on one. What surprised me about reading (or listening) to fiction is how much I did learn. I was opened up to eras of time that I realized are a lot like my own. I now think fiction is very helpful in being able to understand people. A lot of shocking things in the books that would have put me off had I known from the start were things I ended up understanding, or saw myself doing had my life turned different courses in different places. It was a good reminder that everyone is an actual person with a history and a reason for things they do. It helped me learn sympathy and helped me think through situations and possible better alternatives to choices made or better ways to think through things.

Something I started doing last year was keeping a Google Docs spreadsheet of any book that I come across that interests me. I have about 200 books on that list. It is multiplying like bunnies, but that is okay. I always know something I want to read. If I pick it up and it doesn’t capture my interest after the first 10 pages or chapter, it is most likely returned to the library and deleted from my list. 2013 made me realize how much time I waste reading books I don’t care about or that grow me in some way. I read 34 books in 2013 and I’m sad to say I remember so few and I wasted my time on several books because I kept expecting it to get better or to find what I was hoping to learn. I hope to be better this year and to maybe do quarterly recommendations so I can remember what I actually liked. Here are the few I recommend, there would probably be others, if only I could remember if I like them:

Life Together-Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit-Bruce Ware

The Writer Who Stayed-William Zinsser

The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert-Rosaria Butterfield

Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart-J.D. Greear

Risky Gospel-Owen Strachan

Dinner: a Love Story: Jenny Rosenstarch

p.s. has anyone seenĀ this list? wow, might need to slowly tackle a few of those.

p.p.s. one of the best things I learned this year is how to listen to books. this took a lot of training, but now if I’m folding laundry or knitting or spending a lazy weeknight with Andy I am listening to a book. I now believe strongly in the importance of hearing words, not only reading them. if you’re how I used to be and cannot stand to listen to audio books I highly recommend giving it a try a few times. It changed my life so much I could write a whole post about thisĀ passion, but I’ll restrain myself, at least for now. xo