Read It or Lose It!


Jami would tell you that I love a challenge. I like to set a goal and make it a game to complete it. So this year, my goal is to get through some of the many books that have been floating around my house for me to read “some day”. To that end I’ve picked 20 books that I’ve been meaning to read, put them all on my nightstand (above), and if I don’t read them by the end of the year, I will give them away. These are the books I will FINALLY read in 2013:

The Beet Queen by Louise Erdrich
The Book That Changed My Life edited by Roxanne J. Coady and Joy Johannessen
Coming Home to Eat: The Pleasures and Politics of Local Food by Gary Paul Nabhan
Conquering Gotham: Building Penn Station and Its Tunnels by Jill Jonnes
Daughter of Heaven by Leslie Li
Defiance by Carla Jablonski
Fresh Off the Boat by Eddie Huang
Kissing the Gunner’s Daughter by Ruth Rendell
The Known World by Edward P. Jones
Lewis & Clark by Nick Bertozzi
Lies Across America by James W. Loewen
The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul by Deborah Rodriguez
The Memory of All That: George Gershwin, Kay Swift, and My Family’s Legacy of Infidelities by Katharine Weber
Origins by Amin Maalouf
Radio On by Sarah Vowell
Summer and Bird by Katherine Catmull
Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History by Sidney Wilfred Mintz
To Believe in Women: What Lesbians Have Done for America by Lillian Faderman
Trash by Dorothy Allison
What You Call Winter by Nalini Jones

Read It or Lose It!

2012 in Book Statistics

Not surprisingly, I read the least number of books in 2012 that I have since I began keeping track. Still, I’m pretty pleased with how much I still managed to read with a little one in tow. I thought if I was lucky, I might make it through a book a week, and I beat that, so YAY for 2012 and for reading!

Total Books Read in 2012: 64

  • Number Read in Best Month: 8 (June)
  • Number Read in Worst Month: 3 (3-way Tie between April, May & July)

Total Books Read in 2011: 130

Total Books Read in 2010: 130

Total Books Read in 2009: 200

Total Books Read in 2008: 80

Total Books Read in 2007: 122

Total Books Read in 2006: 70

Fiction/Non-fiction Split:

2012: 72%/28%

2011: 70%/30%

2010: 68%/32%

2009: 84%/16%

2008: 63%/37%

2007: 50%/50%

2006: 59%/41%

Percentage of Books by Women (Overall/Fiction/Non-fiction):

2012: 61%/67%/53%

2011: 59%/58%/62%

2010: 55%/54%/59%

2009: 44%/44%/ 42%

2008: 68%/70%/67%

2007: 60%/57%/68%

2006: 74%/88%/55%

Kindle vs. Print Books:

2012: 73%/27%

Five Star Books of 2012:

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett

The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht

The Cat’s Table by Michael Ondaatje

Why Be Happy When You Could be Normal? by Jeanette Winters

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

2012 in Book Statistics

December Round-up

I read 5 books in December, 3 non-fiction, 2 fiction. 2 in print, 3 on the Kindle.

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson. This book, which is not short, is sort of a history of science for the non-scientist. If you just like to know things, but aren’t really looking to apply the science, you couldn’t do better than this entertaining overview. Warning: Do not read if you are a pessimistic sort, as every few pages Bryson articulates another way in which the world could end.

Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks. It took me a while to get into Year of Wonders, but once I did I really liked it. The book is set in 17th century England, in a small village in which the Plague breaks out. The village eventually choses to quarantine itself to try to protect  the surrounding countryside and the narrator, Anna, a servant for the Rector, describes the experience of living so surrounded by death.

Shakespeare: The World as Stage by Bill Bryson. I had no idea how little we actually KNOW about William Shakespeare (answer: very, very little). Bill Bryson did a great job of fleshing out the few known facts with information about Shakespeare’s time. A quick, entertaining and informative read.

The Voluntourist by Ken Budd. When I was about a quarter of the way into this book, I realized I was kind of burnt out on the whole voluntourism genre. I’ve read a lot of these books and I just wasn’t as interested this time around – which means it took me 6 months to finish this one, reading sporadically. One thing that I did really like about the book was Budd’s discussion of his desires to be a father and coming to terms with the fact that he wouldn’t be. I feel like that’s a narrative that we don’t hear much, at least from the male perspective. Overall though, the book was just okay for me.

The Importance of Being Seven by Alexander McCall Smith. This is the 6th book in the 44 Scotland Street series, which you might as well call the Bertie Chronicles for me. The books center around perhaps a dozen residents of Edinburgh (most of whom I like), but my favorite is by far 6-year-old Bertie. This books are all quick, “comfort” reads – amusing and they don’t require too much thought.

December Round-up

Books for Older Babies

We’ve been reading to Frances since she was born, but starting around 6 months she started really getting into books, both playing with and “reading” on her own and paying attention during story time. (They say at daycare that Frances is the kid sitting straight up, paying attention when they read stories. She knows how that works!) Now that she’s paying more attention, she has a few books preferences: brightly colored illustrations, not too much text per page, rhymes are a plus. These are some of favorites from the past 6 months.

Click, Clack, Moo: Cows that Type by Doreen Cronin. In this silly tale, Farmer Brown’s cows get hold of an old typewriter and use it to start making demands. Great fun.

Does a Kangaroo Have a Mother Too? by Eric Carle. Most Eric Carle books fit the bright colors/not too much text formula, but we own this one as a board books, so it’s in heavy rotation at our house. Lots of repetition (spoiler: animals have mothers), great illustrations, perfect for babies.

Everywhere Babies by Susan Meyers. Everywhere Babies follows little ones from their birth to their first year and shows all those baby milestones/activities: eating, playing, crawling. I love the illustrations and I especially loved when I noticed that tucked in there with all the other families illustrated were two mom and two dad families! Yay for family diversity in children’s books!

Is Your Mama A Llama? by Deborah Guarino. This book has great rhymes! Lloyd (the llama) goes around asking his animal friends if their Mamas are also llamas. An amusing read that I never get sick of (bonus!).

Jamberry by Bruce Degen. I can honestly say that I was surprised how much Frances loved this book. It is a whimsical, rhyming tale of a boy and a bear who go berry picking and for a long time (maybe a month – that’s a long time in babyland), it was Frances’ Go To book.

Snip Snap! What’s That? by Mara Bergman. In this entertaining story, an alligator invades the apartment of 3 children (who appear to be alone, in the grand tradition of children’s books). It has a great repeating line: “And were the children scared?” which makes it fun to read aloud!

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. Keats is also a great source for books with bright illustrations/not too much text. The Snowy Day is one of my favorites. It’s the first of a series of books featuring a little boy named Peter, and as the first it’s also written the most simply. A definite classic.

Books for Older Babies