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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

My Book List for 2013

Two years ago I challenged my husband to a reading contest: at least two books a month, one fiction, one nonfiction, and my school reading didn't count. 2012 proved tough for both of us, but 2013 has been better. Together, we've read twenty-seven books over the course of the year. We've read more than that, mind you, what with magazines, blogs, our kid's books, newspapers, etc etc, but twenty-seven made it to The List.

I thought I'd share the ones I read, and some selected thoughts or notes.

January:
(F) Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness. This is Book 2 of the All Souls Trilogy and, yes, a very guilty pleasure.
(NF) Tribes by Seth Godin. There are several authors whose total works I am trying to read and/or collect. Godin is one of them. I also have The Dip and The Icarus Deception sitting on my nightstand.

February:
(F) Igraine the Brave by Cornelia Funke. Some of my fiction is of the Young Adult or Juvenile variety. Not going to apologize: my brain needs a break sometimes after all the administration and master's work.
(NF) Full Exposure by Susie Bright. Bright is one of the most witty, brilliant writers sounding the clarion call for a saner view of sexual practice in this country. I wrote this quote on my whiteboard, "Sexual honesty, let alone creativity, will never flourish among the conformists or the elitists." Sound much like our arts world?

March:
None, unfortunately, as performances and schoolwork ate my time.

April:
(F) The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In A Ship of her Own Making by Catherynne Valiente. Fantastic imaginative YA novel, first in the series.

May:
(F) The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale. I loved this vivid retelling of this fairy tale with a believable strong female lead character.
(NF) 10 Habits of Happy Mothers by Meg Meeker. I didn't take notes and, honestly, don't remember all ten habits, but one of them was not to compare yourself to other moms. This is hard for me because I thrive on competition, but it doesn't do me any good as a mom.

June:
(F) Sunshine by Robin McKinley. I have been a McKinley fan FOREVER, since I read The Blue Sword in middle school. Sunshine is one of her few adult novels.
(NF) Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg. At the urging of my Emerging Arts Leaders friends at the AftA convention, I finally broke down, bought and read the Book of the Year. One of the stats that leapt out at me:
"An internal report at HP revealed that women only apply for open jobs if they think they meet 100 percent of the criteria listed. Men apply if they think they meet 60 percent of the requirements. This difference has a huge ripple effect. Women need to shift from thinking "I'm not ready to do that" to thinking "I want to do that--and I'll learn by doing it." 
As I was actively in job hunt mode by June, that made me pause and seriously rethink what jobs I was hunting for and how to go about it.

July:
(F) Night Watch by Terry Pratchett. If you're a Discworld fan, you understand. If you're not, HIE THEE TO A LIBRARY NOW. (And that's not Death, just me being forceful.)

August:
(F) Men At Arms by Terry Pratchett.

September:
(F) The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett. I was on a roll!
(NF) Monster Loyalty: How Lady Gaga Turns Followers into Fanatics by Jackie Huba. Focus on your core. Be open and responsive. Own your brand.

October:
Nil. Research, midterm, and training my replacement.

November:
Nada. Research, finals, and training me in the new job!

December:
(F) The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two by Catherynne Valiente. Book 3
(NF) Gung Ho! by Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles. Another one of those authors who I am reading everything they've produced.

Additionally, I listened to seven audiobooks. I have a thirty minute commute at least twice a day, so when I'm alone in the car, I love listening to books on cd. The only downside is not being able to take notes.
Know Can Do! by Ken Blanchard
To Sell is Human and Drive by Daniel Pink
Outliers, Blink, and David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell
Creating Innovators by Tony Wagner

What book stood out the most for you this year?

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