So as the clock turned from December 31, 2012 to January 1, 2013, I started a new resolution for myself: to read more books. I’ve gotten better at taking time to pleasure-read since quitting my state job, but this time I actually put a numerical goal: 50 books in 2013. It’s actually not too daunting — 50 books in 52 weeks means just 1 book a week, with wiggle room for times it takes for me to read longer novels, or if I’m too busy to make headway in any given novel at any given time.

      Right now I’m ahead of my goal, which is great! But I realized that I hadn’t written a book post in all of 2013 yet, which is bad! I’m already behind.

      So here’s a quick summary of a handful of books I’ve read so far this year. What have you been reading? Anything good?

      books so far

      How to Be a Woman  by Caitlin Moran – This was actually the A Practical Wedding book club selection in the summer, but I didn’t read it with everyone else because I was so busy. I’d never heard of Caitlin Moran before that, but apparently she is one of My People, because the majority of the APW community loved her book, and my awesome mother-in-law actually got me this book for Christmas. I love how Moran takes us kind of on an autobiography and introduces examples of feminism through her hilarious anecdotes. It’s definitely a book I’d recommend to all my girl friends. She’s so real.

      The Time Traveler’s Wife  by Audrey Niffenegger – I got this at Half-Price books in the $1 bin and only picked it up because I’d heard it was good. I could NOT put this book down. I had zero expectations and emerged just loving it, loving it, loving it. It’s the story of a man named Henry, who can travel through time but can’t control when and where he goes, and Clare, his worrying wife. It’s such a beautiful love story, though I don’t think I’d characterize it just as a love story. A little bit of sci-fi, a touch of mystery, and interconnecting pieces of the story that are told at random… Apparently there’s a terrible movie based on this novel starring Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana, but in my mind I imagined David Tennant (with American accent) as Henry and it works much better!

      Hopeless  by Colleen Hoover – One of my friends couldn’t stop talking about this book, so I gave it a try. It’s definitely YA fiction and I have mixed feelings about it. The story was pretty compelling (I read this in a few hours), but there were so many twists and turns, believable parts and horrible-writing parts, that I don’t know if I’d recommend it to people. The book starts off as a typical teen romance — full of high school thoughts and feelings, many of which I don’t really want to remember. The main character, a girl named Sky, meets a guy named Holder and they sort of start to date. A dramatic plot twist made the middle of the book way more interesting, and I really enjoyed all the twists. But the ending was a little disappointing. This book mixed a few genres (romance, drama, mystery, psychology?) so it’s hard to place.

      The Handmaid’s Tale  by Margaret Atwood – I finally read it! This book chilled me to the core. Atwood has the gift of making you feel really unsettled by the idea of possibility; the trajectory that she can visualize if humans are as terrible and gullible as they can be. The book follows the life of Offred (Of-Fred), the handmaiden of a high-ranking official. Her sole purpose, in this increasingly infertile age, is to get pregnant with his child. Offred can remember her life before the fundamentalists took over the government and began ruling women’s bodies, and it’s haunting reading the “norm” of then (set in the 1980s, I think) vs. the norm of the current year. This book is crazy. Atwood has a habit of making it hard for me to fall asleep after I finish one of her books.

      The Perks of Being a Wallflower  by Stephen Chbosky – I fear I missed out on this book when I was growing up, which is apparently the best time to read it. It’s a beautiful coming-of-age novel, but I believe I was too old to read it for the first time (at 28) and have it affect me as much as it affects most young people. However, I did watch the movie adaptation starring Emma Watson, Logan Lerman, and Ezra Miller and thought it was fantastic — one of the few movies I think surpasses the book. So all was not lost.

      Tell me about the books you’re reading! Follow me on Goodreads to see what I’m up to :)

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      Love love love The Time Traveler’s Wife – also partly because it is based in Chicago and all the places they talk about in the book are actually REAL Chicago places!!! So cool. :) Love it and actually I own and love the movie too!!

      Also just watched Perks of Being a Wallflower — so good! Loved the acting throughout – and I want to read the book… but you’re making me second guess it! ;)

      I also go the Time Traveler’s Wife from the dollar shelf at Half Price and really enjoyed it. I’ve since passed it on to a friend, or maybe my mother, to read as well. Sad, but beautiful as well.

      I actually really liked the movie of The Time Traveller’s Wife…but I haven’t read the book and I also think Eric Bana is super hot, haha.

      My mom gave me Eragon and though it’s a YA book, so far I’ve liked it a lot and it’s hard to put down. It’s fantasy.

      And I’m reading The Six Wives of Henry VIII by Allison Weir. It’s nonfiction and quite enjoyable if you’re interested in that time period.

      You’re my book guinea pig. I’m glad to hear about the Time Traveler’s Wife and Handmaid’s Tale. I haven’t read either and both have been on my list for quite some time.

      Right now I’m almost done with The Book Thief and I really enjoy it. I think I most love the fact that it’s from the “normal” German’s perspective during the war and the fact that they just tried to continue on and toe the line, to do something good (hiding a Jew) while still maintaining German expectation and laws (attending Hitler Jugend, Bund Deutscher Mädel, etc).