Gitta's Literary Escapades

Just another reader taking on (modern) classics, best-sellers, award-winners, non-fiction, and (guilty pleasure) chicklit armed with common sense, a brain and feminism.

Year in Review: 2013

2013 Reading Challenge

Wow! Best reading year ever! I started with setting my goal to 50, but ending up challenging myself to read 200 books. I didn't make it to 200, but I read 192 works including the King James Bible! I'm shamelessly impressed with myself. Now, I read a lot of fairy-tales which are often published as a single volume and I have listed these separately to keep track of which of the Hans Christian Andersen and Grimm Brother's stories I have read. I did read 94 "proper" books. I will not be able to repeat last year's high tide now that I am no longer a student and have -- seemingly -- joined the world of The Grown Ups tum, tum, tum, but I'll make an effort to read at least 25 books.


I've already recorded the titles of which I wrote a review in my List of Reviews.


Beginning to End


Books read:


Pages read:


First book:

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (28 December 2012 -
2 January 2013)

Last book:

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling
(6 - 20 December 2013)

First sentence:

The night before he went to London, Richard
Mayhew was not enjoying himself.

Last sentence:

As Hagrid had said, what would come, would come ...
and he would have to meet it when it did.

Longest book:

The King James Bible (3951 pages)

Top shelves:

Top Shelves


Out of all I read in 2013, the highest ratings were for:

  • 5-stars: The Prince (Il Principe, 1505) by Niccolò Machiavelli
  • 4.5 stars:
        -- The Importance of Being Earnest (1898) by Oscar Wilde
        -- The True History (Ἀληθῆ διηγήματα or Storia Vera, c. 120-185 CE) by Lucian of Samosata
        -- The Ocean at the End of the Lane
    (2013) by Neil Gaiman


New Year's Reading Resolutions

Looking at my top shelves, I could not get an accurate picture of what I read. Since roughly one hundred stories were those fairy-tales by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen (and a handful of Charles Perrault and Giambattista Basile) the top shelves are mostly for male author, German literature, Danish literature, children's literature, fairy-tales and 19th century literature. All these shelves are those on which I shelved the Andersen and Grimm fairy-tales.


This year, 2014, it's quality over quantity and, if possible, female authors over male. After reading AbeBook's Literary Review of 2013, I got very excited about all the great books that were written last year. Books I did not read then. And seeing the names of all those authors who died last year reminded me how much there is I still have not read. Some of the literary minds we lost last year were and whose works I want to read this year:

  • Chinua Achebe (16 November 1930 - 21 March 2013, aged 82), Nigerian, author of Things Fall Apart (1958)
  • Nelson Mandela (18 July 1918 - 5 December 2013, aged 95), South-African, author of Long Walk to Freedom (1994)
  • Seamus Heaney (13 April 1939 - 30 August 2013, aged 74), Irish, author of Field Work (1979)
  • Doris Lessing (22 October 1919 - 17 November 2013, aged 94), British, author of 


Now that I have finished my Harry Potter marathon, which I started in November after Litchick proposed to start a group read, I will pick up the Man Booker Prize, Pulitzer and Nobel Prize for Literature winners from 2013.

  • The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton (Man Booker)
  • The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson (Pulitzer)
  • Alice Munro (Nobel Prize for Literature):
        -- Dance of the Happy Shades (1968)
        -- Lives of Girls and Women (1971)


The rest of the year I hope to continue with other major award winners.

Currently reading

Leaves of Grass
Jerome Loving, Walt Whitman
Progress: 12/478 pages
The Luminaries
Eleanor Catton
Progress: 31 %
The Lord of the Rings
J.R.R. Tolkien
Progress: 506/1082 pages
Edward W. Said
Progress: 34/396 pages
Coffee at Luke's: An Unauthorized Gilmore Girls Gabfest
Jennifer Crusie, Leah Wilson
Progress: 17/197 pages
The Complete Poems
Titian, Catullus, Guy Lee
Progress: 105/244 pages
Renaissance Art
Geraldine A. Johnson
Progress: 23/176 pages
The Horologicon: A Day's Jaunt Through the Lost Words of the English Language
Mark Forsyth