Fifty Books in One Year – Take One

Posted: January 3, 2012 in Books & Reading
Tags: , , , , ,

A friend of mine told me at the beginning of each year she always sets herself a reading goal. Fifty books in one year, she said. But, she only gets through about eleven each time. My competitive side was instantly wide awake and raring to go.

I thought it was a great idea, so I set myself the same goal. I started in late February, so it wasn’t a full year, but I also allowed myself to “cheat.” I re-read some of my favorite books, mostly because I wanted to get ready for a movie (HP7.2, specifically) or just become more familiar with the story (like with The Hunger Games). It isn’t really cheating, since I’m still reading the book, but my initial goal was to read fifty books I had never read before.

And, lo and behold, come December 31st I wasn’t done yet. I actually sat down and read THREE books that day. And guess what? I finished my goal! I’m actually really proud of this. I have such a hard time with long term goals and most of the time I get bored and give up, but I was adamant about this and I accomplished it. It’s a testament to my growing time management skills and will power. It gives me great vibes for 2012.

Since the list is so long (I give a quick blurb about each book – SPOILER FREE) I decided to break it up into two posts. Here’s the first half:

  1. Space Flight by Giles Sparrow (foreward by Buzz Aldrin): This book is not a novel, but more like a text book. It documents space travel from its earliest days, through the Space Race, and right up to modern day. I’ve been obsessed with space and astronomy for a long time (because my grandfather was) and this book provided a great timeline of space travel. Even though it had a lot of pictures, it was a bit dull and hard to get through. Definitely better as a reference book that a cover-to-cover-reading book.
  2. Quidditch Through the Ages by J.K. Rowling: A must-read book for Harry Potter fans. Short, interesting, and just another way to learn more about the world we all love so much.
  3. Fantastical Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling: Another great book by Rowling. I enjoyed this one a bit more than the other, as I found it more informative and more interesting.
  4. Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr: A really neat novel about faeries and humans having the Sight. It’s a bit darker than your average fantasy book, and is great for post-adolescent readers.
  5. Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Ultimate Guide by Rick Riordan: This book is full of awesome illustrations and some really great information.
  6. Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr: This is the supposed sequel to Wicked Lovely, but it’s about another set of characters. It is set after the initial plotline, though, so for all intents and purposes it is a follow up novel. We’re introduced to some new characters that I really enjoyed, but the first book is still my favorite.
  7. Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom: I can’t believe it took me so long to get a hold of this book. It is one of the best ones that I’ve ever read (and I’ve read A LOT of books). It is so endearing and so full of advice and great life lessons. What makes it even better is that it is a true story. I don’t cry that often, but I was sobbing by the end. It’s a beautiful story. Pay close attention to what the author is telling you. This is some grade-A life advice for free.
  8. The English Assassin by Daniel Silva: If you like murder/mysteries, this could be a good book for you. It was long and dry for me, but I usually read fantasy, so it isn’t my typical read. It was good enough to get through, but I wouldn’t read it again.
  9. Fragile Eternity by Melissa Marr: The third book in the series, but the official sequel to the original story. Another good book, though not a page turner like the first one. The world Marr creates is rich, thorough, and definitely full of great characters.
  10. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger: An incredible book that I would recommend to just about anyone. It’s got a little bit of everything: comedy, romance, mystery, and magic. It’s a realistic book and so superbly written. The movie is actually really good as well, but I highly recommend reading the book first (which should go without mentioning).
  11. 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson: This book was better than I thought it would be, but not quite as good as it could have been. Some of the main characters really stand out in my mind, and I loved all of the countries the protagonist travels to. It’s got a good meaning behind the story, but I think it would’ve been better if it had been made for a more adult audience and had some more serious plotlines.
  12. Radiant Shadows by Melissa Marr: The fourth book in the Wicked Lovely series. This is one of the better ones since the first book, and I really like Ani and Devlin. Even though she’s constantly writing about the same world and the same community (all of her other characters pop up from time to time, but not always at the forefront of the story) it never feels like she’s writing the same book twice.
  13. Darkest Mercy by Melissa Marr: The last book in the series, and probably the best one since the first. It’s got an epic battle and all of the main characters’ stories come to a close. Definitely stick around for this book – it’s worth it.
  14. The Quickie by James Patterson: Recommended by a friend, but not really worth the read. I like JP’s style of writing, because the chapters go by really quickly (there are only about 3 pages per chapter), but the material wasn’t that interesting. The ending was good, but I wouldn’t read it a second time.
  15. Sunshine by Robin McKinley: This is an interesting twist on your typical vampire legend. The vampires are quite different then we’re used to (and not in a sparkly way). The book is pretty dark, as well, which made it more interesting to me. The ending leaves something to be desired (it sort of cuts off and you’re not quite sure what’s going to happen next) and she doesn’t write sequels. Well done, though – I recommend it.
  16. Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (Graphic Novel) adapted by Robert Venditti and art by Atilla Futaki: I loved the book, and thought it was awesome that there was a graphic novel to support it. The art is incredible and it is amazing to actually see the characters in action. I’m not sure this quite captures the intricacy and story-telling that the book does, but if you’re a big fan, it’s a fun thing to own.
  17. The Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan: The first novel in The Kane Chronicles, by the same guy that wrote Percy Jackson. This one is about Egyptian mythology. I’ve heard some people/fans complaining that he’s just using the same method to write about different characters. I actually don’t have a problem with this. This book has a different tone and the characters don’t make it seem like it is the same story – and it’s not. Because of the material (Egyptian myths, not Greek) it really is different.
  18. Sleeping Beauty by Phillip Margolin: Another book that wouldn’t have been in my “to read” list, but was recommended by a friend. It was pretty good. It’s another murder/mystery and it has a couple of really great twists. Definitely stick through until the end.
  19. Tiger’s Curse by Colleen Houck: This is a pretty good book that centers around old Indian (not Native American) curses, dashing princes, and a normal girl who happens to get caught up in it. The actual plotline is one that I find fairly unique and quite interesting. I’m a huge mythology buff, though I don’t know much about Indian myths. I love the culture, and you can tell that Houck puts great care into researching. The romance aspect of the book is a little too Twilight for me (I love Twilight, I just don’t love reading Twilight in other books). I’m not enthralled with the series, but I’m definitely going to finish it. If you like Twilight, you’ll probably enjoy this book.
  20. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling: I’ve read this book so many times, yet I always relish in the idea of reading it again. This is the epic finale, the book where we finally learn all of the secrets. I always learn and realize new things whenever I read it. I don’t think I have to say this, but I will anyway: If you haven’t read the book…WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?
  21. Tiger’s Quest by Colleen Houck: This is the sequel to Tiger’s Curse. I like this one a little less than the original, though it was still a good read. I am getting tired of love triangles. Just sayin’.
  22. Sunday’s at Tiffany’s by James Patterson: I did not The Quickie, but I LOVED this book. It is totally not what I was expecting from JP, let alone what I was expecting from a male author. The book is endearing and beautiful. It has a strange magic to it, and the mystery of one of the main characters keeps you turning the page. The ending is perfect and everything that I had hoped to have out of this book. Don’t discount it because of the author – this is a wonderful read.
  23. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins: I’d be very surprised if you told me you haven’t at least heard of this book, especially given the movie will be coming out early next year. This book is incredible (this is my third time reading the series). I literally had trouble putting it down and could not stop thinking about it all day at work. When I got home, I would read it into the wee hours of the morning and suffer for it the next day. Needless to say, I highly recommend it. If you like action, mystery, and post-apocalyptic, dystopian style reads, you’ll love this.
  24. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins: While I will always love the first book the most, this sequel is definitely a good one. If you look closely, you’ll see she pretty much just reuses the plotline in this one. Except that it doesn’t matter. She ramps up everything: the characters, the story, the stakes, and the danger.
  25. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins: This is the finale to the series. When I read it the first time, I was disappointed in the ending. When I read it this time around I realized that it literally could not have ended any other way. This book does not have a happily ever after ending, though I find now that it does have a happy ending, given the circumstances. If you’re a little put off the first time, like I was, definitely do yourself a favor and read it again. It only gets better.

There you have the first half of my list! Have any of you read some of these books? What did you think about them? Do you have any books to recommend to me? I’m ALWAYS on the lookout for a new series.

[Fifty Books in one Year – Take Two will be posted tomorrow!]

  1. Hi! I’m challenging myself to 100 books this year. Hopefully I can do it! I’m sure you feel wonderful about finishing your goal last year– I know I would! I’ve read several of the books on your list (specifically The Hunger Games, HP Books, Time Traveler’s Wife, and Sundays at Tiffany’s) and see a few more I may add to my list of to-read books this year.
    Are you going to try for 50 more this year? If so, good luck!

    • WOW. 100 books is a lot, but I bet you’ll feel amazing if you end up doing it. I’m glad I could help add to your list. Hit me up on Twitter if you need any more suggestions and I’ll see if I can throw some more at you.

      I’m only reading 25 this year, because I’ve got a lot of writing goals that I want to accomplish on top of my reading goals. AND I want to make sure I only read books that I haven’t read before – no cheating this time!

      Thanks for stopping in. 🙂

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