Ahh… part of me still can’t believe I finished this. Thanks to everyone who gave me suggestions and encouragement! This project started out as just a motivation tool for myself but it turned into something with a life of its own. Not only did this exercise force me to read more, it also expanded my horizons. I discovered some really great books that I wouldn’t have ordinarily picked up and learned a lot of different fascinating things. Many people have asked me what I’m going to do next and if I’m going to do another 52 in 52. Well, while I haven’t ruled doing another book a week, I’m not planning on it just yet. I will admit that at some points during the past year it was a struggle to keep up pace and a few times I sacrificed other entertainment and/or sleep in order to finish a book. That being said, I wholeheartedly enjoyed the entire journey and feel an immense sense of accomplishment. I will, of course, continue to read. Reading has, and always will be, one of my favorite pastimes.
If anyone would like to discuss anything from my last year of reading or what I’m reading or planning to read, please don’t hesitate to ask. I assure you that I’ve thoroughly overthought & obsessively documented these 52 books.
- Total pages read: 17,938
- Total hours read: 209
- Average pages per book: 344.96
- Average hours per book: 4.02
- Average pages per hour: 85.83
MY TOP FIFTEEN (couldn’t pick just ten):
- The Disenchantments
- The Mark of Athena
- The Fault in Our Stars
- Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking
- Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares
- Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead
- The Night Circus
- How to Read Literature Like a Professor
- Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road?: Christian Identity in a Multi-Faith World
- The Martian Chronicles
- The Power of Parable: How Fiction by Jesus Became Fiction about Jesus
- The Boys of Summer
- The Woman Who Died A Lot
- The Violinist’s Thumb: And Other Lost Tales of Love, War and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code
- Peril in Paperback
The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
Total Reading Time: 2.5 hours
Review: Ray Bradbury sure had a way with words. The Martian Chronicles is a masterful piece of storytelling. Each standalone short story weaves a piece of a larger tale. The themes and imagery have held up quite well over the years making this a timeless classic.
Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg
Total Reading Time: 3.25 hours
Review: Ms. Sandberg makes some important points, not only about the still institutionalized external barriers and stereotypes that keep women from working at the same levels as men, but also the equally important internal barriers and biases that keep women from taking opportunities and reaching for the top. It was an eye-opening experience to read this thoughtful and well-researched work. It’s hard for me to be courageous but this book gave me a little more hope that it’s possible and that we can continue to break down traditional gender stereotypes for the benefit of all. I recommend it for both men and women.
The Clowns of God by Morris West
Total Reading Time: 5.75 hours
Review: This one left me a little speechless. It was a provocative and sobering thriller about faith, apocalypse and hope. Written and set toward the end of the Cold War era, its themes hold up well despite changes in the geopolitical climate.
The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey
Total Reading Time: 3 hours
Review: Currently King Richard III of England is portrayed by history and Shakespeare as an evil, murderous hunchback who killed his own young nephews to keep hold of the throne. Yet, Ms. Tey’s book creates a gripping, if, fictional (but rooted in historical information) case for Henry VI as the murderer and slanderer of Richard for the rest of time. For history is, after all, written by the victors.
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
Total Reading Time: 3.5 hours
Review: I’ve done such a good job of avoiding books with cliffhangers this whole time… until now. And this one is a doozy. But straight up, I liked Mr. Ness’ opener. The premise? How do you escape when your pursuers can hear your every thought? I’m definitely anxious to read the second and third installments. Although it might be a good idea that I’m waiting awhile because I have a hunch they are going to be pretty heavy.
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
Total Reading Time: 2.5 hours
Review: This book covers one day in the life of Hadley Sullivan as she travels to and attends her estranged father’s wedding. At the airport, Hadley meets Oliver, a cute British boy who is on the same flight. As the consummate romantic, part of me wishes Ms. Smith focused more on the budding relationship between Hadley and Oliver and less on the father/daughter drama. But, I don’t want to be a Monday morning quarterback, so I’ll say that this is a sweet book about true love, second chances and family.
Jane Austen Made Me Do It: Original Stories Inspired by Literature’s Most Astute Observer of the Human Heart, edited by Laurel Ann Nattress
Total Reading Time: 3.75 hours
Review: Well, this one is a no-brainer. As a self-professed Austenphile, any excuse to read anything remotely close to Jane Austen’s work is something I’m going to enjoy. (As evidenced by the many Austen sequels, retellings & other Austenesque books I’ve read.) These 22 short stories are wonderfully creative and seem to spring directly from the mind of the Lady herself or are inspired by her life. Lovely.
The Goddess Lounge by Margaret Finnegan
Total Reading Time: 2.5 hours
Review: While being slightly contrived, this modern retelling of The Odyssey was also interesting. I am a fan of Greek & Roman mythology and I liked that the main character was a heroine trying to find her way. Overall, not a bad way to spend a couple hours.
The Violinist’s Thumb: And Other Lost Tales of Love, War and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code by Sam Kean
Total Reading Time: 5.5 hours
Review: The most accessible book about DNA that I’ve ever read. Okay, the only book about DNA I’ve ever read, but still user-friendly. While Mr. Kean does an excellent job of keeping the jargon to a minimum, reading can still be a bit of a slog at some points. However, it’s more of a history of genetics than a science textbook and really fascinating stuff.