17 January 2012

A Year Of Books - A Challenge...

In February 2011, charged with great zeal and enthusiasm I decided that I would like to read 52 books in 52 weeks! The question that you may be asking (as I am now) is "What were you thinking?".

Obviously not about the reality of this challenge and how someone might actually achieve this when they have an actual life to lead beyond the pages of books, no matter how fascinating.

The list below is a record of the books that I actually did manage to not only read, but enjoy, learn from, be inspired by and share on.

They are presented in chronological order of reading and I must admit that at the time of writing this that the first row really seems like they were read MUCH longer than twelve months ago.

If pressed to give you my 'Top Five', they would be the following with '1' being my favourite:

1. Elegance of the Hedgehog - I hope to reread this again in 2012
2. The Book Thief
3. The Lacuna
4. Eiffel's Tower
5. Lady Chatterly's Lover

As I turn the pages on new tomes in 2012, I think I'll be a little more realistic in my ambitions and suggest that a goal of '22-in-52' may be not only more achievable but give me greater scope for devouring some larger, more sumptuous reads....have a peek at my sidebar to see what I've already enjoyed and what I'm currently reading.

"A Fine Balance" was my first read completed for the year. It's set in India and is an enjoyable character based story which explores the finer elements of life's journey.  I can't tell you how many pages it was as I've already shared it on, but it was long which is exactly what you want if the story is a good one, right?

For Christmas my darling brother and SIL gifted me Stephanie Alexander's "Kitchen Garden Companion". Although I haven't exactly read it cover to cover, I don't think there's a section that I haven't devoured with great interest and my vege patch has already benefited from Ms Alexander's great knowledge and culinary enthusiasm.  I've just popped it on the scales to see how much it weighs as it's a tome in the real sense of the word....3kg! That's 6.61 pounds for all my Northern Hemisphere friends!
So in addition to inspiring my cooking choices and informing my gardening habits, every time I refer to this book I could be getting a light weights routine in as well - yay!

The book currently sitting on my bedside table is "Atlas Shrugged".  This book is such a whopper that to read it in bed I need to employ a book seat . It's not exactly a page-turner [yet] but it was highly recommended, so I'll keep plugging along. Also need to make an appointment with the optometrist as it has highlighted my deteriorating eyesight, hmmmm.

So that's my start to my reading year documented for you.
I'd love to receive recommendations of excellent page-turners that you've enjoyed so that I can pop them onto a list for the next time I visit the library. As you can see my tastes are fairly eclectic [although I must admit that sci-fi doesn't appeal at all] so please share.

Happy page turning!


  1. I loved The Elegance of the Hedgehog too. I read 77 books last year, and although I do have a busy working life I will concede that having grown up children is a real advantage for a reading life! I posted my top six for last year a few weeks ago. Not sure how many I'll manage this year...it's been a very slow start :)

  2. I'm currently reading The Elegance of the Hedgehog and thoroughly enjoying it. I find myself re-reading paragraphs as I go.
    I don't read nearly as much as I like to with the kids, but I'm getting my reading groove back slowly...
    Have you read any of Alexander McCall's books? I really enjoyed the Scotland Street series; some funny characters!

  3. PS - maybe I should look less at blogs. Ha!

  4. I can't remember the last time I read a hard copy on any topic. Most of my reading seems to lean towards technology, photography, scuba diving in electronic form. Be they blogs, online articles, newsletters, electronic magazines, eBooks, help files and I'm sure there are other sources that just don't come to mind at this very moment.

    Happy reading mon amie.

  5. Have you read "When god was a rabbit"? I loved it and would definitely recommend it. Am loving having a 'go-to' booklist here I can pop back to! Currently reading a Penny Vincenzi novel for some easy-going page-turning goodness x

  6. I love reading but often think how blogging has left with less time to do it. One great book I read last year was "Before I go to sleep" by SJ Watson. A real page turner!

  7. I love reading at night before bed and admit I am a bit of a library nerd..always something on hold! I did enjoy Jessica Watsons book, but you probably could guess I would like something like that! I will check out some of the others. Love the subtle sidebar changes too;)x

  8. I'm curled up in bed reading Shakespeare's Wife by Germaine Greer. Trying to vary my reading choices this year, and get my mind ticking! x

  9. I read Anna Funder recently and loved that, I also just finished one called Belsen children, about the child survivors from the belsen concentration camp, it is not fun, but an excellent story and well written.

  10. Oh, I love your goals. My goal last year was to read just 17 books, but I did an epic fail on that! Mind you, I did read 5 books in two months (Nov/Dec) and just let my blogging life die. Bad and sad, but you're right: One can't read that much, have a life AND a blog!

    I'm interested in "Love him, love his kids". Was it any good? I've found any step parenting books have been all but useless! To the point where I want to write more about step parenting (awkward because I have fairy step children who read my blog!)

    And that Kitchen Garden Companion sure is an epistle! We were given it last year for Christmas from our eldest girl, and while I love it, it's not one book I would read from front to back! But excellent resource!

    Thanks for sharing, and I look forward to hearing any other 'stand out' books you read as you go. xx

  11. What a worthwhile albeit lofty challenge my dear F. You can do it. You will be a much more well read person for it, LOL! I have neglected my reading endeavors spending too much time playing Words With Friends in my down time. I really need to tweak that. I've always been a voracious reader. Margie

  12. You did quite well! A book a week can be quite a lofty ambition when you're busy with life!! I've read a book every couple of days over these holidays but it will have to stop soon as I need to get back to the bench!

  13. Love the blog hun! saw you while blog walking.... hehe

    Happy to be your newest follower <3

    Can't wait to read more!

    Visit sometime, and follow back?


  14. My goodness, that's a lot of books Felicity, and a very big congratulations to you on reading so many!

  15. What a great selection of books! I have just finished The Book Thief and have Elegance of the Hedgehog and The Lacuna on my bedside table waiting to be read. Love that cover of The Great Gatsby, so haunting, and Lady Chatterly's Lover is one of my faves too! Will put the Ian McEwan one on my wishlist... I always like his books. Books... could talk about them all day... have read some great ones this year including some old ones of Gerald Durrell's which were my grandfather's and surprisingly entertaining! I'm in the early days of Frankenstein at the moment and have already jotted down a few quotes that have made me pause... will go now... hugs... gxo

  16. Hi F!
    I am amazed at the volume of books you read. Wow. I don't believe I have read any of the ones from your last year list. I have read Atlas Shrugged (a few years ago now) and liked it very much. Loved Fountainhead by her.
    I listen to audiobooks more now as I can do that while I'm driving, cooking, on the treadmill, working in the studio etc. I'm not sure if I should say I "read" the book because technically someone read it to me :)
    I do enjoy some Sci-Fi, read the Mistborn trilogy by Branden Sanderson last year and quite enjoyed it.
    Pillars of the Earth and Devil in the White City are also some favorites from the last few years.
    I think you should be able to count all the blogs you've read over the past year as a book or two as well :)
    Hope all is well with you dear friend.

  17. Oh you're amazing, happy reading, i wish i was a reader but i have to keep my hands busy making something!! Love Posie

  18. I so wish that I'd written
    down all the books that
    I devoured, last year. I
    absolutely WILL, this year.
    My Book Club read Wesley
    the Owl and I thought it
    was a sweet read : ) Just
    finishing The Tiger's Wife,
    this week, which will be
    the first down on my list.

    Hugs from a fellow Bluestocking,
    xx Suzanne

  19. Oh that's such a great idea, Felicity. I'm going to write down lots of your reads - they look great. The Book thief has been on my 'to read' list for a little while now.
    My reccomendations are: Foals Bread by Gillian Mears. We just did that one at Book Club last night. Although I actually didn't get to read it yet, it sounds absolutely fantastic. I will read it soon myself.
    Past The Shallows by Favel Parrot my favourite!!!
    Kindling by Darren Groth.
    Room by ...?? forgotten her name??
    Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey.
    The Vanishing Act by ??? forgotten?
    The Language of Flowers by Vanessa ???
    The Weight Of Slience by Catherine Therese. Loved this BIG TIME! It's not fiction but reads like fiction.
    Please Look After Mother - Korean author???
    Shack - a non-fiction lovely.
    The Recycled Home by the Baileys. another non-fiction lovely.

    Next up for our Book Club we are reding Five Bells. It's on the short list for awards at the moment. It looks great and will be starting it ASAP.

    Happy reading xxx

  20. Well you certainly managed to read quite a few books over the year, even if you didn't reach your initial lofty goal. I loved The Book Thief too ... I'm now adding a few of your other recommended titles to my reading list for this year.

    I have The Kitchen Garden Companion book too ... I adore it - so many tasty and inspirational recipes.

  21. "atlas shrugged" is an excellent book. very interesting. my mother-in-love told me that after she read it, whenever she hears a train whistle, she feels peaceful because someone is doing his or her work - driving the train - keeping things going. now i feel that way, too. see what you think when you are finished. Thanks for visiting me, and happy reading!

  22. Now this is my kind of blog post. I am bookmarking this to come back and to get ideas from. Well done on all of the reading. I am looking for some new books to devour this year and thanks for making it easier for me. N x

  23. I received a Kindle for Christmas and I am super happy with it. Because it is very thin and easy to read, I have it with me almost all the time. Your goal would, I think, be easily achieved because it is very convenient. As much as I like a regular book, I have been converted. Continue the good quest!


  24. 2011 was the year that I read the least for pleasure & it broke my heart. This year will be different, nothing will get in the way, nothing. Lovely post Felicity.
    Millie xx

  25. I am still immensely impressed, Felicity. One day I'll actually be able to finish a book - I long for that day ☺. J x

  26. Let's see. The Kindle I have has free 3G + wi-fi and has a keyboard and tabs to move the pages backwards or forward. So your fingers don't touch the screen. I bought a cover of sorts to protect it, about $20.00(us). At the bottom I put in search free books. 47,000 titles pooped up! I went through about 10,000 titles, downloaded 166 books or stories. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Jules Vern, H.G. Welles, Charles Dickens, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and so on. As I went through I looked for stories I remembered reading growing up. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,Little Women, Tarzan, Alice in Wonderland, Sherlock Holmes, (Doyle wrote much more than that),many autobiographies and so on. The Kindle is never far from me. It can handle up to 1,400 books. It holds a charge for about 2-3 weeks. I also have the Kindle downloaded on my phone and computer, but now that I have a Kindle,there is no longer a need.
    Hope this has been helpful.


  27. hee wow what a goal you have set enjoy the challenge :)) I was only looking at a book this morning on line to see about purchasing called "The Paris Wife" It's about Ernest Hemingway & his wife Hadley so I think I might have to get that one I love to read & never seem to get the chance but when I do I then get the reading bug :)))
    Enjoy Australia day Felicity:))

  28. I read this blog and i really enjoy it.In this blog to give a so many different book.This all books are really interesting i think.

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  29. Just catching up on your blog hon - and love this - am pinning it to refer to later to note some titles. I never heard of the hedgehog one so am looking at that first (loved book thief and a fine balance - amongst my top 10 favourite books of all time) I read constantly and only wish i kept a record as i am terrible and actually forget books quite quickly if they are not stand outs!

    Deb @ home life simplified


Thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.
Each new comment is a gift - unexpected and lovely.
Although I'd love to reply to each and every one, this isn't always possible, but know that I read and appreciate them all.

Felicity x