2013 Books in Review|Syracuse, NY photographer

Happy New Year!! If you hadn’t already heard, we were supposed to begin a 5 month journey yesterday *(plane delayed) that is to start in Hawaii, go to New Zealand and Australia and then end up back in Syracuse just in time for summer. I will be blogging lots about that trip, but today I will be doing my annual books in review. *I have been working on this blog for almost 2 weeks–I am now on week two of Hawaii. I have lots of catching up to do!**

There are some good things about having your flight delayed by three days. For instance I can now pack the shampoo I forgot. And, that last load of wash that I meant to get done, got done. We also had a long Simpson’s watching marathon last night and today we hung up a ton of photos we had been meaning to hang. I’m trying to find all the positives in the delay and trying to forget about the last minute nonrefundable hotel rooms and hotel rooms, and the three lost beach days. 

Now books! I always find that winter is a good time to curl up with a book.  I have been blogging about the books I have read for the past four years. I don’t keep a journal and I have a horrible memory so this is my one thing (other than photos) that I hope will help me remember not only what I read each year, but perhaps jog my memory about what I was doing that year while I was reading that book.

My previous years can be found 2012 and 2011 and 2010, and the year I started blogging my book,  2009.

Here we go again.

The Goldfinch by Dona Tartt:

This is the most recent book I finished and I really really loved it. It is on many “best of” lists for the year and it deserves all of it. Just last year I read her other book, The Secret History, for the first time and while I liked that book, this book pulled me in from the start and it was one of those books that as soon as you finish it you want to start reading it again just to be with the characters some more. I can’t wait to re-read this.



2. Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala


I started reading this book in the middle of the winter. I was feeling some of the winter blues and then I immersed myself in this book which is filled with so much pain. I don’t regret reading this book at all, but it physically hurt to read about the tsunami that killed her family, but it did put some things in perspective.

3. Heartburn by Nora Ephron


This was a book club pick. I didn’t know that this book was basically Nora Ephron telling the story of her divorce from Carl Bernstein until my mom saw me reading it and told me. This was the book I loaned out the most to friends. It is a quick read with juicy details about real people, plus it is filled with recipes. I made the key lime pie from the book and the peach pie and they were super yummy.

4. Beautiful Boy by David Sheff


This was another scary and depressing read, but again one that I am happy I decided to try. It is a biography about a parent’s experience with a child’s drug addiction. Highly recommend.

5. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein


I bought this book for Echo for Christmas, but when she never read it I decided to give it a go. It is a very well paced book about World War 2 told in a totally different way than normal.

6. Wonder by R.J. Palacio


I read this book aloud to Echo and Sadie. It was wonderful. They both loved it and Sadie went on to ready it an additional 3 times.

7. See you at Harry’s by Jo Knowles


This was another book I read aloud to the kids. The subject matter was pretty sad, but I’m glad we read it.

8. Arcadia by Lauren Groff


Ehh….I like the cover of this book, and I some of the descriptions of the commune life were great, but overall just an ehh book for me.

9.  You Before Me by JoJo Moyes


This was a good book club pick. I wouldn’t call it a great book, but we had a good discussion about it and it was an easy read.

10. The Good House by Ann Leary


I really liked this book. It had a flawed main character with lots of  great dialogue. It is a great read and lots of good dissuasion. It would make a great book club pick.

11. The Best Tennis of Your Life by Jeff Greenwald


I have picked up playing tennis again which I love, but I have found that my mental game is pretty much gone. I can’t say I am mentally tough now, but at least I am trying.

12. Prodigy by Marie Lu


I have enjoyed this YA distopian series. This is book 2 of 3. There are a lot of YA books like this out there right now, but this one is pretty good.

13. Schroder by Amity Gaige


This was a random library pick one day. I read it in about 24 hours ( a page turner for sure), but pretty forgettable.

14. The Language of Flowers by  Vanessa Diffenbaugh


This was another book club pick. I think everyone liked it for the most part and I personally was inspired to go out and photograph some flowers after reading it (which for a person who normally only likes to photograph people is a big deal).

15. Rules for Virgins by Amy Tan


This was one of those amazon singles. A good read for a short airplane ride (which is when I read it).

16. The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls by Anton Disclafani


This was my first summer vacation book. Lots of great horse care and riding descriptions and an interesting main character. I thought some of the sexuality scenes didn’t really work, but give it a try.

17. Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld


I love this author and was excited to hear that she had a new book. I even pre-ordered it. It was a good vacation read, but for me it didn’t quite hold up to what I was expecting and there was a major twist which I couldn’t quite take.

18. Open by Andre Agassi


Great book for tennis lovers. I loved reading his description of famous matches that I had watched on tv.

19. Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter


This book starting off amazing, but lost it’s dazzle by the end. I saw it everywhere I went so it must have had an amazing marking team, but again, not a book that really sticks with you.

20. The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides


I listened to this book on CD while driving to Utah. Since my kids were in the car with me I had to be very careful when I listened to it because man—there were a lot of totally inappropriate scenes for kids to listen to. That being said, I still liked the book. This was more of a thinker’s book than a plot driven book, so I think it helped that I listened to it.

21. And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini


This was my book club pick and of his three books this was probably my favorite. A great discussion book about siblings and family relations.

22. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman


I really love Neil Gaiman and this book was no exception. It was weird and creepy and really good.

23. The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann


This was another YA read. It was fun, if a bit forgettable.

24. The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson


This was a hard read, but I’m glad I kept with it. I started off reading it and then I kept falling asleep, so I switched to listening to it and I made it through.

25. Freedom by Jonathan Franzen


I had been meaning to read this book for a long time. I found it kind of depressing, but he does an excellent job of describing a certain type of suburbia. page turner too.

26. O Pioneers! by Willa Cather


As a Nebraska born girl I can’t believe I hadn’t read this book yet. It was juicier than I thought it would be. I wonder if I am the first person to call a Willa Cather book juicy!

27. The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty


This was another book club book. It was a historical fiction book that takes place in NYC during the 20’s. I am a sucker for historical fiction and this was was almost really good, but it didn’t quite get there. It was still a good read and made for a good discussion.

28. Dr. Sleep by Stephen King


When the reviews were so positive for this book I decided that I was ready for a scary book. It was October after all when I read it. And, it was creepy and even a little scary, but I think this was a situation where all the hype kind of made reading the book a bit of a let down. I still recommend it, especially for fans of The Shining which this is a follow up to.

29. Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler


Another historical fiction book. Last year I read and loved The Paris Wife (about Hemingway’s wife), so I was excited to visit this world again. This book just didn’t get there for me.

30. Tinkers by Paul Harding


Man did I hate this book. It was depressing and confusing. When it ended I actually thought my audio book ran out of batteries because I thought that that couldn’t possibly be the end. The book got all sorts of great reviews and won a ton of awards, so I did feel like an idiot for not liking it. Ask me in a few years and I’ll tell you it was a great, amazing book. 🙂

Shows seen this year:

Neko Case in Ithaca

Sarah Lee Guthrie in Syracuse

We also saw some great local theater in Syracuse including with  The Full Monty and  A Christmas Carol being my favorite. It was also the year I saw Sadie star as Annie in the local children’s theater and got to see Echo jump on a horse.

Stay tuned for details of our travel–it has had an amazing and rocky start.

Happy New Year and thank you once again for stopping in to my poor neglected blog and choosing me to document those happy moments in your life.


One Response to “ 2013 Books in Review|Syracuse, NY photographer ”

  1. Barbara Carlsen Says:

    I always look forward to your book reviews every year. Willa Cather’s books are great. If you want some quick reads about Nebraska, I like Bess Streeter Aldrich’s books. Lieutenant’s lady was my favorite. They also made a movie of Heartburn with Jack Nickelson and Meryl Streep. It’s good Netflix it. Have an amazing time in New Zealand!

Leave a Reply