Books to Read in 2013

I have to confess that 2012 should probably go down in history as the year in my adult life when I read the fewest books.

I was busier in 2012 than I have been in past years; this is true.  Between juggling a part-time job with three school-aged kids - and all the homework, projects, and sports practices that come with said three school-aged kids - as well as experiencing what a normal pregnancy looks like for me for the first 17-18 weeks (awful, just awful; I'll spare you the details), curling up with a good book fell way, way, way down on my list of things to do.

Blogging fell off that list of things to do, too, but that's a post for another day.

While the uber-busyness of the fall of 2012 contributed to me not reading more than a bit here or there, I fell off the reading bandwagon even earlier in 2012.  I've been trying to put my finger on why, exactly, I stopped reading as voraciously as I normally do and I came up with a few key reasons.

One, I found myself undergoing some serious spiritual growth in 2012. I attended a parish retreat (CRHP) in the spring that challenged me on many levels and I then continued on to be part of the team giving the next Women's CRHP team in the fall.  The six month formation period for our fall retreat was amazing but also a huge time commitment each week.

I've been part of a women's bible study for moms for the past three years and have also spent a lot of time listening to Catholic podcasts like this one (or this one, or this one) and I've also read a few good books about Catholicism in that time.  I think all of those really laid the foundation for the spiritual growth I experienced last year, growth I am still experiencing.

Between my commitment to CRHP and the reading that was more spiritual in nature, reading fiction just for fun either didn't fit into my free time or didn't spark my interest at all.

Which leads to my second reason....

Two, there is a lot of really bad fiction out there.  Yes, there is also a lot of really great fiction out there as well, but let's be honest: there are many books on the NY Times Bestseller list that are just.plain.trash - stylistically and/or subject-wise.  I'm getting too old and have always been too impatient to waste my time reading bad books.

Since I have little time to search out good books at the library as I am usually helping my offspring look for something to read, I was limited to dashing into the "New Books" section and scanning the shelves for either a familiar author's name or a compelling title.  I didn't really see much that begged for me to stay up into the wee hours of the night, sacrificing sleep and sanity so I could get to the end of the book before dawn.

Three,  I have developed some utterly lazy iPhone habits.  Even though I purged my Google Reader down to just some bare bones feeds from blogs and news sources, I still have quite a bit of new content updated daily.  I fell into the habit of scrolling through that content at the end of the day rather than picking up a book from my bedside table.

The irony of this is that I also have a Kindle on that bedside table, one that is fairly dusty with neglect right now.  It would seem an easy swap - put down the iPhone, pick up the Kindle instead.  But here's the thing: while it's useful to have a Kindle, it will never be my first pick for reading a book.  A book is a sensory experience: the weight of it in your hands; the feel of the pages; the smell of the ink.  A Kindle just can't duplicate what makes a book A Book.

But it is a new year and with a new baby coming, I know I'll actually have a lot more time to read in 2013 than in 2012.  It sounds nuts - who has any time for anything with a new baby in the house - but with my other three, I found myself always keeping a few books tucked away in the armchair pocket of the rocking chair where I nursed them.  And so it will be with this one as well, I'm sure.

I decided to dust off my Goodreads account (you can follow me here) and to help my reading mojo back, I created a list of 25 books to read in 2013; you can see them in the Goodreads widget I posted in my sidebar.

I only added 25 books to the list because I'm sure I'll discover more books in all sorts of incidental and tangential ways as I journey through 2013.  I'm also still a member of From Left to Write and I'm looking forward to posting reflections on the books we'll read in 2013 as well.

I'd love to add more books to my list, so tell me: what do you recommend I read in 2013?