Several years ago I discovered setting a goal for how many books I could read in a year sort of pushed me to read more than usual. While I love Shelfari.com and the groups they have to promote this idea- the group "50 Books in a Year" is very daunting.
I have never read quite that many (unless you count picture books to the kiddos), but I have found that 35 is a nice number that pushes me to read a little quicker and try different genres. This also includes any audio books that I listen to, usually that is about a half dozen a year.
I did hit 35 this year- and I am going to weed through them and give you my top picks. (Not in any particular order, I can never pick a 'favorite' because that changes day to day.)
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
This is a great little book with a strange twist on the retired life. When Harold receives a mysterious letter from a friend that he knew decades ago, his life of chair sitting and TV watching gets turned upside-down. I loved this sweet book, it was unexpected, simple, and warm. It leaves you to ponder what parts of yourself you give up when you don't live life with a purpose, and it leaves you inspired by an every day man who decides to walk for a cause. Lovely sentences such as "He walked so surely it was as if all his life he had been waiting to get up from his chair." and "Everyone was the same, and also unique, and that was the dilema of being a human being." remind you not all writers are created equal. Perfect to warm your heart on a wintry day.
The Night Circus by Erin Mortgensen
I read this book completely blind, meaning I had no true review or summary to go off of. I loved it that way, so I will say very little here, too. You probably have heard people talk about it by now, anyway...suffice it to say it is different from most books you have probably read this year. It is imagiative, luxurious, and sensual (but not graphic in any way), and written in a way that makes you want to read it all the day you pick it up. The plot isn't necessarily stellar or shocking, but there is enough other bits of story telling fun and written loveliness that you won't care. After ward, enjoy the Night Circus pins and fan based trailers all over the place online. Pure escapism......