My Out of the Burrow: Meeting 2013 post summarized my intentions for the past reading year and, really, they remain the same for this coming year.

In every case, I improved, but when it comes to reading about wellness and creativity, I’d like to do more. And I truly planned to refresh more concertedly, both with rereading and with life off-the-page.

Each of the books mentioned below was a standout read for me, but the books which have truly smacked me hard this year are on my list of favourites for the year here.

I know, I know: there’s something to be said for pulling attention to the list of favourites here instead, but in many ways I am more of a longlist-lover. But please follow the link to see the others too.

And, yes, I realize even that is a long list, but each of the books on my list of favourites has at least one character who crosses my mind even now, sometimes months after the fact, and I don’t want to leave even one of them out. (Anyway, it amounts to about 10% of my reading for the year: that’s not unreasonable, right?)

Inanna Publications, 2012

Inanna Publications, 2012

In the meantime, there were lots of good books in my reading year. Many of which coincided with my intentions for the past (and coming) reading year.

To review, the list began with Persist.
Don’t shy away from long books. And emphasize stick-to-it-ive-ness in other aspects of life as well. In other words, after failing, try again.

Eight books, 500 pages or more, in this reading year. Admittedly, there is still one chunkster that has been casting a shadow on my stack for months now, but I’m not giving up on it either. Particularly because one of my favourites of this reading year fits here perfectly, the sort of book I once would have avoided.

Then, More music, on and off the page.
There was more musical reading in my year than usual: Lydia Perovic’s Incidental Music, Paul Headrick’s That Tune Clutches My Heart and The Doctrine of Affections, and Teddy Wayne’s The Love Song of Jonny Valentine. And I definitely listened to more music in 2013.

Next, Explore.
Places I have been. Lots of Toronto-based stories, from Evan Munday’s Quarter-Life Crisis: Only the Good Die Yung to the Toronto Book Award nominees, fromn Jowita Bydlowska’s Drunk Mom to Cary Fagan’s A Bird’s Eye. And Ontario-rooted tales, from Craig Davidson’s Cataract City to Hilary Scharper’s Perdita to Tanis Rideout’s Arguments with the Lake.

Places I travelled to on the page. From Naomi Fontaine’s Kuessipan (translated by David Homel) in the Innu territory (northeast of what is now called Quebec) to Bessie Head’s Maru, from Jessica Anderson’s Australia to Sahar Delijani’s Iran in Children of the Jacaranda Tree, from Shyam Selvadurai’s Sri Lanka in The Hungry Ghosts to campus life in British Columbia in Michael Hingston’s The Dilettantes.

Also, Take care.
Memoirs about wellness and aging, from Tamara Levine’s But Hope is Longer:Navigating the Country of Breast Cancer to Julie Macfie Sobol’s and Ken Sobol’s Love and Forgetting: A Husband and Wife’s Journey through Dementia.

And, Eat well.
A number of cookbooks inspired the food on our plates this year, including Clotilde Dusoulier’s The French Market Cookbook (2013), Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage Veg: 200 Inspired Vegetable Recipes (2013), Mark Bittman’s VB6 (2013) and, a true favourite, Miriam Sorrell’s Mouthwatering Vegan (2013).

Random House Canada, 2013

Random House Canada, 2013

But perhaps even more importantly, I now check those library shelves and occasionally pull off a new cookbook with the enthusiasm previously reserved for fiction rather than simply scampering past. I just nabbed Joel Fuhrman’s Eat to Live and have already marked a few recipes to try.

Furthermore, Look beyond the headlines.
Gary Fostaty’s As You Were: The Tragedy at ValcartierCarolyn Abraham’s The Juggler’s Children, and Sally Armstrong’s Ascent of Women made me think. They all adjusted my perspective on issues that I had previously overlooked or had thought of from a different angle.

And then there are those books that ask hard questions like those posed in the fiction of Amanda Leduc and Michael Winter and the not-quite-fiction of Sheila Heti’s How Should a Person Be? which stand out in this reading year too.

Live creatively.
Letters of writers like Hugh MacLennan and Marian Engel and Gabrielle Roy and Margaret Laurence. Browsing through books by folks like Sara Fanelli, Sark, and Jo Packham.

Finally, Refresh.
Timothy Findley’s The Wars, Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood. Alice Munro’s stories in Open Secrets, both favourite collections.

I don’t actually have specific reading goals in mind, but I do have reading projects underway. More about those soon. I have a fresh stack of nine books, seven fresh reads and two rereads, currently keeping my company as I move about the house.

How about you? How was your past reading year and how are you feeling about this current reading year? Did you read anything that you would like to recommend for one of the reading categories above? How many books are in your current stack, and which ones truly excite you? Do tell!