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Chris Blocker

Literary snobbery and other thoughts by Chris Blocker

Currently reading

Life on Mars
Jennifer Brown
The Family Under the Bridge
Natalie Savage Carlson

2013 Year in Review

We Have Always Lived in the Castle - Shirley Jackson, Thomas Ott, Jonathan Lethem The Luminaries - Eleanor Catton The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter - Carson McCullers The Interestings: A Novel - Meg Wolitzer Disgrace - J.M. Coetzee The People in the Trees - Hanya Yanagihara The Lowland - Jhumpa Lahiri War and Peace - Larissa Volokhonsky, Richard Pevear, Leo Tolstoy The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards - Kristopher Jansma A Constellation of Vital Phenomena: A Novel - Anthony Marra

It's probably a bit cliché to look over the past year and review it, but because I love lists, I am a victim of the tradition. Here are a few of my 2013 reading/writing highlights.


The Weeds Shall Inherit

Early in the year I finished a complete draft of my novel, The Weeds Shall Inherit. I did some further research, enlisted some beta-readers, and completed another complete draft mid-year. Soon after, I found out my novel-in-progress was much too long. Industry standard says first-time novelists should debut works between 80-110,000 words. My novel stood at over 150,000 words. So, I've spent much of the year whittling away words. Current word count: 139,000. :/ (But if any agents ask, I'll round down.)


Reads of 2013

I read 65 books and approximately 24,200 pages this year. That's an average of 375 pages per book. Not bad at all (for me anyway). I finally got back around to War and Peace, and I finished reading A Series of Unfortunate Events to the kids. If there's a singular theme for this year, I think it would be newness. The year was full of many authors whose works I've never before read. Favorite reads of the year included

  • We Have Always Lived in the Castle, Shirley Jackson
  • War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
  • The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, Carson McCullers
  • The Luminaries, Eleanor Catton
  • Disgrace, J.M. Coetzee


Favorite Reads Published in 2013

I made it a point this year to read more current books. Of the 65 books I read this year, 24 were published in 2013. Of these my favorites were

  • The Luminaries, Eleanor Catton
  • The Interestings, Meg Wolitzer
  • The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards, Kristopher Jansma
  • The Lowland, Jhumpa Lahiri
  • The People in the Trees,  Hanya Yanagihara
  • Domesticated Wild Things, Xhenet Aliu
  • A Consellation of Vital Phenomena, Anthony Marra


What's in store for 2014?

One clichéd post deserves another, don't you think?