For some crazy, inexplicable reason, I challenged myself to read one book a week this year.

Ha!

I don’t know what I was thinking, except that I believed if others could do it—reviewers, people with full time jobs, authors in the midst of writing their own books, and book lovers all over the world—so could I.

Competition be damned! I had the opportunity and time, but often not the interest. There were times when I was so hungry to read that I devoured books like candy treats and quickly moved on to the next one. Then, there were times I simply wanted to veg out in front of Top Chef or Chopped or Private Practice or an old movie or Jimmy Kimmel Live.

Quite frankly, I don’t know how people do it! When my kids were younger, I read while waiting for the soccer practice, the piano lesson, or the tutoring session to end. I can still read up to three books simultaneously, but it takes the same time it would if I read them one at a time.

Unabridged audio books work for me. Downside: I spend far too much time in my garage waiting for a chapter to end, but that’s a good thing. (BTW: I’m too chicken to listen to the audio version of Passing Love. I’m sure it’s done well, but I’ve got my own idea of Ruby and Nicole’s voices and I’m not ready for another’s interpretation. If you listen, let me know your thoughts.) Proud to say that I’m finishing my first ebook! (Passing Love e-version 2012)The experience isn’t as bad as I thought it would be. (Still, there’s nothing prettier and more inspiring than books lined up on the shelf.)

I’m proud of my list. The language, story, and characters in some of these novels are breathtaking.

Lethal, Sandra Brown
A Gathering of Water, Bernice McFadden
The Second Time we Met, Leila Cobo
Hiroshima in the Morning, Reiko Rizzuto
Weird Sisters, Eleanor Brown
Substitute Me, Lori Tharps
Open City, Teju Cole
Those Across the River, Christopher Buehlman
Three Junes, Julia Glass
The Memory of Love, Aminatta Forna
The Lover, Marguerite Dumas
Caught, Harlen Coben
Salvage the Bones, Jesmyn Ward
Bonsai, Alejandro Zambra
The State of Wonder, Ann Patchett
The Cutting Season, Attica Locke
This is How You Lose Her, Junot Diaz
The History of Love, Nicole Krauss
Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn

What was your favorite book this year?