Sunday, December 29, 2013

2013 Book Personalities

For the last two years (First, Second), I have written review posts after reading ten books and given them "an award" – “Best This” and “Most That”, etc.; but it seems fitting to just review whatever I read throughout the entire year.  In 2013, I read thirteen WEM titles (ten was my goal) and nine additional books, for a total of twenty-two (woo hoo!).  

In high school, our senior class participated in Senior Personalties in which seniors voted for their favorites in different categories.  So I thought about what kind of personality I would give to each book I had read this year, if a book could have a personality based on its story, plot, particular character, author, or my experience.  Here are my final thoughts on each read if I could award them right now:

And the Book Personalities for 2013 are . . .
(Of the WEM titles:)

The Portrait of a Lady - Henry James  
Single Character Most Likely to Exasperate the Reader

Most Clever Way to Present Issue of Slavery

The Red Badge of Courage - Stephen Crane  
Most Surprisingly Appreciated Reread

Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad  
Absolute Least Favorite Experience

The House of Mirth - Edith Wharton  
A New Favorite Author Find

The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald  
Most Highly Anticipated First Read

Mrs. Dalloway - Virginia Woolf  
Most Excruciating Start
Most Likely Reader Will Survive

The Trial - Franz Kafka 
Most Likely an Odd Dream

Native Son - Richard Wright 
Most Urgent Message From an Author For His Time

The Stranger - Albert Camus  
Strangest Argument From an Author

1984 - George Orwell  
Most Provocative

Invisible Man Ralph Ellison 
 Best Emotional Roller-coaster Read 

Seize the Day Saul Bellow  
Best Psychological Read 
Most Impressive Composition and Style

(Of my additional reads:)

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - Mark Twain
Most Personally Celebrated

The Crucible Arthur Miller
Most Intriguing and Crafty Argument

The Hobbit J.R.R. Tolkien
Most Adventurous (Obviously)

O Pioneers! - Willa Cather
Fondest Read
 Most Likely I-Need-to-Read-More-Willa-Cather

The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde
Most Bewildering Plot

Persuasion - Jane Austen
Best Mature Love Story

Frankenstein - Mary Shelley
Most Tragic Story Idea Ever

A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
Most Satisfying and Memorable Read of 2013
Most Definite Reread

A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
Most Fulfilling, Never Disappointing Reread

So, how would you award your reads of 2013?


Cleo said...

As you probably already know, I loved the House of Mirth too! I'm reading The Great Gatsby in January and am not looking forward to it but it sounds like you had a good experience. Uh-oh! I'm reading Mrs. Dalloway in January too ……….. I hope it's not torture! Did you understand Heart of Darkness? When I read it, I kept feeling that there was something that I was missing; I felt pretty much the same way you did …… not an enjoyable read. I read Willa Cather's My Antonia and found it a wonderful book so, like you, I'm anticipating reading more of her works. I LOVED The Picture of Dorian Gray ……. well actually I hated it until 75% of the way through and then I really felt the cautionary impact of the story and how our life choices can send us down a very dark road. It was one of those stories that stayed with me long after I'd finished reading.

Your awards idea was very creative, Ruth. I really enjoyed reading it and how it gave me a little peep into each of the books mentioned!

o said...

Love this post :)

I hated Heart of Darkness, and felt that it went very much over my head.

Love your The Trial synopsis - that is it in a nutshell for me! :)

Hamlette (Rachel) said...

I disliked Heart of Darkness so much I read about three chapters and gave up because I was bored.

Mrs. Dalloway gave me headaches. I could only read about ten pages at a time. And yet, I finished it.

I love Tom Sawyer and am not all that fond of Huckleberry Finn. I get too frustrated by the Duke and the Dauphin.

The first time I read The Great Gatsby, I thought it was overrated. I reread it this year and loved it.

The Picture of Dorian Gray left me underwhelmed too.

Persuasion is my favorite Austen novel. <3

I'm going to begin rereading The Hobbit as soon as I finish one of the 3 books I'm currently reading. I'm going to give it one last chance to charm me.

Frankenstein is too depressing for me to like it much.

I should reread A Tale of Two Cities soon, as it's been years.

Cool post!

Ruth said...

Great Gatsby was one that I was grateful to have read given its popularity, and I have fond memories of it; I just had a difficult time answering TWEM questions b/c the plot was tricky.

When you read Dalloway, you may want to read it like it does not make sense. If you read some of my first posts about it, I had to learn how to read it first, or I was going to chuck it. I got help from Sarah Reads Too Much. It really helped.

And Heart of Darkness was awful. Then my husband and I watched Apocalypse Now b/c it was based on the book: spare yourself!

Ditto on Picture of Dorian Gray. Oh, and I do have to read the rest of the trilogy of Cather's. Absolutely appreciated her work.

Can you imagine having to come up with 70 personalities for all of the books you read this year???

Ruth said...


I am glad I am not the only one who didn't understand Heart of Darkness.

Kafka's The Trial was definitely odd, but I did not mind it at all.

Ruth said...

Thanks, Hamlette,

I notice that you are doing LOTR read-along; so have your read the Hobbit already?

I know what you mean about the Duke and Dauphin!!!! That was excruciating after awhile.

Hamlette (Rachel) said...

Apocalypse Now is based on Heart of Darkness? I'm so glad I quit reading it, then! That was one weird movie.

Cleo said...

I'm not too terrified of Mrs. Dalloway but only because I read To The Lighthouse twice this year and, after getting used to the stream of consciousness style, I quite liked it. I must read Mrs. D though because I promised a book group that I would, so there is no slipping out of it.

Oh my, the thought of coming up with 70 personalities makes me whoozy! I'm going to make myself a cup of tea now and will try to forget ……. ;-)

Hamlette (Rachel) said...

Yes, I've read The Hobbit three times -- twice in high school and then once about six years ago. This is my sixth time through LOTR. I'm planning to reread The Hobbit next month -- I have never loved it, but I keep hoping to like it better than I do.