My Top Reads of 2013 + Reading Goals for 2014

Mona Lisait- my favourite bookstore in Montreal
Mona Lisait- my favourite bookstore in Montreal

2013 was an interesting year reading-wise.  I became more interested in biographies and I read more than I had initially planned on reading; there’s something about reading about the life of great people that really appeals to me and inspires me. Additionally, I decided to apply to graduate school back in May, got accepted and began my programme in September. This means I will probably be reading more non-fiction in the coming months for research purposes.

As always, it’s really difficult to choose the best books I read this year. Here’s a list of 10 that I particularly loved, in no particular order (I’ve hyperlinked my original reviews in the book titles):

Rowena’s Top Reads of 2013

1.Americanah– Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

A book that I wasn’t even planning to read but that proved to be inspirational to me for more than a few reasons. A young African woman writing fiction with important social commentary. I’m a fan. (Thank you  to Vern and Claire for recommending this book to me).

2. The Colour Purple– Alice Walker

This book was inspiring as it showed me the resilience of the human spirit, as well as how powerful  sisterhood can be.

3. The Waves– Virginia Woolf

This is probably my favourite Woolf so far, so poetic and filled with beautiful language.

4. Swann’s Way– Marcel Proust

Proust is one of the most observant and sensitive writers I have ever come across. I’m now halfway through “In Search of Lost Time.”

5. The First Man– Albert Camus

Seeing Camus’ thought-process throughout this book was special.

6. Jane Eyre– Charlotte Bronte

The best English classic I’ve read so far. My copy is heavily highlighted for a reason!

7. Les Liaisions Dangereuses– Pierre Choderlos de LaClos

Lots of intrigue in this one!

8. A Long Walk to Freedom– Nelson Mandela

Everyone should read this book, plain and simple.

9. The Autobiography of Malcolm X

Absolutely enlightening.

10. The Diary of Anais Nin, Volume 3 (1939-1944)

There is so much I admire about Nin, especially her sensitive nature and her advocacy of the arts.


In 2013 I managed to read over 260 books. After some quick math, I realized that only 34% of the books I read this year were written by female authors. The figure hasn’t changed much from 2012. This leads me to my list of reading goals for 2014:

Rowena’s Reading Goals for 2014

  1. Read more female authors (at least 50% of my reading total)
  2. Read more African literature (both fiction and non-fiction)
  3. Read more Chinese literature to prepare for my research
  4. Read more Canadian literature
  5. Continue reading biographies

Thank you so much to everyone who reads and comments on my blog. I appreciate you all! Wishing you all the best in 2014:)


15 thoughts on “My Top Reads of 2013 + Reading Goals for 2014

  1. I really need to read Swann’s Way, I purchased a copy last Winter and it’s been on my shelves. I know nothing about the storyline which is exciting as I feel like most Classics I know the plot beforehand.
    Wow, 260! That’s incredible! 😀

  2. 260? Good heavens. I feel like an illiterate bumpkin now. LOL.
    Even though I don’t read as many biographies as I would like to, I agree that bios are the most inspirational forms of literature. Far more motivating than self-help books 😉

    Hope you had a good Xmas Ro-ro, and all the luck for 2014! ❤

    1. LOL @ Bumpkin, haha:D I realized I’d read 240 books, not 260, whoops! Oh yes, biographies over self-help any day!

      I had a great Christmas, hope you did too! Hope you get my card soon, I may have sent it a bit late. An awesome 2014 to you my dear ❤

  3. Reading is knowledge and knowledge is undeniably POWER. Thank you for inspiring us with a beautiful reading experience journey.. (You made 260 my 2014 challenge!). Anais Nin, Alice Walker, Woolf are some of my creative writing inspirations. Chimamanda the voice of my spirit… Camus & Proust the painful yet fulfilling memories of the French highscool years reading escapades. Malcom X, Mandela the architects of my fight against racial oppression, social injustice & bigotry.. Amidst the 260 you have unknowingly been revamping my bookshelves and enlightening my spirit. Interesting enough to add that one of the rational goals set for myself for 2014 was to indulge more in Black/ African literature via female authors…
    Unfortunately, the deficit of black/ African female writers is astounding. Considering Angela Davis, Octavia Butler, Paula Giddins..We will never have enough ChimamandaS, SelasieS, & LupitaS. Africa need more female writers. Our stories as daughters, sisters, mothers need to be heard, from our own perspective.. (Let me stop here before I offer you a free Phd essay Lol)
    Thank you Rowena <3. May this year be full of blissful discoveries and higher desire for empowerment through knowledge!
    Cheers & Blessings

    1. Oh wow, what a lovely comment! Thanks so much, Molhia! I’m so glad that I was able to inspire you to read more:) And I’m even more glad that you like Nin, Woolf etc. I don’t know what I would do without literature. Achebe and bell hooks inspired me to start writing in earnest and so literature helped open another world of possibilities to me.

      I hear you! We need more African female writers, we have such stories to tell! I have quite a few African women writers lined up and I’m really excited.

      I wish you all the best in 2014 as well! Please keep writing your amazing blog, God bless you, sis ❤

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