2013: Resolutions in Review: Books and Movies

Happy New Year and Welcome 2014!

Every year as I crack open a new journal, I think of a line from one of my favorite book series where the main character also starts a new journal each year.

“Isn’t it mysterious to begin a new journal like this?  I can run my fingers through the fresh clean pages but I cannot guess what the writing on them will be.  It is almost as though I were ushered into the Winding Hall of Fate, but next day’s destiny was hidden behind a turning.” – Betsy Ray, Betsy in Spite of Herself by Maud Hart Lovelace


But before we start talking about 2014, I need to close the loop on 2013 and the resolutions I made last year.

I made several of them, but since I am not taller, thinner, a lottery winner or married to George Clooney, I’d like to focus on the ones where I was more successful:

In 2013, I vowed to read 24 books  and watch 100 movies.  Which I did! (24 books and 102 movies to be exact.)



Here is a list of the books I read and the ratings I gave them.  As you can see from the number of 5 and 4-star ratings, I had great luck and chose many terrific books.  I recommend that you give some of them a try!

5 Stars: 

  • Can you Keep a Secret by Sophie Kinsella
  • Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
  • When We Were the Kennedys by Monica Wood (Maine Writer! Maine Writer! Maine Writer!)
  • The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  • Revenge of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz
  • The Spellmans Strike Again by Lisa Lutz
  • Everything Matters by Ron Currie, Jr. (Maine Writer! Maine Writer! Maine Writer!)
  • If You Were Here by Jen Lancaster
  • Manhunt by James L. Swanson
  • Slashback by Rob Thurman
  • Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted by Jennifer Armstrong
  • I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella

4 Stars:

  • Minding Frankie by Maeve Binchy
  • Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple
  • The Obituary Writer by Ann Hood

3 Stars:

  • The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  • Holmes on the Range by Steve Hockensmith
  • From Notting Hill with Love Actually by Ali McNamara
  • Vanessa and Virginia by Susan Sellers

2 Stars:

  • Loop Group by Larry McMurtry
  • The Gravedigger by Rob Magnuson Smith

1 Star:

  • 50 Shades of Grey by EL James  (Yes, yes, yes.  I read it.  No offense to the folks who loved this book, but I just didn’t like the characters and if I don’t care about anyone, I just don’t like the book.)

For 2014: I am going to to increase my goal to 28 and add a slight wrinkle.  I am in the fortunate position that I actually know a lot of published authors either through Maine Writers & Publisher Alliance or my friends at Booktrope.  Many of them have been kind and generous enough to read and review my book, but I haven’t been very good about returning the favor. So, in 2014 I’m going to make sure that at least every other book I read is written by someone I know.




My self-imposed rule was that I couldn’t count any movie I’d seen before.  Without this rule, I would have hit 100 movies by July based on viewings of The Princess Bride alone.  I’m not going to bore you with the full list of movies, but since I have a weird love of data crunching, here are the stats:

How/Where Did I Watch?:

  • Netflix – 39; Redbox – 26; Theater – 24; Broadcast TV – 7; Borrowed a friend’s DVD – 6

What Types of Movies Did I Watch?:

  • Drama – 34; Comedy – 22; Romantic Comedy – 10; Documentary – 9; Sci-Fi/Fantasy – 9; Action/Adventure – 7; Family – 5; Horror – 4;  Musicals – 2

Okay, now that we’ve gotten my pathological need to sort and categorize out of the way… Here are my most and least favorites:


  • Zero Dark Thirty
  • The Quartet
  • 42
  • Captain Phillips
  • Skyfall
  • The Conjuring

A weird fact… I saw all of these movies in the theater.  I think that goes to prove the fact that movies should be experienced – not just watched.


  • Gravity (Yes.  I know I am the only person in the universe (literally) that hated this movie.  I stand by my opinion.)
  • The Wolf of Wall Street (I’m pretty sure Martin Scorcese is considered so awesome that no one dared to tell him his movie was overlong and utterly unwatchable.)
  • The Big Wedding (Great cast that deserved better)
  • Hansel and Gretel (I was rooting for the witch)
  • Jeff Who Lives at Home (Jeff needs to get a job)
  • Promised Land (Love, love, love Matt Damon and John Krasinsky.  It was just painfully dull.)

For 2014:  I am going to keep my goal the same – 100 movies I haven’t seen.  It was a stretch  goal that was hard to accomplish, but not impossible.

So, did anyone else watch any movies or read any books this year that they want to share?  Do you want to duke it out over my hatred of Gravity?  Feel free to comment below.

And Happy 2014!!!

One thought on “2013: Resolutions in Review: Books and Movies

Leave a Reply to Ken Shapiro Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s