Book Jar Round Up

As the end of the year is almost upon us (almost!) I figure it’s time for a Book Jar Summary.

So, as you may recall when the jar began back in March, 70 titles went in there- 22 kindle books and 48 actual paper books.

And how many are in there today you ask?

Well…65 actually.


So, what have I read this year?


Generation X by Douglas Coupland (p)

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles (p)

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson (p)

We Were Liars by E L Lockhart (k)

Black Milk by Elif Shafak (p)


When Dan Lived in the Woods by Dan Wakeling (k)

The Rabbit Back Literature Society by Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen (k)

Sex and Violence by Carrie Mesrobian (k)

The P45 Diaries by Ben Hatch (k)

The Boy’s Own Manual to Being a Proper Jew by Eli Glasman (k)

City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare (k)

City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare (k)

The Superfox by Ava Lovelace (k) *ahem*

The Lumberfox by Ava Lovelace (k) *aHEM*

The Bridge by Rebecca Rogers Maher (k)

Morgue Drawer Four by Jutta Profijt (k)

BED by David Whitehouse (k)

The Humans by Matt Haig (l)

Lullabies for Little Criminals by Heather O’Neill (l)

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant (p)

So Much For That by Lionel Shriver (l)

The Color Purple by Alice Walker (l)

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (l)

Slam by Nick Hornby (l)

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (l)

Five separate Agatha Christie’s Poirot books (p)


Birthing from Within by Pam England (p)

The Doula Book (p)

Birth Space, Safe Place by Adela Stockton (p)

Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering by Sarah Buckley (p)

Bloom, a memoir by Kelle Hampton (p)


Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone by J K Rowling (p) I have just finished re-reading this, one-chapter-per-night at bedtime, to our five year old and he LOVED it.


May We Be Forgiven by A M Homes (k)

Seoul Survivors by Naomi Foyle (k)

The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (l)

My Hollywood by Mona Simpson (k)

The Girl in the Box Book 1 by Robert J Crane (k)

That last list is unusually long this year, I don’t know why but I’ve had a much lower threshold for ‘giving up’.  That said, there’s only one of those (the first one) that I have totally given up on (as in, skipped to the end to see if I was right about a hunch I had- I wasn’t, and then deleted it off my kindle and don’t ever intend to try reading it again)  The rest were more “I’m not feeling it- maybe some other time”.  Particularly The Time Traveller’s Wife, which so many people have raved to me about, and had a hint of wonderful about it, but honestly I just found immensely confusing.  It was a library book though and due back imminently which I think didn’t help, that and the fact I was reading it in hospital during my IVIg, where there are interruptions from machines and nurses and other patients.  I found I was having to re-read pages over again and when that happens, you know I’m out.

Of the 36 books I DID finish this year, there were a lot of really good ones and a handful of new all-time favourites.  I particularly loved Rules of Civility, Life After Life (which I gave to my Mum to read immediately after finishing), Sex and Violence, So Much For That, The Humans and Morgue Drawer Four.  Although honestly, just scanning those first two lists has reminded me that I’ve enjoyed pretty much everything I’ve read this year.

What’s interesting is that a lot of what I’ve read (book jar suggestions or otherwise) have been written from a first person male point of view, the POV I am writing my own book from.   So I don’t know how much that decision has influenced what books I’ve chosen or if it’s just coincidence.  But some of them have really reminded me how passionate I am about that as a decision.  (Although it didn’t really feel like a decision as such, or if it was, it was one I made unconsciously a long long time ago when the character first came to me back in 2004!)

So back to The Jar:

book jar

As an experiment, I’ve got to admit, the results haven’t been as successful as I’d hoped.  I imagined halving my TBR pile, but then that was never going to be realistic, because I ‘acquire’ new books all the time- from the library, bought, swapped, or given as gifts…so the pile was always going to be shrinking and growing at the same time, I guess I just imagined the jar would cut out that period in-between books where I dither about what to pick up next.  Actually, it’s been handy for that, but there have been times where the reason I’ve dithered is because I am not in the ‘mood’ for what’s in front of me, and that’s something the jar can never help with.

I’ve been weighing up whether to continue with it as a ‘project’ in 2015, and I figure, why not?  The jar may as well stay, and from time to time, just like this year, I’ll probably dip my hand in and have a go at whatever I pick out…BUT I also have a new plan in the pipeline for next year when it comes to my reading habits, so I’ll be doing the two alongside each other.

As for what that is…stay tuned 😉

(Oh and if anyone was wondering about the the letters in brackets beside each book, here’s the key:

k= kindle book p= paper book l= library book

and for interested parties 😉 the split was 23 traditional books compared to 13 e-books this year)


3 thoughts on “Book Jar Round Up

  1. Angela 20/12/2014 / 1:13 pm

    The Book Jar is a great idea! I have never heard of this.

    • rlholland 23/12/2014 / 8:44 am

      Ah, I can’t take credit for the idea I’m afraid! I first saw it over on Beth’s blog at although I have spotted similar ideas other places too, like Pinterest etc. I thought it was a nice way to keep track of my To Be Read pile although as you can see- it doesn’t necessarily mean I’ve actually made much progress with it! 😉

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