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Endeavors in the 1 Year 50 Books Challenge

Updated on June 26, 2014

Did I Get to 50 Books?

So what you may be wondering if you are reading this article is whether or not I got through 50 books in the year of 2013. The answer is no. Why? Because a tornado ate my apartment. Literally, I lost my apartment in a tornado and was unable to finish because it happened in mid-November and I was essentially homeless for a little while.

You know what sucks about tornados? Losing your bookshelves full of books. All of the books. All of them gone.

But I did get pretty darn far in my 50 book challenge, and I know it took forever to update everyone on the results following my post about taking on the challenge, but I am excited to share the results with you guys!


My (Almost) 50 Books

So here is the long awaited list of the books I read throughout the year of 2013:

1. The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien

2. The Fellowship of the Ring Book I (rr) - J.R.R. Tolkien

3. The Fellowship of the Ring Book II (rr) - J.R.R. Tolkien

4. The Two Towers Book I - J.R.R. Tolkien

5. The Two Towers Book II - J.R.R. Tolkien

6. The Return of the King Book I - J.R.R. Tolkien

7. The Return of the King Book II - J.R.R. Tolkien

8. Conceal and Confront - David E. Sanger

9. The Anatomy of Peace - Emery Reves

10. My Hope for America - Lyndon Johnson

11. A Game of Thrones - George R.R. Martin

12. A Clash of Kings - George R.R. Martin

13. A Storm of Swords - George R.R. Martin

14. A Feast of Crows - George R.R. Martin

15. A Dance of Dragons - George R.R. Martin

16. The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins

17. Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins

19. Mokingjay - Suzanne Collins

20. Perfect - Ellen Hopkins

21. Tilt - Ellen Hopkins

22. The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky

23. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - Ransom Riggs (rr)

24. World War Z - Max Brooks

25. Romeo and Juliet - William Shakespeare (rr)

26. Hamlet - William Shakespeare (rr)

27. Antony and Cleopatra - William Shakespeare (rr)

28. Fox Nation vs. Reality - Mark Howard

29. Lucy in the Sky - Anonymous

30. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - J.K. Rowling (rr)

31. Audition - Michael Shurtleff

32. A Rumor of Dragons - Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman

33. Go Ask Alice - Anonymous (rr)

34. Death of a Salesman - Arthur Miller (rr)

35. The Crucible - Arthur Miller (rr)

36. Divergent - Veronica Roth

37. The Illiad - Homer (rr)

38. The Odyssey - Homer (rr)

39. The Inferno - Dante

40. Dr. Faustus - Christopher Marlowe

41. Bloody, Bloody, Andrew Jackson - Alex Timbers

42. The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) [Revised] - Daniel Singer, Adam Long, and Jess Winfield

43. A Raisin in the Sun - Lorraine Hanaberry (rr)

44. Noises Off! - Michael Frayn (rr)

45. Ivy Briefs - Martha Kimes (rr)

46. Presidents of the White House - Nathan Lee

47. First Ladies of the White House - Nathan Lee

The books from A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin, well known for its reproduction as a TV series on HBO known as Game of Thrones.
The books from A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin, well known for its reproduction as a TV series on HBO known as Game of Thrones. | Source

Some Interesting Statistics

I wanted to include some interesting statistics to not only give people an idea of exactly how much reading I did in one year, but to also show people that not enough reading is taking place in America today.

To address the second of these two points I will give you some statistics from a HuffPost/YouGov poll from 2013:

People who read 0 books in the past year: 28%

People who read between 1 and 5 books in the past year: 25%

People who read between 6 and 10 books in the past year: 15%

People who read between 11 and 50 books in the past year: 20%

People who read more than 50 books in the past year: 8%

Now we come back to the first point I wanted to address. Below are some figures about the largest books that I read during the past year. Note, these facts are only about the largest books I read during the year of 2013, not the entire list of books. This should give everyone a really good idea of just how much can be accomplished in one year, and should encourage the fact that if I had picked smaller books, I could have easily gotten far more books done. But oh well, I just can't help myself when it comes to J.R.R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, or George R.R. Martin. So here are those facts/statistics:

Word Count of A Song of Ice and Fire Series by George R.R. Martin:

A Game of Thrones - 298,000

A Clash of Kings - 326,000

A Storm of Swords - 424,000

A Feast for Crows - 300,000

A Dance with Dragons - 422,000

Total Word Count - 1,770,000

Word Count for The Hobbit and The Lord of Rings Series by J.R.R. Tolkien:

The Hobbit - 95,356

The Fellowship of the Rings - 187,790

The Two Towers - 156,198

The Return of the King - 137,115

Total Word Count - 576,459

Word Count of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling


So what was the total word count of these books? The total word count of the above books alone was 2,603,504 words. That is a huge number of words to read through. Now I picked the word count to present because I find that very interesting. If we are talking about pages we are looking at approximately 7,590 pages.

By the way, I am a rather slow reader coming in at only about 181 words per minute. I do however have a 91% comprehension rate, which gives me a 164.71 ewpm (or efficient words per minute). So while I don't read as quickly as I would like, I do have a rather good retention rate for what I am reading. If you would like to calculate your own reading scores I will have the link listed below for a simple online test.


Let's Get Reading!

I would just like to round out this article by encouraging everyone to read more! And if you have kids, encourage them to read more as well! It is so important that we keep people reading throughout their lives. Read anything and everything you want! I found recently that I really like reading biographies/autobiographies of people who have lived through traumatic experiences, which is likely due to my recent traumatic experience with the tornado and dealing with my PTSD. I also love reading epic fantasy and it will always be my go to choice! Find what you love and go after it! If you like reading about computer programming, find a book on the subject and keep reading.

I hope that others will find that taking on this challenge, or something similar is a good way to spend a year! I really loved reading through all these books, and it was fun to add to the challenge that I needed to read some books I hadn't read before and that I needed to read books from multiple genres.


Here are the sources I used in this article:

Crum, Maddie. "POLL: 28 Percent Of Americans Have Not Read A Book In The Past Year." The Huffington Post., 07 Oct. 2013. Web.

Abalieno. "Word Count of Popular (and Hefty) Epics." The Cesspit. N.p., 6 Mar. 2009. Web.

"Tolkien's Books Analysed." Word Count in Tolkien's Books. N.p., n.d. Web.

"Progressive Word Count in Harry Potter Series." WritersBeatcom RSS. N.p., n.d. Web.

© 2014 Alyssa Barron


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