365 Books a Year Challenge: 46 Books in December

I have finished by quest to read a book a day and did a bit better (though more accounting the amount of graphic novels than anything else).  I read 412 books this year. Not too shabby!  With the end of the semester and some down time, I was hoping to read more traditional books but being hit with the flu and then the cold, made reading a bit harder.  However, I still had a good mixture of reads that I enjoyed.  So here are some of the best reads this month.

Newtown: An American Tragedy by Matthew Lysiak

Lysiak offers an investigative look at the Sandy Hook mass shooting in December 2012.  It's a powerful and intriguing book that balances the facts with the emotion.  He introduces the reader to all of the major people involved, sharing their history and they potential.  He does nto sugarcoat things but at the same time, he proves respectful in his descriptions.  It is a fascinating look at what unfolded and more importantly, a good look at the complexity of the challenges around mass shootings.
Book cover:  Reducing Gun Violence.  Source: http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1357930583l/17220135.jpg

Reducing Gun Violence in America: Informing Policy with Evidence and Analysis by Daniel Webster

Hand in hand with the above book is this book which was also born out of the Sandy Hook massacre.  While Lysiak's book puts a face to the events and challenges around mass shootings, Webster's collection of essays by different authors approach the mass shootings from any analytical vantage point, using research and existing evidence around gun violence to determine ways and opportunities of reducing it.  It offers many different approaches, none of which are monumental or unachievable and many of which do not necessarily challenge most people's thoughts around legality and appropriate level of response.  

Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think by Viktor Mayer-Schönberger

Mayer-Schönberger offers an interesting look at what the world can look like with the increasing use of big-data t reveal correlations and connections of access.  There is certainly much to be concerned about as he points out in using big data to identify correlations over causations, but there is much to gained and it will be a tightly-walked line (if done right).  The book helps to better explain what is meant by "big data" and the myriad ways it can be used (or has been used) to improve the world.

Scared Straight: Why It's So Hard to Accept Gay People and Why It's So Hard to Be Human by Robert Minor

Minor's book is rather complex for the lay reader but extremely profound and useful for everyone as it identifies the elements of "straight culture" that reinforce a variety of expectations, demands, and problems in our culture.  He teases out a variety of perceptions about how our culture pushes people towards being "straight."  He's careful to distinguish between being heterosexual and being straight, seeing them as quite different.  That is, heterosexuality is understood as the desire and attraction to members of the (perceived) opposite sex whereas "straight" is the ways that attraction is expected to be displayed.  It's a powerful book that many could glean much from as it comes to how we understand our own and others sexuality.
Book cover:  The Lost Boy by Greg Ruth.  Image Source:  http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1365465556l/17265276.jpg

The Lost Boy by Greg Ruth

Ruth's The Lost Boy threw me for a loop.  I anticipated it to be just another graphic novel to enjoy but he craftily assembles a story that fits into the tradition of The Neverending Story, Labyrinth, or the Bridge to Terabithia.  It is a typical fantasy coming-of-age story of a boy who moves into a house where he discovers that another boy has gone missing and gets entangled in finding out what happened to the "lost boy."  I found the art and the story just well developed and engaging.  I may have to go back and read some of his other stuff.  

Reading Tallies for Each Month

So for a recap of the previous months and what I've read, you can check out the link listing below or check out my Goodreads profile for a listing of all books read this year (and previously).
So that my reading challenge for 2013.  I've honed in on my challenge for 2014 and will be updated everyone on that shortly.  For those that have actually read and kept up to date with my ramblings on my monthly readings-thanks!


  • Social Media for Educators: Strategies and Best Practices by Tanya Joosten
  • Super Graphic: A Visual Guide to the Comic Book Universe by Tim Leong


  • Culture and Anarchy by Matthew Arnold
  • Increasing Our Longing to Help Others by Pema Chödrön
  • The App Generation: How Today's Youth Navigate Identity, Intimacy, and Imagination in a Digital World by Howard Gardner
  • The Motherfucker With the Hat by Stephen Adly Guirgis
  • Wayne of Gotham by Tracy Hickman
  • Newtown: An American Tragedy by Matthew Lysiak
  • Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think by Viktor Mayer-Schönberger
  • Scared Straight: Why It's So Hard to Accept Gay People and Why It's So Hard to Be Human by Robert Minor
  • Reducing Gun Violence in America: Informing Policy with Evidence and Analysis by Daniel Webster
  • Pretty Fire by Charlayne Woodward
  • The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial: A Drama In Two Acts by Herman Wouk


  • Wolverine: Season One by Ben Acker
  • All-New X-Men, Vol. 3: Out of Their Depth by Brian Michael Bendis
  • Darth Vader and Son by Jeffrey Brown
  • Vader's Little Princess by Jeffrey Brown
  • Sex: Book One: The Summer of Hard by Joe Casey
  • Iron Man: Season One by Howard Chaykin
  • Avengers Assemble: Science Bros by Kelly Sue DeConnick
  • Monkey King, Volume 1: Birth of the Stone Monkey by Wei Dong Chen
  • Harbinger Volume 2: Renegades TP by Joshua Dysart 
  • Harbinger Vol. 3: Harbinger Wars by Joshua Dysart
  • Fantastic Four Volume 2: Road Trip by Matt Fraction
  • Fantastic Four, Vol. 1: New Departure, New Arrivals by Matt Fraction
  • Goliath by Tom Gauld
  • Invincible Universe Volume 1 by Phil Hester
  • The Manhattan Projects, Vol. 3: Building! by Jonathan Hickman
  • Cable and X-Force, Vol. 2: Dead or Alive by Dennis Hopeless
  • Uncanny X-Force, Vol. 2: Torn and Frayed by Sam Humphries
  • Uncanny X-Force, Vol. 1: Let It Bleed by Sam Humphries
  • Green Lantern, Vol. 3: The End by Geoff Johns
  • Daredevil: Season One by Antony Johnston
  • The Walking Dead, Vol. 19: March to War by Robert Kirkman
  • Hawk and Dove, Vol. 1: First Strikes by Rob Liefeld
  • The Savage Hawkman, Vol. 2: Wanted by Rob Liefeld
  • Batman Incorporated, Vol. 1: Demon Star by Grant Morrison
  • Lazarus, Vol. 1: Family by Greg Rucka
  • The Lost Boy by Greg Ruth
  • The Superior Spider-Man, Vol. 3: No Escape by Dan Slott
  • The Joker: Death of the Family by Scott Snyder
  • Thor: Season One by Matthew Sturges
  • Batman and Robin, Vol. 3: Death of the Family by Peter Tomasi
  • X-O Manowar Volume 3: Planet Death by Robert Venditti
  • X-Men, Vol. 1: Primer by Brian Wood
  • The Massive, Vol. 2: Subcontinental by Brian Wood

So what did you read in the last year that you found enjoyable, useful, or inspiring?

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