Wednesday, November 2, 2011

2010 Reading Wrap Up

My 2010 Reading Wrap-Up

  • Jan. 2nd, 2011 at 5:00 PM
A look back at a year in reading….
I read 207 books in 2010, seven more than I finished in 2009. From that total, 88 of the books are from a book series, either young adult, mystery or romance. Some are new series that I got sucked in to this year; others are from series that I’ve been following for years. I read a lot of romances in 2010, and reread quite a few books. Books are my escape, and I really needed one in 2010.

By the Numbers
Total: 207
Number of books that I'd read before: 45
Non-Fiction: 10
Mysteries: 26
Romance: 112
Sci-Fi/Fantasy: 18
Young Adult: 19
Anthologies/Short Story Collections: 6
Here are the books that stood out for me in 2010...
“A Matter of Class” by Mary Balogh. Balogh writes a great romance, but this novella, released near the start of the year, was so good that when I finished my library copy, I went online and ordered a copy of my own. And then I reread it this month when I was looking for an escape.
Other good romances include “A Lady’s Guide to Improper Behavior” by Suzanne Enoch, “A Countess Below Stairs” by Eva Ibbotson, “Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake” by Sarah Maclean and “Love in the Afternoon” by Lisa Kleypas, the finale in her Hathaway family series. I recommend reading the series first, all the books are excellent.
Charles Finch has a series about a gentleman named Lennox, living in Victorian England, who solves mysteries. The first is “A Beautiful Blue Death” and there are at least three more, all of which I inhaled this year. Lisa Lutz has a great series that begins with “The Spellman Files.” If you like Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series, you will like the Spellmans.
Markus Zusak’s “The Book Thief” will haunt you long after you put it down. Sara Gruen’s “Water for Elephants” was fantastic, and you should read it before the movie comes out this year. I finally read “American Gods” by Neil Gaiman, and damn, was it good. A series written for the young adult market by L.A. Meyer begins with “Bloody Jack – Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary Jack Faber, Ship’s Boy.” It’s a lot of fun.
Michael Perry’s “Population: 485 – Meeting Your Neighbors One Siren at a Time” was a fun, yet tough read. You get quite the vocabulary lesson from it, and Jace did a book report on it this winter. He said Perry uses too many metaphors. If you grew up in a small town, you will probably appreciate “Population: 485.” Other books to consider reading are “Discord’s Apple” by Carrie Vaughn and “The Secret of Everything” by Barbara O’Neal.

What’s ahead for 2011? I have a few library books to get through, and then I’m going to embark on my seven-month countdown to the final movie in the Harry Potter series by reading one book a month until the movie comes out. I may take on the “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” trilogy, and maybe I’ll finally get my Mom off my back by reading “The Power of One.” Or not. I’m contrary that way.

2009 Reading Wrap Up

My 2009 Reading Wrap-up

  • Jan. 3rd, 2010 at 2:35 PM
While looking back on the 200 books I read in 2009, I found it fascinating how some of the books are still so vivid in my mind while there are others I’d forgotten that I read. The books that shine brightly for me feel like I just put them down yesterday, instead of many months ago. I read most of them in the second half of the year, as I had not hit 100 by July 1. A lot of reading happened in August, when Jace was away.

People have asked how I am able to read so many books. Yes, I do read pretty fast, plus I usually have more than one book going at a time. That allows me to pick and choose what to read depending on my mood or how tired I am. Books I call "brain fluff" are easier to handle when fatigued. You'd think after all these years, I'd know better than to pick up a thriller or mystery at bedtime, but no. There are still nights when I stay up almost to the hour my alarm is set to go off because I could not put a book down. It's hard to sleep when I want to know "whodunit."

By the Numbers
Total: 200
Number of books that I'd read before: 28
Non-Fiction: 13
Mysteries: 35
Romance: 55
Sci-Fi/Fantasy: 57
Young Adult: 23
Anthologies/Short Story Collections: 11

I discovered several new authors (to me anyway) and series this year. I liked books by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, she calls her books "historical horror" and they follow an ancient vampire through different periods of history. I finally tried Jasper Fforde's "Thursday Next" novels about a woman who is able to jump in and out of books. I discovered Georgette Heyer, who pioneered the historical romance genre, and loved the few titles of hers that I read, especially "Devil's Cub" and "The Grand Sophy."

Here are the Top 10 books (or authors) I read in 2009, in no particular order...

- "Love Walked In" and "Belong to Me" by Marissa de los Santos. (She's a poet, and her books have a lyrical quality that I admire, and she creates characters you fall in love with. "Belong to Me" is a sequel to "Love Walked In.")

- "Till There Was You" by Lynn Kurland. Kurland writes some great time travel romances. This one revisits characters from earlier books and introduces a whole new cast of characters that I hope there will be books written about. She's got a great back-catalogue of titles. Start with "A Dance Through Time."

- "The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie" by Alan Bradley is the introduction of a young British girl who is fascinated by chemistry and has an uncanny talent for getting herself in trouble and solving mysteries. The next book comes out this year.

- "Chosen By a Horse" by Susan Richards is a memoir of a woman with a rough past who adopts an abused horse. If you are half as horse-crazy as I am, this book will break your heart.

- "Brothers in Battle, Best of Friends" by William "Wild Bill" Guarnere and Edward "Babe" Heffron, with Robyn Post. Two men from Easy Company, whose story was shared in "Band of Brothers" share their side of the story.

- "Land of a Hundred Wonders" by Lesley Kagen. Kagen wrote "Whistling in the Dark," one of my favorite books from 2008. This one is part drama, part mystery and part romance, and it adds up to an incredible story.

- "What Happens in London" by Julia Quinn is another great romance and moved into my Top 3 favorite books by Quinn.

- "Let Me In" by John Ajvide Lindquist. The novel that the movie "Let the Rights Ones In" was based on. Creepy and horrifying and brilliant.

- "Sarah's Key" by Tatiana de Rosnay. The story jumps between modern day and World War II as an American journalist living in Paris tries to solve the mystery of what happens to a Jewish girl who once lived in the apartment the journalist's father-in-law grew up in.

- "Another Life" by Andrew Vachss - the final book in his Burke series. It is a dark series about a "family" of crooks with a vendetta against those who abuse children.

Honorable Mention - "An Echo in the Bone" by Diana Gabaldon, which might have ranked higher if she hadn't left readers dangling off so many cliffs. It's the latest in her series about Claire Randall Fraser, a World War II nurse who travels through time.

2008 Reading Roundup

Wrapping up my 2008 reading list

  • Jan. 2nd, 2009 at 5:18 PM
October 2000

My 2008 reading list of 225 books includes at least 36 books that I read for a second (or third or more time), including books by Jim Butcher, Kim Harrison and Charlaine Harris. Sixteen of the books were non-fiction, 26 were written for the young adult/kid’s market and 12 of the books were anthologies of short stories or novellas. I tend to read a lot of books that could be called sci-fi/fantasy, but can also be classified as a romance or mystery.
I discovered several new series this year that I really enjoyed, including the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs, Toni L.P. Kellner’s Laura Fleming mysteries, and Nancy Martin’s Blackbird Sisters mysteries.

Of my non-fiction reads, my favorite was “Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World.”
My favorite books of the year include Lisa Kleypas’Sugar Daddy and Blue-Eyed Devil.” She has a third book coming out in 2009 that is a companion to those two. She usually writes historical romances, but these are contemporary romances which I usually don’t like. I loved hers. Julia Quinn released two books: Lost Duke of Wyndham and Mr. Cavendish, I Presumethat I enjoyed.
The Tales of Beetle the Bard by J.K. Rowling was a fun, quick read, but doesn’t fill the gap left by the end of the Harry Potter series. Curse her for creating a world I want more of, NOW. At least there’s fan-fiction.
My favorite book of the year is The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. Please read it and let me know what you think.
I’m not going to try to forecast my reading for 2009, but I do hope to have the discipline to read the books I have and buy fewer books. I keep track of upcoming releases on my wishlist that helps me order copies from the library early to avoid waiting too long in the queue. I welcome recommendations from others on titles to read.
I began tracking the books I read in January 2007, and now wish I'd started doing it long before that. I'm sharing my reading wrap-ups here, since my LJ account where I track my books read is set to private/friends only.

2007 Reading Wrap-Up

  • Jan. 1st, 2008 at 12:17 PM
Well, I didnt' finish Colbert's book on NYE, but I did read at least 176 books in 2007. I may have missed a few along the way, and only counted HP7 once.
My 2007 reading list includes at least 43 books that I read for a second (or third or more time), including titles from the Trixie Belden series, the first six Harry Potter books, and a few romance authors that I read in my teens. Twenty-three of the books were non-fiction, most read during Lent.

I discovered at least three new series this year that I really enjoyed, including the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, the Gaslight Mysteries by Victoria Thompson and Stephenie Meyer's trilogy.
Of my non-fiction reads, my favorites were
"The Greatest Game Ever Played"
"Ghost Soldiers"
"The Great Raid" by William Breuer
"Point Last Seen" by Hannah Nyala
"True Grace" a biography of Princess Grace of Monaco.

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" was my favorite book of the year. "From a Whisper to a Scream" by Charles de Lint was fabulous. The first novel by Hannah Nyala, "Leave No Trace," was engrossing.
The reading forecast for 2008 will likely include me diving back into the works of Tolkein, and I want to re-read "The Right Stuff."
I have a long, long wish-list on of books that will be released in 2008 by some of my favorite authors, as well as a lengthy list of non-fic books that appeal to me. I have many books on reserve at the library, I'm just waiting for my turn in the queue. I am also surrounded by stacks of books at home that need to be read. In 2008, I hope to replace quantity with quality.

I finished my first book this morning, something I picked up at the Evil Empire last night on a whim. It's the third in a trilogy by Mary Balogh that has been re-issued, "The Devil's Web." It was a bit dark, but it wrapped up the story of characters introduced in the first book. It's not a book I anticipate rereading.