Monday, December 27, 2010
In the past year I said goodbye to my grandmother, added an editing job to my writing foray, experienced the loss of a beloved kitten, visited a new city and met a fellow blogger in person, welcomed an adorable niece into the family and won our Fantasy Baseball League. Oh - and I managed to read 29 books, matching my total from last year. My goal is always to read one more than the year before, but if I can't do that, keeping pace with previous results is the next best thing. Here's a look back at my year of reading.
I read 21 works of fiction and 8 non-fiction. That is the same split as last year's collection. I always feel like I've read more non-fiction than I really have. I think this is because the non-fiction takes more focus and results in greater introspection, permeating longer in the dusty recesses of my addled brain. Of those 8, half were categorized as memoirs. They are my favorite thread of the non-fiction genre so I am glad to see I devoted a fair chunk to them.
On Goodreads' rating scale of 1 to 5 stars, I gave 2 books the highest rate of 5 and none received the lowly 1. Most fell into the 3 star range. It was a very mediocre result of selections for me this year. My two 5 star reads were both re-reads. One was my 5 star barometer, To Kill A Mockingbird. The other was The Handmaid's Tale. Both were read along with others who had not experienced them before. I am always jealous of another's virgin read of one of my favorites! My overall selections this year came from an interesting cross section of styles - ranging from classics, thrillers and memoirs to prize winning fiction, best sellers, sci-fi and historical fiction. My reading ruts fell across all categories and 6 of them garnered only 2 stars.
I read a total of 10,572 pages (almost 400 more than last year), turning the average length of my reads into 365 pages. On average I was able to read 30 pages a day - most of which was accomplished at the gym during the week. Very little was done at nights, on weekends or vacations. Generally I was able to complete a book in about 2 weeks.
I read 6 books specifically for group discussions on Goodreads. Some of them were books I had suggested from my own list and others were new suggestions to me. I read 6 other books as less structured read-alongs among online friends. Two of them resulted in collaborative cross-posting: a series with Stacy on War & Peace and joint interviews with Margot of Toni Teepell and her book A Truth Worth Tellin'.
I managed to read 3 classics (although another 3 I didn't classify that way but could be placed under that umbrella), but the overwhelming majority of the rest were written in the last decade. Collectively they covered the world from 1812 to today, and beyond.
I read the most books in January and October. They encompassed some of my best rated reading of the year. When I get into a groove, my reading turns voracious. I also noticed that I save my lengthier selections for the cooler months when I am hibernating. I pulled myself out of a bummer of a slump by attending my first book festival in October. It likely sparked that great month of reading.
4 were books that I won on blogs. 14 were from the library. 2 were loans from family. 3 were gifts. 1 was from my personal library. 4 I bought at library sales. And 1 I bought for myself new. Here they all are - can you match the descriptions to the titles?
1. A cat's healing of a broken family
2. Immature man runs from his pregnant wife and child for greener pastures, that aren't really any greener
3. A history of Smyrna, Detroit and hermaphrodites
4. WW2 Poland's woods are the setting for an old fairy tale's retelling
5. Irish American alcoholic's death reveals the truth behind a first love's mystery
6. The ultimate complaint letter
7. Little girl lost in the woods clings to Red Sox radio broadcasts to survive the scary beasts of the dark
8. Little girl clings to her mother's good days amidst the schizophrenic ones
9. Dystopian society where women's rights have taken leaps in the wrong direction
10. Inside scoop about the man behind the art
11. Little girl and her brother share lessons in tolerance
12. Discovery of how family history can carry genes of doom
13. How baseball and food made great parallels in one family
14. Evil doings at an institution for the criminally insane during a wallop of a storm
15. Homeless guy teaches rich guy what should really be valued in life
16. Serial killer of serial killers
17. Using roommates to heal the wounds of divorce
18. The plight of the sharecropper
19. Dark tale of prejudice, evasion, murder and survival in the old deep south
20. Overcoming rape, eating disorders, death and divorce in search of love
21. Futuristic tale of cloning and dictatorship in the name of a chaos free world
22. Name dropping stories disguised as a how-to manual on asking the right questions
23. Interviews with the entertainment world from a real pro
24. Fortune seekers, social climbers, cults, soap opera love triangles and Napoleon
25. Man branding, computer hacking and a missing person mystery
26. Whodunit mystery of a psychopathic estranged husband's murder
27. Who needs high school when you can just watch the movies?
28. Math and baseball become poetry from the mind of a memory challenged man
29. View from above of those left behind in tragedy
A. The Handmaid's Tale - M. Atwood (5*'s)
B. To Kill A Mockingbird - H. Lee (5*'s)
C. Middlesex - J. Eugenides (4*'s)
D. Light In August - W. Faulkner (4*'s)
E. Life With Picasso - F. Gilot (4*'s)
F. Same Kind Of Different As Me - R. Hall (4*'s)
G. She's Come Undone - W. Lamb (4*'s)
H. Shutter Island - D. Lehane (4*'s)
I. The True Story Of Hansel And Gretel - L. Murphy (4*'s)
J. The Lovely Bones - A. Sebold (4*'s)
K. War And Peace - L. Tolstoy (4*'s)
L. Let Us Now Praise Famous Men - J. Agee (3*'s)
M. Open House - E. Berg (3*'s)
N. Cleo - H. Brown (3*'s)
O. The Film Club - D. Gilmour (3*'s)
P. All I Did Was Ask - T. Gross (3*'s)
Q. Brave New World - A. Huxley (3*'s)
R. The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon - S. King (3*'s)
S. Darkly Dreaming Dexter - J. Lindsey (3*'s)
T. The Housekeeper And The Professor - Y. Ogawa (3*'s)
U. Mostly True: A Memoir Of Family, Food And Baseball - M. O'Neill (3*'s)
V. A Truth Worth Tellin' - T. Teepell (3*'s)
W. Rabbit, Run - J. Updike (3*'s)
X. The Art Of The Interview - L. Grobel (2*'s)
Y. Janeology - K. Harrington (2*'s)
Z. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo - S. Larsson (2*'s)
Aa. Charming Billy - A. McDermott (2*'s)
Bb. Dear American Airlines - J. Miles (2*'s)
Cc. Eyes Of A Child - R. Patterson (2*'s)