Monday, December 28, 2009

ON BOOKS ~ A Year In Reading...

In addition to finding my way through the blogosphere, taking photos in the real world and watching lots of movies, TV and Red Sox games, I managed to find enough time to read 30 books this year. That is more than the 27 that I completed last year when I first started keeping track. And next year my goal is to finish 31 or more. Here's a look back at my year of reading.

I read 22 works of fiction and 8 non-fiction. This surprised me. I thought I read more non-fiction than that since I really enjoy memoirs. Of those 8, I would only categorize 1 as memoir. I must have OD'd on memoirs in 2008 which is why I subconsciously gave myself a break from them.

On Goodreads' rating scale of 1 to 5 stars, I gave 4 books the highest rate of 5 and none received the lowly 1. Most fell into the 4 star range. This surprises me too since I am fairly stingy with my stars. In order to get a 5 out of me I have to love you as much as I do To Kill A Mockingbird or The Sound & The Fury - those are my 5 star barometer. So it looks like a had a run of good finds this year. Interestingly none of the non-fiction selections received a 4 or a 5.

I read a total of 10,692 pages, turning the average length of my reads into 356 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 8 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 2 other books while having less structured read-alongs among online friends. 4 books were re-reads - 2 of them for group reads - 2 just to revisit from a different life perspective.

I managed to read 6 classics, but the overwhelming majority of the rest were written in the last decade. Collectively they covered the world from the 1600's to today, and beyond.

I gave audio books a try and found they have a place but are not my preference. I also learned that when I was reading one of those 2 star books, it slowed my pace down and my least productive reading months were tied directly to the clunkers, not the chunksters.

2 were books that I won on blogs. 14 were from the library. 6 were loans from family. 1 was a gift. 2 were from my personal library. 4 I bought at library sales. And 1 I bought for someone else and decided to read it first (shhh - don't tell)! Here they all are - can you match the descriptions to the titles?

1. A cat's uplifting spirit (DEWEY - Penny)
2. WW2 German occupation of France (SUITE FRANCAISE - ds)
3. An evil man with a dangerous nose (PERFUME - Janet)
4. Blunt tales about little people, among others
5. Russian society struggles (ANNA KARENINA - Penny)
6. Gothic mind games (REBECCA - Susan)
7. Love transcends dimensions (TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE - Penny)
8. All you need to know about the Puritans (THE WORDY SHIPMATES - ds)
9. Escaping problems in fairy tales
10. Surviving depression (THE BELL JAR - Penny)
11. A serial killer feeding off of Chicago (DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY - Kathleen)
12. Dogs (EDGAR SAWTELLE - Janet)
13. UK travels from an American point of view (NOTES FROM A SMALL ISLAND - Janet)
14. WW1 in the trenches with Cree Canadians
15. Abuse, escape & adaptation
16. Girls make good in Civil War times (LITTLE WOMEN - Catherine)
17. Dystopian horror of the control of women (THE HANDMAID'S TALE - Richard)
18. Murphy's Law and a dead body
19. Everyone's worst nightmare
20. An unsolved murder complicates life (IN THE WOODS - Penny)
21. Darwinism with a sense of humor
22. Who knew the Thames could be so funny?
23. Depression era childhood (A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN - Susan)
24. Washed up athlete returns home (BLEACHERS - Stacy)
25. A roller coaster franchise
26. It Takes A (spooky) Village (THE GRAVEYARD BOOK - Janet)
27. Civil rights played out in the home
28. Dumbing down of literature
29. Art forgery for Nazis
30. Murphy's Law and a dead body - revisited

A. "The Handmaid's Tale" - M. Atwood (5*'s)
B. "The Book of Lost Things" - J. Connolly (5*'s)
C. "Galapagos" - K. Vonnegut (5*'s)
D. "The Help" - K. Stockett (5*'s)
E. "The Story of Edgar Sawtelle" - D. Wroblewski (4*'s)
F. "Suite Francaise" - I. Nemirovsky (4*'s)
G. "The Bell Jar" - S. Plath (4*'s)
H. "The Time Traveler's Wife" - A. Niffenegger (4*'s)
I. "Three Day Road" - J. Boyden (4*'s)
J. "Little Women" - L. Alcott (4*'s)
K. "Rebecca" - D. Du Maurier (4*'s)
L. "A Tree Grows In Brooklyn" - B. Smith (4*'s)
M. "Three Men In A Boat, To Say Nothing of the Dog" - J. Jerome (4*'s)
N. "Anna Karenina" - L. Tolstoy (3*'s)
O. "Dewey - The Small Town Library Cat Who Touched The World" - V. Myron (3*'s)
P. "The Devil in the White City - Murder, Magic & Madness at the Fair That Changed America" - E. Larson (3*'s)
Q. "As I Lay Dying" - W. Faulkner (3*'s)
R. "Notes From A Small Island" - B. Bryson (3*'s)
S. "Shelf Monkey" - C. Redekop (3*'s)
T. "The Wordy Shipmates" - S. Vowell (3*'s)
U. "The Innocent Man - Murder & Injustice in a Small Town" - J. Grisham (3*'s)
V. "Getting Mother's Body" - S. Parks (3*'s)
W. "The Man Who Made Vermeers - Unvarnishing the Legend of Master Forger Han van Meegeren" - J. Lopez (3*'s)
X. "The Graveyard Book" - N. Gaiman (3*'s)
Y. "Are You There Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea" - C. Handler (3*'s)
Z. "The Gravedigger's Daughter" - J. Oates (3*'s)
Aa. "The Good, The Bad & The Ugly New England Patriots - Heart-Pounding, Jaw Dropping & Gut-Wrenching Moments From New England Patriots History" - S. Glennon (2*'s)
Bb. "In The Woods" - T. French (2*'s)
Cc. "Perfume - The Story of a Murderer" - P. Suskind (2*'s)
Dd. "Bleachers" - J. Grisham (2*'s)


(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

Yahoo...good for you and i see several 5's and 4's there so that means - quality as well; how great is that? I LOVED The Help and hope to read The Handmaid's Tale in 2010.

Happy New Year

ashramblings said...

Wow what a spread of reading. Love the stats....I wonder what mine look like? I'll try to do a similar talling this coming year ....31, now is that a challenge or what?

Susan said...

You did much better than I did, Molly! I did read 'Edgar Sawtelle' and loved it, but I agree with your star rating. TKAM is my barometer, too. I just finished 'A Tree Grows in Brooklyn' which I read in my teen years. I think I appreciated it much more now. 'Anna Karenina' is next on my list, but I don't know...a few pages in and I'm doubting my ability to get through the whole thing.

Janet said...

what a great idea!


Those are the ones for sure I know, the rest I could guess, but I need to go eat some brie with mushrooms atop cream cheese bread from Japan. Yes, breakfast, yes, bad, but good!

Beth F said...

What? No Albert???

Great list of books. I've read 6 of your top 10. I'll have to read the other 4 in 2010.

Penny said...

I like that you kept track. I think iwill do this this new year. Sounds like fun :)

I have a few Q's for you:
First of all, (not a q..more like a statement) I read Edgar Sawtelle and I fell in love.

Okay on with the questions:
I recently ordered:
"The Bell Jar" - S. Plath
How was this??

"The Time Traveler's Wife" - A. Niffenegger -Have you read Her Fearful Symmetry?? It's 10 times better than this one..

"Anna Karenina" - L. Tolstoy -I have this on my book shelf and have had it for the past three years but have not tackled it it worth the time I'm going to have to invest in this beast?

"As I Lay Dying" - W. Faulkner -Really, really, really want to read this one but I don't enjoy Faulkners long windedness...I may check this out since you gave it three stars

"In The Woods" - T. French (2*'s)-
why was this a bestseller?? It was just shit....I didn't even finish it and I NEVER put a book down..I suffer...but this one...couldn't do it..

rhapsodyinbooks said...

Your one-phrase reviews are terrifically creative! And would make a fun meme instead of that very verbose 6 sentence review meme! :--)

Sandy Nawrot said...

Indeed, a very creative way to review a book! I'm actually in the car, on a bumpy road, on the way to the Indianapolis airport, otherwise I would play! I'm going to have to write down your 5 stars!

kayerj said...

I love your "wrap-up"--best one I've read so far :)

Margot said...

Good for you Molly! That's a great list of books. You definitely went for quality this year rather than big numbers of mediocre books. I'll say it again - Good for you.

Penny said...

1. A cat's uplifting spirit-DEWEY

5. Russian society struggles-ANNA K??

7. Love transcends dimensions-TIME TRAVELERS WIFE

10. Surviving depression-BELL JAR?

20. An unsolved murder complicates life-INTO THE WOODS

Kathleen said...

I know 11 is "P" since this is one I read for my book club a year or so ago. You accomplished a lot of reading this year with all of your other activities. I still haven't read The Time Traveler's Wife (crazy, I know) and I would love to reread As I Lay Dying. I actually hated Faulkner the first time I read him (Sound and the Fury) until I read As I Lay Dying and then I was converted!

Mike said...

I swear to you that I have not read 20 books in my entire lifetime! I am very impressed!

Richard said...

As I mentioned elsewhere on the interwebs today, this is such a great post! I might have to copy you!

#17 is A Handmaid's Tale

Unknown said...

Holy Doodle. I bet I only read a dozen or so books in 2009. That is something I must remedy in 2010.
I'm reading a Young Adult story titled Speak right now. It's reallll good so far.
Happy Reading in 2010. Maybe I can talk you into reading something of mine. I'd be happy to mail you a copy to read at your leisure. Let me know.

Catherine @ The Blonde Diaries said...

What a great year of reading! I need to do a better job of keeping track of which books I read in which year so that I can have a nice recap.

I can't believe no one has gotten #16 - it has to be Little Women

Rebecca was on my list in 2009 to read and I just never made it so I put her back on my 2010 list. I will read it this year!

Little Ms Blogger said...

I read a list that The Grave Digger's Daughter was one of the most unforgettable books.

Sometimes I think publishers create these lists to sell books.

I read more bad than good this year. That bums me a bit. I hope and intend to read more this year.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful post! I really wish I had more time to take photos...but for now, it's not meant to be.

Susan said...

6. Rebecca

23. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

27. As I Lay Dying

Awesome list, Molly!

Note on Anna K: Don't. think. I. can. do. it. UGH.

And last, but not least, the veri word is: dinglish
Is that like Spanglish?

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

BTW...I started The Handmaid's Tale yesterday based on your rating and others....I'm hooked. Thanks so much!

Have a great Happy and Healthy New Year.

Anonymous said...

Great reading year! I'm actually lowering my goal for the next year. I still have to finish my last book to make my 130 goal. And it's almost noon!
I think Bleachers is #24. Would love to guess more, but hubby must have the computer.

ds said...

Sorry to be so late getting here; I couldn't load this post (no idea why)--very sad. Love the way you did this, your ratings--and the selection! If guessing is still open, I call #2 as Suite Francaise, and #8 as The Wordy Shipmates (and I'm probably wrong).
Thanks for the challenge, Molly! I'm going to find your 5 stars, for sure!

Forgetfulone said...

You did a lot of reading! That's awesome. One of my favorite activities. And I love Goodreads!