Monday, December 27, 2010

ON BOOKS ~ 2010 Year In Reading Match Game...

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)

13 comments: said...

I can match many of your titles with your description, but not all. That was fun!

I would love to try and make one from the books that I have read this year, but since I am just about to finish number 200....I think I will pass.

New jobs, new family members, winning the fantasy league...great things. Saying goodbye to a valued friend, you get a hug from me.

kayerj said...

I like your style of wrapping up. You had a good year :)

Unknown said...

That was fun, I only got about half of them right.

Agree on your top choices, esp The Handmaid's Tale, which I thought was brilliant and maybe the best of Atwood, who is consistently impressive.

Also really like The Lovely Bones. Do not see the movie, is sanitized Hollywood dreck.

Tami said...

Fun game. I need more time to pour over it, but since I'm actually getting paid to work at the moment, I'll save that for later. Sounds like you had a wonderful reding year. Good luck on surpassing yourself next year.

Sandy Nawrot said...

If I weren't sitting here cold and tired and fuzzy on my glass of red, I'd play. I think I could do a decent job on the matching. I AM quite distressed you didn't like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, but you aren't alone in your opinion. (You should have listened to the audio!) You did a good job this year with your books!

Lynn said...

Fun to see your reading list, Molly. And congrats on your new editing job :) Somehow I must have missed that post. Very cool. You have worked hard and you deserve it. Best of luck in all your continued writing/blogging/editing endeavors.

Kathleen said...

You had a great year and in between all of your many jobs and interests you had me riveted with your blog posts!

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty confident about 21 of them. It was fun actually taking the quiz and not making it up for once :) You had a great reading year. Looking forward to another year of blogging with you!

bernie said...

I read 8 of the books on your list.

Great way to recap a year.

Happy New Year.

Beth F said...

Have a safe and happy new year.

Forgetfulone said...

Now I want an answer key! LOL I've only read a few of those on your list. I have "A Truth Worth Tellin'" on my to-be-read list. Don't you just love Goodreads?

Penny said...

4. Hansel and Gretel
6. Dear American Airlines
7. Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon
10. Life with Picasso
11. To Kill a Mockingbird
14. Shutter Island
20. She's Come Undone
29. Lovely Bones

What are the following:
19. Dark tale of prejudice, evasion, murder and survival in the old deep south

16. Serial killer of serial killers

17. Using roommates to heal the wounds of divorce

8. Little girl clings to her mother's good days amidst the schizophrenic ones

2. Immature man runs from his pregnant wife and child for greener pastures, that aren't really any greener

These sound interesting and I am always looking for books :)

Happy reading in 2011!

Margot said...

2010 was a good book year for you. I like the way you did your post. You know that 400 extra pages equals one more book, so I'd say you came out ahead.

Happy Reading in 2011.