End of Year 2009 Meme

Saw this at FizzyThought’s and then traced back to the originator, Savidge Reads. HHI had been working on my spreadsheet and counts and categories and truthfully, got frustrated when nothing added up so if please don’t analyze too closely.       Then I saw this meme and I’m either nuts to add to my already disorganized attempt to manage this summary or…   oh, I don’t know.  I still can’t think straight from those couple of few many glasses of champagne on New Year’s Eve…

How many books read in 2009?

I read 87 books in 2009 and this was the first year I counted pages:  25,036. OOPS!   Found an error of attributing 1000 pages to a book that only had 80 so my total pages read is only 24,186.  (don’t attempt to check my math – I found other errors…)

How many fiction and non fiction?

65 fiction to 22 nonfiction (and oh! what a variety of NF it was!)

Male/Female author ratio?

I read 48 books written by women, 38 by men and one book that was a male-female joint venture (P&P&Z)

Favorite book of 2009?

Either The Book Thief or The Help.     And Proust Was a Neuroscientist for NF.      Nothing But Ghosts for YA, although The Book Thief is YA, too, so – goodness…    I gave the five pie slice rating to 12 books, or almost 14%.      I gave 33 books the four slice rating, and 33 books got three slices, 7 books got two.     Which truly means that only 7 books were of the ‘eh’, just alright no-enthusiasm whatever rating.   Not bad!

Least favourite?

The Jane Austen Book Club (I gave it two slices of pie), The Pillars of the Earth (DNF – didn’t rate), and Lolita – it was extremely frustrating but I still gave it three pie slices.    [Three slices of my infamous avocado lime meringue pie!!]

Any that you simply couldn’t finish and why?

I started Ken Follett’s The Pillars of the Earth during my first attempt to READ during the April Read-A-Thon; I found it very helpful to count page progress this way.   But once the RAT was over and I was not quite half way through with the book,  I started to get irritated with the gratuitous violence and rape scenes and the flat-out (and flatly written?) mean characters.    I tried to skim and finally put it down and I do not regret it.    I think I tried to read the last 30 pages just to see if the darn ol’ cathedral actually was built but realized I didn’t care anymore.

My two other DNFs were books that I just couldn’t get into for either my mood or because the next book I wanted to read was just too tempting.    I hope to get back to Obama’s The Audacity of Hope someday – it was a library book, too.    Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close may have to stay in that bucket I call “I WOULD LOVE THIS if I could just finish it.”    I did not put this down because it was bad.    I just couldn’t seem to pick it back up after I set it down.

Oldest book read?

Eςa de Queiroz’s The Mandarin was published in 1889 and you’d never know it was ‘old’!   Kate Chopin’s The Awakening published in 1899 is both a product of its time and yet forward-thinking beyond any expectation.     Third oldest was Anne of Green Gables – I’m very glad I picked this one up.     Only these 3 published before 1950, except one in 1937; then one in 1955, two in the 60s, three in the 70s, three in the 80s, 14 in the 90s, and the rest in the 2000+ years.


I think it was 31 Hours by Masha Hamilton?   I do think I blew away any record of reading lots of books published in current year.   This is also the book I read with the shortest title.   See next question.

Longest and shortest book titles?

Winner for longest title:   The Day the World Ended at Little Bighorn:  A Lakota History by Joseph M. Marshall III.

Longest and shortest books?

The shortest books were all kid’s books!     But for adult books, I think it was Helene Hanff’s 84, Charing Cross Road – a book I was excited to finally read and it didn’t disappoint.       The book with the most pages was The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo in paperback for 656.  I read 5 books of over 500 pages:   A Prayer for Owen Meany (543), The Book Thief (552), The Blind Assassin (521), The Restless Sleep (515) and I stopped reading about page 500 in The Pillars of the Earth.

How many books from the library?

Elevenish.      Quite a few from bookmooch.    Most purchased or won or given or borrowed from friends.   Only one book sent from an author…

Any translated books?

I read 4 books translated and almost want to add Lolita here because it was so full of stuff I had no idea what it meant, including French phrases and excessive quantity of cultural obscure-to-me references  – I wore out the annotated version.

The Housekeeper and the Professor (from Japanese), Popular Music from Vittula (Swedish), The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (also Swedish) and The Mandarin (Portuguese)

Most read author of the year, and how many books by that author?

I read THREE books by Jennie Nash this year and she was a new-to-me author!   I’m looking forward to reading her next novel which is due in 2010!   What the heck, let’s throw in a few more exclamation points, shall we?!!!!!!

Any re-reads?

Yes, I read The Awakening but didn’t realize until 20-30 pages in that it felt familiar.     And I read The Hobbit for the Flashback Challenge even though I don’t think I every really read it but rather listened to it when I was in 5th grade.

Favourite character of the year?

The narrator of The Art of Racing in the Rain, most everyone in The Help, Olive Kitteridge, Liesel and even more so, Rudy, in The Book Thief, and I might have a place in my heart for lil’ Owen Meany.    Anne of Green Gables – of course, and maybe ol Mister Pip.   I rooted for Annie and her uncle in Through Black Spruce and I enjoyed getting to know Arnold Spirit, Jr in his (The) Absolutely True Diary

Which countries did you go to through the page in your year of reading?

A lot!    Sweden a few times, Iran, France a few times more, lots in Canada – Alberta and Ontario and Nova Scotia (in fiction and non), England and the Channel Isles, Nazi Germany, Japan, Jewish Iraq and a bit of Israel,  Borneo and Papau New Guinea, Portugal and China, Vietnam, I keep seeing books set in France! (5), South Africa, one book in the future “somewhere” and one in the ‘Shire.

As for American States I traveled to:  Maine (twice), Massachusetts (5?), Washington (twice), Texas, Illinois, Louisiana (twice), Virginia, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Wyoming, alloverUSandWithinNewEngland in Lolita, California (at least twice), upstate New York and 3 in NYC.

Which book wouldn’t you have read without someone’s specific recommendation?

Maree – for all the New Zealand books!   Fizzythoughts is blamed for Through Black Spruce (and probably Lolita and A Prayer for Owen Meany and …), Nymeth for The Mandarin, Lisa at Books on the Brain for introducing me to Jennie Nash by way of a comment and also for Sarah’s Key (sort of – my Bookclub chose it really), Violet for Last Night in Montreal, My Friend Amy encouraged me to buy Kephart’s Nothing But Ghosts, KB got me to read Kristin Hannah but physically putting them into my bookbag and also for Green Grass Running Water, Citizen Reader for half of my nonfic choices, Dewey for John Green books, Ali at Worducopia for inspiring me to read more books by authors of color, and…    TOO MANY!    It would be much easier to list the books that somehow ended up on my list entirely by forces of my own devices, and the best examples:  The Woman’s Guide to Boating because we bought a boat in 2009 and Math Curse by  Jon Scieszka because it was on the teacher’s desk when I substitute taught one day.

Which author was new to you in 2009 that you now want to read the entire works of?

Jennie Nash.    John Green.    Kathryn Stockett.     Lisa Genova.     (You might notice that a few of these are ‘new’ authors and thus don’t have a lot of books, yet.)

In my book tracking, I have  a column for a number of times I have read the author and SEVENTY SEVEN books have a ONE by them.    Seventy seven!      Two of the ten books that had a higher number next to it were repeat authors from this year and one of the books was a re-read so she doesn’t really count.   Since I read two books by an author (Ray Bradbury) that I had previously read in high school, only SIX authors were repeats – 7% – from a prior reading year.    (is this making sense?)      Kazuo Ishiguro, Margart Atwood, Tracy Chevalier, J.R.R.Tolkein, and Audrey Niffenegger.     Honestly, the only one of this small group I care to read more of is Atwood.

Which books are you annoyed you didn’t read?

I am sad that I didn’t get to any Neil Gaiman.    I must MUST read The Bell Jar!      and I really didn’t read any of my fave author Tracy Kidder but I did purchase a few so they are ready for 2010.

Did you read any books you have always been meaning to read?

Yes!    Their Eyes Were Watching God and A Lesson Before Dying.    I had been wanting to read anything by John Irving.    Lolita had always been a curiosity.

Thank you to all my readers/book-blogger-buds!

2009 TOP TEN Events in Care’s Book Life:

10.   The Owen Meany Read-Along was awesome and would love to blog-twit-chat another book this year.

9.  I had the pleasure of meeting two of you in real life:   Beastmomma and Dawn of She is Two Fond of Books.

8.  As much as I scowl about Lolita, I am glad I attempted it and still might someday write a review.     Or read it again.   (What!?)

7.   I had avoided goodreads.com but finally succumbed and now LOVE IT now as the go to place for wishlisting and tbr-ing all the books I want to read someday.

6.   BOSTON BOOK FEST!     So fun.   Good times.    Looking forward to the next.

5.   Twittering the brainstorming session for the Women Unbound Challenge was so terrific and I am so glad I was in on it!    Twitter is a fun place for spontaneous book chats and other silliness.

4.    I love Read-A-Thons!   and BBAW is so cool.

3.   One of my favorite of the challenges I participated in has be Just Add Book‘s New Zealand one in October – it came on quick and only lasted a month;   I did well to read two books Mister Pip and The Vintner’s Luck that I don’t think I ever would have gotten to without this little push and I enjoyed them both immensely.   And I will soon be rewarded with chocolate as a prize for participating.    AWESOME!      Maree!   Got that package shipped yet?!

2.  I can truly say I’m overjoyed and so happy with my new In Real Life Book Club (The Bookies) who are busy influencing my reading choices considerably.      We read 8 books together and I look forward to much more fun in the future.    Very excited about our next choice:   Same Kind of Different As Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore

1.   The evolving world of book blogging and the wonderful friends I have met continue to amaze and inspire me.   Thank you.


48 thoughts on “End of Year 2009 Meme

  1. I love these end-of-the-year posts! And what a great year you’ve had. Olive K and The Help are among my favorites, too. The Book Thief is waiting on the shelf, and I must read The Art of Racing in the Rain. Happy reading in 2010!

  2. A great and very thorough post. I have not really summed up 2009 yet, but I am going to do it very briefly in a few days (my one-year anniversary!)

    I am glad you seem not to have given up completely on Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. I think it is a fast and very entertaining read (but also sad and sweet).

  3. historyofshe

    Congrats on your accomplishments. Avocado lime pie? That sure does sound interesting!

    I’d like to hear your thoughts about Lolita! I read it this year and it definitely an… experience.

  4. When Itried to read Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close the first time, I stopped midway through and then couldn’t pick it up again. This time I picked it up and started over and had to read to the end. It was one of my favorite books last year (in the sort of breaks your heart but still is awesome way). I hope you get to read it this year!

  5. I ALSO hated Pillars of the Earth. Completely agree about gratuitous violence and rape and just… cruel, horribly one-dimensional people. Ugh.

    I also really liked Maree’s challenge and I know now that I really need to read the copy of The Vintner’s Luck that I have on my shelf. I am actually right now reading a NZ book that has been on my shelf for years, so clearly Maree motivated me!

    1. I think there was a group read of The Vintner’s Luck here lately – it was a beautiful yet slightly odd book. But that could be that I’m not much into odd types of books. or not that kind of odd. I’ll shut up now. I did like it. Did I say it was beautiful?

  6. I loved meeting you too and I hope to see you again in 2010!!! As I read your list, I realized that I should have done my year in review and decade highlights with more blog related events!! Oops… hopefully I will remember to do that next year!

  7. Don’t go blaming me for Owen Meany!

    I think I’m going to listen to Lolita this year…I hear the Jeremy Irons audio is fantastic.

    I love this meme. Don’t let me forget about it at the end of 2010! 😀

    1. I saved the Qs in a google doc… I’ll put it on my calendar. and I totally thank you for Owen Meany! come on – aren’t you glad you read it even if not a fave?!

  8. Boy, I look at the records you kept and I’m so envious of your ability to keep so well organized. It’s one of my goals for the coming year to get better organized.

  9. I’m definitely up for another read-along! Sounds like you had a great reading year, and I love this meme (though it frightens me a bit to see how many people’s favorite reads are books I haven’t even picked up yet).

    1. You’re so cool. are you in goodreads? (I have TOO many friends there) we could pick something to read for… APRIL maybe?! I think I have a tentative readalong for something in Feb or March with Kim of Sophisticated Dork – you can join us?

      1. Sure, I’d love to join you and Kim (as long as you pick something better than Owen Meany) I am on GoodReads (as Alison), I think we’re actually friends on there already. I’m more of a LibraryThing gal, though. I don’t update GoodReads very much. In fact, it still says I’m reading David Copperfield.

        1. Well, we had discussed reading Hunter S Thompson’s Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail – interested? It’s for my John Cusack Challenge (which I was delighted and amused to find is posted on the Novel Challenge website! How cook is THAT?!)

        2. Weird, it won’t let me reply to your last comment. So, Fear and Loathing would be a stretch for me, but maybe a good stretch. I put a hold on our library’s copy and I’m up for giving it a try with you guys.

  10. Haha! This does look like a fun meme, so I don’t blame you for doing it. I enjoyed reading your responses to the questions. I’m so glad I let everyone talk me into finally reading The Book Thief. I’d really like to get to the Bell Jar this year too. Maybe it will happen.

    I am not on Good Reads much, but I do enjoy it. I’m glad you decided to join!

    Have a wonderful New Year full of many great books.

  11. Wooo! You had an awesome year of reading! The Bell Jar – yes one of my faves. Also taking on a bio (any of them really) of Plath is an excellent companion piece. The reality of her life really emphasizes some of the themes in her fictional and poetic writing.

  12. Wow, it certainly sounds like you had a very stimulating 2009! I lvoe this meme and will probably steal it from you for a rainy blogging day soon! 🙂 (and I know what you mean about Lolita- I really loved it but it’s a challenge!)

  13. Although I read them several years ago, and several years apart, I absolutely agree with you on the relative placements of The Book Thief and The Jane Austen Book Club.

  14. Pingback: End of 2009 meme « Word Lily

  15. Pingback: End of Year Thoughts on 2010 Reading « Care's Online Book Club

  16. Pingback: Review of 2011 Reading Adventures, Part 2 « Care's Online Book Club

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