End of Year Thoughts on 2010 Reading

*****************Updated on 1/6/11 to note that I failed to complete The Sea by end of year, so I only read 70 books in 2010.   Oh well.     ***********








Grab a piece of pie and fill your tea or coffee cup; this is going to be a long rambling post. *smiles*

How many books read in 2010?

I only read 71 (and as I write this, I still need to finish that 71st!   The Sea by John Banville.)   Last year, I read 86 books so my goal to ever read 100 feels like it will never happen.    Maybe I’ll set a goal of 50 books so I can soar right past it.

How many fiction and non fiction?

I read 22 nonfiction books or 31%.     I read 22 NF last year, too – but the percentage is bigger this year!     I had a good mix of topics, too.    Unfortunately, 2 of the 5 DNFs were nonfiction this year – both of the memoir variety.

Male/Female author ratio?

A fifty-fifty split!    But to get extemely technical, I read more female authors, just one!  than male authors.

Favorite book of 2010?

After bugging everyone I met at the Book Blogger Conference with the question, “What’s your favorite read of the year so far?”, I don’t have an answer myself!     Last year I gave 12 books the coveted FIVE PIE SLICE rating and this year, I give out 12 again.  And yet looking over the list, I’m almost *meh* about it all.     I didn’t gushingly overwhelmingly adore ANY except The Book Thief and it was a re-read so I don’t really count it.   Many of the FIVE-SLICERS were rated high because of its literature importance to me, like The Bell Jar, To the Lighthouse, and The Yellow Wallpaper. Mrs. Dalloway was a re-read, too – but this one might count because I fell in love with it MORE upon this second reading.    I had 2  nonfiction books in the top 12:   Woman by Natalie Angier and Overboard by Michael J. Tougias due to how that one got my heart-beating with its charged adventure telling.     And yet, I can’t seem to declare it a love-swoon favorite.    SO.    I guess I will categorize:     For my fun read that is likely not ‘high’ literature (and thus – dare I say it? – I recommendable to ALL) is Waiting for Columbus.    And for my Oh-WOW-OH-WOW book(s), I’m going to cast a tie with To the Lighthouse/V.Woolf and Love Begins in Winter by Simon Van Booy.

The STARTLING realization that comes to mind when I look over my top twelve (which you can see, I hope, by clicking on this goodreads link) is that I really like quiet, in-the-head, crazy-beautiful prose books.      So let’s lump The Sea into my top 12 13 books, shall we?

One easy way to help me decide a favorite is whether or not I really want to read MORE by that particular author and I think Simon Van Booy is tops there.

As to the MANY books I rated FOUR Slices of Pie (27 or 38%), do any shine?    Yes – Oryx & Crake* by M.Atwood, Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont by Elizabeth Taylor, The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins, A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, and Fingersmith by Sarah Waters – all authors I look forward to reading more.    My “Books I’ve Read” Page has the links to my reviews or you can just enter in the search box upper right.

Least favourite?

My least favorite of the books I couldn’t even stand to complete:    North Dallas Forty.     It was all get-drunk-screw-complain, repeat.    But of the books that I read in entirety:  Without a Trace by Colleen Coble.

Any that you simply couldn’t finish and why?

Oh yes!   I DNF’d a few and don’t feel guilty.   Ok, yes I do.  A bit.     I include the ‘DNF’ on titles on my Books Read page by month if you care to go see.

Oldest book read?

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, also a DNF but I got 2/3 through it.    I actually think I might attempt this one again and it’s rating might go up because of its importance and amusement-factor.   I was listening to this one and the flowery speech and incredulousness got to me and I had to go to something else.    Shameful, really – it is a short book in pages.


The newest book I read was published in October 2010:   A Secret Gift by Ted Gup, for a TLC Book Tour.    I read TEN books that were published this year!   THAT is amazing and quite unlike me.

Longest and shortest book titles?

Longest NF title was Anne Fadiman’s The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down:  A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures. (I have yet to review this one.)

I think it is a tie for novel:


The shortest title is my current read (which I really really REALLY need to go devote some time to!) is The Sea.   It’s short but it’s slow – very provocative and sharp smart use of language – I’m savoring it.

Longest and shortest books?

I read more chunksters this year!   Yay me.      Looking at my stats chart, it amazes me that the most-pages book I read was Gaiman’s American Gods. That it is a chunkster does not come to mind when I think of this book.

Shortest book is debatable but then so is this question since it so depends on format.    I read quite a few books under 100 pages.  I’m going to say Ethan Frome was my favorite of the SHORTs.

How many books from the library?

Eek –  I didn’t do a good job of tracking this and now I can’t remember:  and some were audio’s to accompany a book I own…    I think it is around 6?    I’ve also done a poor job of keeping track of all the ways I got books AND where I sent them.

Any translated books?

Another “uh oh”. I think only ONE book this year was translated into English:   Benny & Shrimp by Katarina Mazeretti/Swedish.  OK, not impressed with myself on this.

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

My most read author in PAGE COUNT is Neil Gaiman!   Woo hoo!   I read two:   Neverwhere and American Gods. I read two books by the following authors:    Virginia Woolf (meant to read 4 plus a bio!), Dashiell Hammett, John Green, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman.    I increased the number of books read over my lifetime written by Tracy Kidder to FIVE.   I’ve read FOUR total books each by Jennie Nash and Neil Gaiman.   Fifty-tw0 authors were new to me, most of the others were a second time.

Any re-reads?

Here is a category that shows improvement; spurred on by my accepting to do the Flashback Challenge.   I re-read 4 books!

Favourite character of the year?

Hmmmm.    Nothing.  I got nothing…

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

I only visited 14 countries this year which is down from last and a personal disappointment.   I was heavy/heavy in my own country;  I *saw* 14 specifically identified US State places in my reading this year.    My Reading Globally Challenge was not successful.      I only read one book set in Africa, one in Japan, one in fantasyland South America (Herland) and one Afghanistan.   The rest were England, Ireland, Canada, Italy, Germany and Sweden.

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

I love this question!   I can blame a bunch of books on other bloggers and a few real-life friends.   It’s too numerous to count but the most different and unlike-me book would probably be Overboard!, a scary true account of disaster AND survival at sea.    It traveled around our dock at the marina.    I blame Marsha.

Which author was new to you in 2010 that you now want to read the entire works of?

I’ve already addressed this but to pick ONE?    ok, a few?    Anna Quindlan, Elizabeth Taylor and Simon Van Booy.  Oh!  and Diana Wynne Jones!

Which books are you annoyed you didn’t read?

Where do I start?    A whole category of other-country round-the-world books comes first to mind.   More translated works – which likely overlaps that other-country thing.     I’ll address this more when I do my 2010 Challenge Wrap Up post.

I didn’t get to ANY Ian McEwan!  What’s UP with THAT!?   I’ll  fix that in 2011.

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

I will state that my DELIBERATE Plan was a success:   I had addressed the question of “Which 3 books do I really hope to read in 2010?” by choosing Watership Down by Richard Adams – I’m so glad I read this one!    and anything/something more by Neil Gaiman (accomplished) and at least one of the four I own but have yet to read by Tracy Kidder.     I will review Among Schoolchildren in January.
Any HIGHLIGHTS from 2010?
The Book Blogger Convention in NYC in May was SUPER FABULOUS!    I got an iPad, which is really cool for ereading.   and just getting to know many of you better and still having the motivation to read and chat about books online through this blog have been WONDERFUL.  Thank you!

STATS:    71 Books / RATINGS:  12 FIVE 17%, 27 FOUR 38%, 20 THREE 28%, 9 TWO 13%, 3 ONE 4%

PAGE COUNTS:   19,732 which averages to 278 per book.   [HA!   Last year’s page total for 87 books was 24,186 which also averaged to 278 per book.]

1001 Books To Read Before You Die:   9

Chunksters (over 450 pages): 9

Male Female Ratio   35 : 36

Short Story Collections:   2

Unintentional Themes:   Pets – 4 Dogs, 1 Cat

By Decade:   in 2010 – 10, 2000 – 31, 1990 – 6, 1980 – 3, 1970 – 7, 1960 – 3, 1950 – 2, 1940 – 0, 1930 – 1, 1920 – 3, 1910 – 1, 1900 – 1, 1890 – 1, 1860 – 1, 1810 – 1

New to Me Authors:   52

Nonfiction:   22

Fantasy:  7

Debuts:   at least 2 that I know off the top of my head…

postscript: This is my 2009 WrapUp.

* Just realized that my goodreads has 4 stars for Oryx & Crake but my Books-Read list shows 5…   and I am in such a hurry to post this I will just not worry about it right now…


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