Friday, December 31, 2010

2010: The Year in Books

Well, it's been a long time since I've blogged, but I didn't want this blog to die off completely without a few more posts. After these next few posts I don't know whether I'll start a new blog, resurrect this one, or just shut down completely. At any rate, good news: I finally made my goal of reading 52 books in a year. In fact, I exceeded the goal by five books and, goofy picture aside, my head did not even explode. This year there were seven books I'd read at least once before (marked by an asterisk below), two comic compendiums included in the list, and a whole lot of stuff I'd never expected to like but did. I think I'll do a top and bottom five post later this weekend where I talk about the books I enjoyed the most and hated the most, but first the complete list in order:

  1. A Storm of Swords (GRR Martin) 
  2. Run (Ann Patchett) 
  3. Invention of Morel (Adolfo Bioy Casares) 
  4. Johannes Cabal, The Necromancer (Jonathan L.  Howard) 
  5. The Terror (Dan Simmons) 
  6. The Anarchist (John Smolens) 
  7. Treasure Island (Rober Louis Stephenson) 
  8. The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins) 
  9. Fool (Christopher Moore) 
  10. The Girl Who Played With Fire (Steig Larsson) 
  11. Never Let Me Go(Kazuo Ishiguro) 
  12.  Things Fall Apart (Chinua Achebe)* 
  13.  The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime (Mark Haddon)* 
  14.  Captain America Omnibus Vol 1 (Ed Brubaker) 
  15.  The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (Alan Bradley) 
  16.  Death of Captain America Omnibus (Ed Brubaker) 
  17.  Imperium (Robert Harris) 
  18.  Let the Great World Spin (Colum McCann) 
  19.  The Hound of the Baskervilles (Arthur Conan Doyle) 
  20. Carrion Comfort (Dan Simmons) 
  21. Look Me in the Eye (John Elder Robison) 
  22.  Reading the OED: One Man, One Year, 21,730 Pages (Ammon Shea) 
  23. Catching Fire (Suzanne Collins) 
  24.  Silver (Edward Chupack) 
  25. Soon I Will Be Invincible (Austin Grossman) 
  26.  The Lost City of Z (David Grann) 
  27. Sarah's Key (Tatiana De Rosay) 
  28.  The Invention of Hugo Cabret (Brian Selznick) 
  29. The Lonely Polygamist (Brady Udall) 
  30. Pictures at a Revolution (Mark Harris) 
  31.  Lord of the Flies (William Golding)* 
  32.  Teaching Adolescent Writers (Kelly Gallagher) 
  33.  How to Read Literature Like a Professor (Thomas C. Foster) 
  34. Lives of the Monster Dogs (Kristen Bakis) 
  35.  Outliers (Malcom Gladwell) 
  36. The Passage (Justin Cronin) 
  37. Reservation Blues (Sherman Alexie) 
  38.  The Magicians (Lev Grossman) 
  39. Mockingjay (Suzanne Collins) 
  40.  The House of Mirth (Edith Wharton) 
  41.  Grendel (John Gardner)* 
  42.  The Killer Angels (Michael Shaara) 
  43. The Strain (Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan) 
  44.  Wise Children (Angela Carter) 
  45.  Little Brother (Cory Doctorow) 
  46. The Haunting of Hill House (Shirley Jackson)* 
  47.  My Lobotomy (Howard Dully) 
  48.  Hell House (Richard Matheson) 
  49.  Into the Wild (John Krakauer) 
  50.  A Reliable Wife (Robert Goolrick) 
  51.  The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death (Charlie Huston) 
  52.  Syrup (Maxx Barry) 
  53.  In the Shadow of Gotham (Stefanie Pintoff) 
  54.  Johannes Cabal, The Detective (Jonathan L. Howard) 
  55.  On Beauty (Zadie Smith) 
  56.  A Thousand Splendid Suns (Khaled Hosseini)* 
  57.  East of Eden (John Steinbeck)*

Overall I'm pretty pleased with the year's reading. While I was a little heavy on the supernatural/murder mystery/ quirky stuff I really enjoy, I think there's a pretty good mix of fun books, work-related books, classics, and recommendations from friends. And there are only one or two books I felt like were a complete waste of time. Not bad overall.

As for next year, while part of me wants to up the ante and go for 100 books, a much larger part of me wants to not count the number of books at all. At times during the year I passed up large books I wanted to read simply because I didn't want to get sidetracked on my goal. So for 2011 my goal is simply going to be to read one classic piece of literature a month. Beyond that, anything I read will simply be for fun. I'll keep track of the books again, but this time not in order to hit a certain number.


Christian said...

Nice list! I think the goal of "X no. of books" is a good catalyst to read more, but after you've done it I think your "read what I want to read" is great. I work the same way.

As for blogging, I've decided blogs are more for the blogger than for the reader. So, although I enjoy your posts, I totally understand setting it aside. Been there, done that too.

i like whispering too said...

Great list also! I've wanted to read Look Me in the Eye and I keep debating whether I want to read the Steig Larsson books.

I liked Everything Is Illuminated, but I read Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close first and liked it a little better, perhaps because it was his first book I read and his style is so different (in a good way).

I actually didn't like Bridges of Madison County much at all but a friend really wanted me to read it so I did. I liked Anthem a lot and want to read another Ayn Rand. Suggestions?

Simply Meezy said...

That is an awesome list of books and I must admit that I am slightly jealous. It is February so it is too late for me to join you while trying to reach your next goal of one classic work each month, but that is something that I have been wanting to do for a long time now. I think I will strive for one book per quarter... yeah, I think I can handle that. Kudos again for that list!