Saturday, January 1, 2011

My Biblio Year

I just did a quick count of my 2010 reading on the Goodreads website. Not counting whatever books I forgot to record or, more likely, was too embarrassed to confess to reading, it came in at 103. I didn't really care about the total, other than because the other day I was reading a blog I'd never read before which was demonstrably written by a distinctly twit-like person and she said she'd read thirty-one books this year and I though "I hope I've read more than this twit". (And that's why I haven't made a New Year's Resolution to be kinder and more non-judgemental, and if I had it would already be broken).

So, in no particular order and in my own wingy categories:

A Big Huge 'Meh':

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen by Paul Torday

Properties of Light: a Novel of Love, Betrayal and Quantum Physics by Rebecca Newberger Goldstein (oh goody, another book about a tormented genius physicist and the student who comes to study/worship at his feet and falls in love with his beautiful tormented daughter.)

So Long at the Fair by Christina Schwartz

Blackout by Connie Willis

Tithe by Holly Black

The Woman Who Gave Birth to Rabbits by Emma Donoghue (it was supposed to be fictionalizations of actual historical events and people, which it was, but none of them really caught fire for me. Also, no one actually gave birth to rabbits, which in my book was a mistake. A monstrous birth or two always adds some kick to a tale.)

The Secret of Lost Things by Sheridan Hay (sucked me in with a bookstore setting. Surprise surprise -- nineteen-year-olds are whiney and self-absorbed and when a guy keeps telling you he has nothing to offer you and will never return your love you should probably believe him the first time. Or, you know, by the seventeenth or eighteenth, if you must persist.)

Post-Human by David Simpson

Mania by Craig Larsen

Caused Actual Nausea:

The House at Midnight by Lucie Whitehouse (my snotty review here)

The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Young Adult Fiction that made me consider giving up Old Adult Fiction:

The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins: just read them.


100 Cupboards, Dandelion Fire, The Chestnut King by N.D. Wilson: not flawless, but fresh and original, no easy answers, some great characters. Wilson needs a better publicist -- I only found these at the library by accident.

Tigerheart by Peter David (I'm a sucker for a re-imagined Peter Pan story every time)

Never After by Dan Elconin (yup, every time. This one wasn't quite as good, but still...)

The Child Thief by Brom (and again. Okay, maybe I need to look for some sort of support group...)

If I Stay by Gayle Forman


Greener Grass by Caroline Pignat

Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin

The Game by Diana Wynne Jones

A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb (a ghost story like no other ghost story -- beautiful, wonderful, extraordinary, transporting, captivating....)

Unwind by Neal Shusterman (if parents don't think their children are proving to be worth the trouble of parenting by a certain age, they can have them 'unwound', unmade and their parts put to other uses -- if that doesn't make you feel like crying and throwing up a little bit, never mind -- you're clearly dead inside and this book will be lost on you).

Re-read:

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (I might be too old for this now. It was diverting, but really pretty silly.)

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger (good, but not for the reasons I remembered).

Books that Did their Best to Improve my Mind and if they Failed it's really My Fault and not Theirs:

MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th ed. (ugh)

I Don't: A Contrarian History of Marriage by Susan Squire (it's a little scary to look back over centuries of evidence that show how frightening men as a whole have found women as a whole from pretty much the beginning of recorded history.)


Ten Degrees of Reckoning by Hester Rumberg (extremely sad and upsetting) - my review here

Paradise Piece by Piece by Molly Peacock (my review here)

The Boy in the Moon: a Father's Search for His Handicapped Son's Life by Ian Brown (my review here)

The White Man's Burden: Why the West's Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done so much Ill and So Little Good by William Easterly (pretty much convinced me that the entire Foreign Aid apparatus (apparati?) should be put in the hands of sensible fourteen-year-olds, and the douchebags handling it now should be slapped silly).


Betraying Spinoza: The Renegade Jew Who Gave us Modernity by Rebecca Newberger Goldstein (so good that I ended up reading her novel, which convinced me in turn that she should really stick to non-fiction.)

Passing for Thin: Losing Half my Weight and Finding Myself by Frances Kuffel

Angry Fat Girls: 5 Women, 500 Pounds and a Year of Losing it...Again by Frances Kuffel

Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond (silly review here)

What I Thought I Knew by Alice Eve Cohen

Can't Remember a Thing About Them no Matter How Long I Stare at the Title:

Those Who Walk in Darkness by John Ridley

The Sinner by Petra Hammesfahr

Sweetwater by Paul Charles

The Killing Circle by Andrew Pyper

A Quiet Belief in Angels by R.J. Ellory

Really Very Bad to Begin With, Made Infinitely Worse by the Author's Boastful Self-Lauding Cringe-Inducing Introductory Notes:

Nightshadows by William F. Nolan

Quite Good:

Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger (my review here)

A Long, Long Time Ago and Essentially True by Brigid Pasulka

The Quiet Girl by Peter Hoeg

The White Garden: a novel of Virginia Woolf by Stephanie Barron

I See You Everywhere by Julia Glass


Think of a Number by John Verdon

What Never Happens by Anne Holt

Steal Across the Sky by Nancy Kress

One For Sorrow by Christopher Barzak (when he's shorter he's better)

Benighted by Kit Whitfield

Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

Moby Dick by Herman Melville


Really Very Good:

Horns by Joe Hill

Sleepless by Charlie Huston (closest literary description I've ever read about what insomnia feels like)

The Various Haunts of Men by Susan Hill

Superstition by David Ambrose(sort of a backwards ghost story -- very clever and unsettling)

The Interpreter of Silences by Jean McNeil (my review here)

Shadow Tag by Louise Erdrich

The Breakwater House by Pascale Quiviger

Labor Day by Joyce Maynard

Monstrous Affections by David Nickle

Arthur and George by Julian Barnes (my review here)

The Chosen by Chaim Potok (my review here)

Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann

The Jade Peony by Wayson Choy

Little Bee by Chris Cleave

Annabel by Kathleen Winter



The Help by Kathryn Stockett

The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood

The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff

Rocked me to my Very Core, and Either in Brief Flashes or in their Entirety Ripped Through to a Seam of the Infinite -- Approach with Caution:

Come, Thou Tortoise by Jessica Grant

Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden

Far To Go by Alison Pick

Kockroach by Tyler Knox
Home by Marilynne Robinson

The Boys in the Trees by Mary Swan

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

16 comments:

Nan | WrathOfMom said...

WOW. I'm pretty sure every single book I read this year can be summarized by the characteristics that:

a. it was authored by Rick Riordan, or
b. the cover featured saucy high heels, make up or a hand bag, or
c. involved a horrible pun about the career path of a part-time sleuth.

Nicole said...

I am bookmarking (heh, get it? Bookmarking?) this page so I can read some of those titles. They look great! Although whenever I see "YA Fiction" I am desperate to pick up an old Sweet Valley High and read about the Dairi Burger and the twins' All-American good looks. Alas. I have no old Sweet Valley High books. Do they even make those anymore? Whatever happened to Francine Pascal? I'll shut up now.

Nicole said...

And, if it wasn't obvious, I am going to read the titles you LIKED, not the meh ones or the nausea inspiring ones. Just in case I wasn't clear.

Amber (Woodmouse) said...

Impressive list. I read zero fiction books in 2010. Wait, does Dr Seuss count? I think I read more than 100 children's books, lol. Non-fiction too, but I can't say I really "read" them, more like flip through them and get annoyed by how sparse actual information is inside.

Amber (Woodmouse) said...

Oh, and I AM a reader. Pre-baby days I devoured books. There will be time for it again and all the good books will be waiting. I'll just let you sift through the drivel for me.

Patti Murphy said...

Yay! Now I have a guide (except for the depressing Holocaust one and Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, which I found smug and too clever by far).

I'm going to memorize a line from each of your reviews and look for opportunities to use them.

I think I read approximately 10 books in 2010. My goal is 11 for this year.

Rachel Cotterill said...

I hope you find more to be excited about in 2011 - my overall sense of your ratings is that you were underwhelmed by a lot of books!

PS I don't think I have you as a friend on Goodreads, do I?

Beth-Anne said...

I couldn't agree with you more about Far To Go by Alison Pick.

Thanks for the impressive list of suggestions.

Magpie said...

I love your headings.

Marilyn (A Lot of Loves) said...

I re-read Hitchhiker's Guide a couple of years ago and discovered that my love for it was based purely on nostalgia. Sad to say, I think I'm too old for it too.

However, I've read a number of those YA books and they were all fantastically good. I think in many cases I enjoyed the YA books I read over the adult ones.

Amber said...

I find your reading so inspiring. I want to read, but I end up finishing very few books. Definitely less than 31. But you, you are rocking the biblio, so go you!

Fame Throwa said...

Good heavens, that is more books than I've read in my ENTIRE LIFE. No joke. I read at a grade-8 level and have the attention span of a 2 year old. Not a good combination for reading.

Mary Lynn said...

Cool! I just ordered Come Thou Tortoise, When You Reach Me and Cloud Atlas, using some gift cards I got for Christmas. I read four books over the Christmas holidays and it was wonderful to get back into reading again.

I reread HHGTTG every 5 or 6 years and still love it every time. I've just never really grown up, that's all.

Kelly said...

I was prepared to skip this post but your categories made it awesome. I'll be reading many of these!

Frances Kuffel said...

Coulda been worse. ;)

muebles said...

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