Saturday, January 8, 2011

The last 2010 reading round-up

Yes, the year 2010 is done, and I feel like all the bloggers I follow have written their Year in Review posts, with lists, stats, and general thoughts on their reading for the past year...and I'm finally just starting mine. But in the space of life, what's a few days' delay, really? Not much.

I joined three challenges for 2010, and I "failed" all of them.

For the RYOB (Read Your Own Books) Challenge, I hoped to read thirty books that I already owned but hadn't read. I was pretty strict with myself on this one: they had to be books I'd acquired before 2010, books that were already tagged "tbr" in my LibraryThing catalog when I wrote my blog post about the challenge on January 6. I used the tag "RYOB 2010" in LT to track my progress, and I only read 23 of those tbr books this past year.

If I'd counted books I purchased during 2010 and then read, however, I'd be pretty close to my goal. Books like The Passage, The Elegance of the Hedgehog, Push, and The Zen of Eating were purchased this past year and read within a couple months. So I didn't do too badly, overall. I'm planning to participate again in 2011, and already have an "RYOB 2011" tag in LT.

For the POC (Persons of Color) Reading Challenge, I planned to read between seven and nine books written by persons of color, and/or featuring characters who are persons of color. I ended up reading only six books written by persons of color, although I did listen to the audiobook of The Help as well. This challenge finally got me to read the two Zadie Smith novels that were waiting on my shelves, and I've since purchased The Autograph Man and hope to read that in 2011. I checked out Smith's essay collection, Changing My Mind, from the library during the summer, and it's not included in my count as I dipped in and out and skipped around and didn't read the whole thing, but I've just fallen in love with Zadie Smith's writing this year, thanks to the POC Reading Challenge. I will join again for 2011, and I will do better!

My third challenge was the Clover, Bee, and Reverie Poetry Challenge. I hoped to read eight books of poetry, and only read six, and didn't read two books that were "connected" in some way (author, theme, etc.). I don't feel too badly about this one, though, partly because the main website for the challenge wasn't updated throughout the year. It's hard to be motivated about a challenge when you aren't connecting with others who are also involved, and when the person(s) hosting the challenge are absent from the challenge's website. Something like RYOB doesn't need to be as social, it's mostly just me and the books in my house, but for most challenges, there's gotta be something more, and I just didn't find it in this one. I might join a different poetry challenge for 2011 if one catches my eye.

I have to stop here and say, I'm so thrilled that Kyle's basketball practice runs from 9am to 11am, and that Jeff took Ryan along as well. It's 1035am, and I can probably finish this (gigantic) post before they get home -- hooray!!! And now back to the blog post already in progress. ;-)

My reading slowed down a lot in the last few months of the year. During the weeks when I was taking Topamax (late Sept. and much of Oct.), it was very hard to read anything, and I'm so glad that migraines weren't my main problem, so I was able to stop taking it. Any medication that makes my mind too fuzzy to even READ is simply not worth taking. Between the illness and doctor visits, all that uncertainty, it was often hard to focus on my reading. I think I could have gotten at least two or three more books read this past year if I hadn't developed Horner Syndrome, and spent those weeks on Topamax. In 2011, I resolve not to take medications that keep me from reading! :-D

Finally, the list of books I finished in 2010. I hoped to include The Sparrow on this list, and a second listen to the audio of The Help, but I didn't quite make it, so those will be my first two for 2011. The ones I enjoyed most are marked with an asterisk.

1. The Book Borrower by Alice Mattison, audio, Jan. 3
2. Against Love Poetry by Eavan Boland, Jan. 5*
3. The Children by Edith Wharton, Jan. 25
4. Once upon a Time When We were Colored by Clifton L. Taulbert, Feb. 10
5. The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy, audio, Feb. 10*
6. The Marvelous Arithmetics of Distance by Audre Lorde, Feb. 14
7. Disgrace by J. M. Coetzee, Feb. 27
8. Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray, print & audio, March 13
9. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon, March 14*
10. Welcome to My Country by Lauren Slater, March 18
11. The Keep by Jennifer Egan, audio, March 31*
12. King Dork by Frank Portman, April 17*
13. The Art of Losing: Poems of Grief and Healing edited by Kevin Young, LT Early Reviewer (LTER) book, April 19*
14. Versed by Rae Armantrout, April 25
15. On Beauty by Zadie Smith, audio, April 25*
16. A Worldly Country by John Ashbery, May 2
17. The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger, May 6
18. Jack in the Pulpit by Cynthia Riggs, audio, May 9
19. The Emergence of Memory: Conversations with W. G. Sebald, edited by Lynne Sharon Schwartz, May 19 (LTER book)
20. March by Geraldine Brooks, started in audio but finished in print on May 22
21. The Nerve by Glyn Maxwell, May 30
22. Candide by Voltaire, June 5
23. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, audio, June 26
24. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton, audio, July 1*
25. White Teeth by Zadie Smith, July 4
26. Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls, July 11*
27. E. M. Forster (a Brief Lives biography) by Richard Canning, July 18 (LTER book)
28. The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery, Aug. 1*
29. The Partly Cloudy Patriot by Sarah Vowell, Aug. 3*
30. Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy, Aug. 21, audio*
31. The Passage by Justin Cronin, Aug. 25*
32. Nightwork by Christine Schutt, Sept. 3
33. Anagrams by Lorrie Moore, Sept. 10*
34. The Giver by Lois Lowry, Sept. 16*
35. Great House by Nicole Krauss, Sept. 26 (LTER book, ARC)
36. The Reef by Edith Wharton, audio, Sept. 27
37. The Zen of Eating by Ronna Kabatznick, Oct. 9*
38. The Bridge of Dreams by Robert N. Lawson, Oct. 28
39. Fury by Salman Rushdie, Nov. 14
40. The Help by Kathryn Stockett, audio, Nov. 14*
41. Push by Sapphire, Nov. 20
42. A Pound of Paper by John Baxter, Nov. 28

As I look through the list, I wish it were longer, but mostly I think, Man, I read some really good books last year! I hope 2011 is more of the same: good books, but more of them! ;-)

1 comment:

Marie said...

Wow, I am impressed by your reading list! It doesn't matter if you did not "meet" the online challenges. You did read a lot. Congratulations!

I can only get inspired by you and resolve to read more this year. I have been lazy in that area. In the first week of 2011, however, I have browsed a few bookstores in Cambridge and Waltham! I just need to open up a book and start reading! I hope you are having a wonderful new year so far! Best wishes for the rest! :-)