Friday, December 31, 2010

the year (2010) in books

Happy New Year!! It has been so long since I have blogged that I’ve forgotten how to do it (nearly). 2010 was a good reading year even though I read far fewer books—34—than I had hoped to. Again, I blame school. During spring semester, I attempted frantically to keep up with school assignments and prepare for portfolio review, which I passed (definitely a high point of the year!). This past fall semester was spent trying to keep up with a full course load and attendant work. But it’s all good. I love design and designing. Perhaps I can include more design books on my 2011 reading list.

In a nutshell, I focused on quality rather than quantity this year, choosing to read more classics and literary books when I could. In June we traveled to England. Fiction and nonfiction related to the trip figured prominently on my list. To set the mood before our trip, I read Kingdom by the Sea, Paul Theroux’s classic account of walking around Great Britain’s coast. Upon our return home, I read Hound of the Baskervilles to cement my memories. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s chilling depiction of the Grimspound in Dartmoor National Park transported me to the very ground I had walked mere weeks earlier.

Time spent waiting in airports and on planes and trains gave me many opportunities to read aloud to the boys. We read some fantastic books, including The Hobbit, which I realized, once again, is about the most perfect adventure story ever. A recent read of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe has inspired us to finish the epic C.S. Lewis series in the new year.

Another way I made up for lost time reading was to listen to audio books on my commute to school. For the most part, I listened to mysteries and thrillers, which I find more forgiving on my attention span, especially when practicing presentations or reviewing for tests on same drive. I also listened to a few books that were in the Tournament of Books, which I knew I wouldn’t otherwise get to. Both were disappointments, and I’m glad not to have gotten bogged down in their pages.

Herewith is a list of the thirty-four books I read in 2010. A small list of statistics follows.

1.  Whiteout (Rucka and Lieber), graphic novel                
2.  Nicholas (Goscinny and Sempe)
3.  The Girl Who Played with Fire (Steig Larsson)
4.  The Vintage Caper (Peter Mayle) audio
5.  Chronic City (Jonathan Lethem), book group, 42 for 42
6.  The Unnamed (Joshua Ferris), 42 for 42
7.  A Gate at the Stairs (Lorrie Moore) audio, 42 for 42, TOB
8.  When You Reach Me (Rebecca Stead)
9.  That Old Cape Magic (Richard Russo) audio, TOB
10. Committed (Elizabeth Gilbert) audio
11. Fatal Remedies (Donna Leon)
12. Man from Beijing (Henning Mankell) audio
13. The Sea of Monsters (Rick Riordan)
14. Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest (Steig Larsson)
15. Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (Alan Bradley)
16. Kingdom by the Sea (Paul Theroux)
17. Red Pyramid (Rick Riordan)
18. My Love Affair with England (Susan Allen Toth)
19. Lost on Planet China (J. Maarten Troost) audio
20. Life as We Knew It (Susan Pfeffer)
21. Hound of the Baskervilles (Arthur Conan Doyle)
22. Remarkable Creatures (Tracy Chevalier)
23. Cricket in Times Square (George Selden)
24. Red Hook Road (Ayelet Waldman)
25. Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer (John Grisham)
26. Day for Night (Frederick Reiken), my favorite of 2010
27. Friends in High Places (Donna Leon)
28. Mockingjay (Suzanne Collins)
29. 84, Charing Cross Road (Helene Hanff)
30. The Hobbit (J.R.R. Tolkein)
31. Yarn: Remembering the Way Home (Kyoko Mori)
32. Viognier Vendetta (Ellen Crosby), audio
33. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (J.K. Rowling)
34. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (C.S. Lewis)

Fiction: 30
Nonfiction: 4
Books written by women: 14
Books written by men: 20
42 for 42 challenge: 5 (last year: 11)
Mystery/thrillers: 10
Travel essays: 3
Culinary essays: 0 (no way!)
Donna Leon: 2
Children’s: 10
Story collections: 0
Audio: 7
Classics: 5
Graphic novels/memoirs: 1
First novels: 0

Off to get a jump on 2011 reading!

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