Another year of readin’ books

Two years ago I decided to keep track of what I read over the course of a year, because I never seemed to be able to remember back more than a month or two on my own. With the aid of a simple Google document, I can look back over 2010 and remember every book I read, and see when I was reading a lot, and when not so much. This year I decided to, at the end of each month, make a note of which book that month had been my favorite. It’s a simple thing (and maybe a little dorky, to those of you with better retention than myself) but I really enjoy having these lists to look back on.

This year, I got a Kindle for Christmas from the ever generous boyfriend, and I love it! I wasn’t sure how well it was going to work for me, as a sentimental bibliophile, but thus far I can say that it pulled me straight out of a reading slump and I find it even easier to read than print, in some ways (sometimes those books are heavy for my little hands!). I’ll be curious to see if it affects my reading this year: Will I read more older books (free on the Kindle!)? Will I read more in print or digitally? Will I read more in general? Will I finally stop collecting things that are really, really heavy to move?

Anyway, on to the important stuff. Here are the books I read last year. The asterisks indicate favorites each month. Many of these books aren’t new, and many I read for the second, or third, or fourth time. I wonder if there will ever be a year when Harry Potter doesn’t turn up on this list? I doubt it…

“The Lost Child” by Julie Myerson
“The Lacuna” by Barbara Kingsolver

“Get a Financial Life” by Beth Kobliner
“My Custom Van” by Michael Ian Black
“The 19th Wife” by David Ebershoff *
“The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins
“The Magicians” by Lev Grossman
“The Subtle Knife” by Philip Pullman
“The Amber Spyglass” by Philip Pullman
“Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking” by Michael Ruhlman
“Catching Fire” by Suzanne Collins *
“Her Fearful Symmetry” by Audrey Niffennegger

“Half Broke Horses” by Jeanette Walls
“Bastard out of Carolina” by Dorothy Allison
“Food Matters” by Mark Bittman
“The Girl Who Fell From the Sky” by Heidi W. Durrow *
“Jane Austen and Co.: Remaking the Past in Contemporary Culture” – Suzanne R. Pucci and James Thompson, eds.
“The Help” by Kathryn Stockett

“The Origins of the Arab-Israeli War” by Ritchie Ovendale
“The Irresistible Henry House” by Lisa Grunwald *
“Mennonite in a Little Black Dress” by Rhoda Janzen
“Oryx and Crake” by Margaret Atwood (re-read)

“The Voyage Out” by Virginia Woolf

“The Year of the Flood” by Margaret Atwood *
“Dinner Roles: American Women and Culinary Culture” by Sherrie A. Inness
“The Food of a Younger Land” by Mark Kurlansky
“Last Night in Twisted River” by John Irving

“Can’t Buy My Love” by Jean Kilbourne

“American Wife” by Curtis Sittenfeld *
“Belong to Me” by Marisa de los Santos *
“The Magician’s Nephew” by C.S. Lewis (Chronicles of Narnia Book 1)
“The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe” by C.S. Lewis (Chronicles of Narnia Book 2)
“Alice I Have Been” by Melanie Benjamin
“The Horse and His Boy” by C.S. Lewis (Chronicles of Narnia Book 3)
“Dead End Gene Pool” by Wendy Burden
“Beezus and Ramona” by Beverly Cleary (re-read, obviously)
“Zeitoun” by Dave Eggers
“Ramona the Pest” by Beverly Cleary (re-read)
“A Homemade Life” by Molly Wizenberg*
“The 13th Hour” by Richard Doetsch
“Remarkable Creatures” by Tracy Chevalier
“Sloppy Firsts” by Megan McCafferty (re-read)
“Second Helpings” by Megan McCafferty
“Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” by J.K. Rowling (re-read)
“Mockingjay” by Suzanne Collins
“Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer” by Novella Carpenter
“Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” by J.K. Rowling (re-read)
“You Grow Girl” by Gayla Trail
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows” by J.K. Rowling (re-read)
“In Defense of Food” by Michael Pollan* (re-read)
“Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Bronte* (re-read)
“Will Write for Food” by Dianne Jacobs
“Culture and Imperialism” by Edward Said
“A Moveable Feast” by Ernest Hemingway
“Stardust” by Joseph Kanon
“Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls” by Rachel Simmons
“White Teeth” by Zadie Smith* (re-read)
“Thanksgiving: The Biography of an American Holiday” by James W. Baker
“Putting Content Online: A Practical Guide for Libraries” by Mark Jordan
“The Almost Moon” by Alice Sebold
“Gregor the Overlander” by Suzanne Collins
“Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality” by Christopher Ryan; Cacilda Jethá *

I’m actually surprised at how many new books I read, especially in the beginning of the year. I’m an inveterate re-reader, and last January, I promised myself that I would only read one already-read book a month. While there were a few months when I broke that rule, there were more months than I expected when I didn’t re-read at all. So considering my real goal was to read more new fiction, I think I did pretty well for myself. I think it’s also pretty dorky that I made up reading rules for myself, but, well, I’m just rule-abiding kind of lady.

This year I’d like to focus on reading more classics, which should be fairly easy on the wallet, considering I work in an academic library (we gots lots of copies of the classics) and most classics are free in ebook format. I’d also like to try to stick with my goal of reading one work of new fiction a month, but I find that harder, because we don’t carry a lot of new fiction in my library, and those hardcovers are pricey. I’d also like to write more reviews (and more in general), but we’ll see how that goes. I have a sneaking suspicion this is going to be a busy, busy year.

What were your favorite books of 2010? Do you have a favored way of keeping track of what you’ve read? Did you read any of the same books as me in 2010, and if so, what did you think of them?

One thought on “Another year of readin’ books

  1. Nicole

    I’ve been really excited to find an Android based e-reader “OverDrive” for my G1 mobile phone available free from the Android Marketplace. I have access to the San Diego Public Library system, along with many others, where I can “check-out” newer e-books which the library has. Free books via the Gutenburg Project are also available. The download is incredibly quick and access is fast and easy. I love it! I find myself still fond of the tactile nature of books, but also in love with the portability (and back lighting) of e-books. I have found that I read through them a lot faster than the paper counterparts as well. I am sad to see them go when rights expire though. Few are different than traditional library books, being “due back” within a certain time-frame. Those purchased through for-profit e-book sites are different of course. But to those who would rather not purchase the titles online, there is the library option which I find really handy and cool. Free new title e-books! How cool is that?


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