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2010 Reading Summary

December 28, 2010

Wow, a lot happened last year. I thought it would. I didn’t get all the things I wanted to do, done, but we got a lot of really big things done. I’m going to spend this week reviewing 2010 (not too many posts, I promise) and looking ahead to 2011.

Let’s start with the books. (the entire list with review links is here)

Total Count: 56, once I finish my current book, Bright-Sided. This is a sharp drop from the past two years. I chalk this up to it being a very busy year, full of distractions and anxiety, and also spending lots of time doing house research, etc., rather than reading for pleasure. Still, 56 is just barely over a book a week, still respectable.

In General: Kind of a disappointing year, book-wise. I made some bad choices. I read too much crap. Again, chalking this up to being rather stressed in general, and needing fluff. I have a feeling this next year I won’t be reading as much fluff (hopefully). I can’t take too much more.

Over The Moon: Let’s see. I really enjoyed Tales of the City. I also loved Never Let Me Go, Blankets, Auntie Mame, The Little Stranger, The Thorn Birds, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, A Good and Happy Child, and I’m in the middle of Drood and loving it as well (won’t finish it in time for this year’s count, but it’s still pretty terrific).

Bitter Disappointments: Ugh, I was disappointed in a lot of books this year. The worst offenders were Floor Sample, The Te of Piglet, The Valley of the Dolls, Essential Dykes To Watch Out For, I’m Dancing As Fast as I Can, Free For All, and Fever Dream. Varying degrees of boring, offensive, stupid, poorly written and other crimes of literature. Also, although not quite as horrible, Inkheart, Le Divorce, PUSH, Unbelievable, Gluten-Free Girl, Don’t Look Now, and The Help all left me feeling disappointed and let down.

Best Re-Read: Hands down, it was the beautiful Strangers In Paradise Complete Collection. I love this graphic novel series so much. What an amazing story. Go read it. Now!

Best RIP read: Probably Fragile Things, which is amazing since it is a collection of short stories. But maybe not such a surprise because it is, after all, Neil Gaiman. I also really liked A Good and Happy Child as it fulfilled my desire for an actual creepy book and reassured me that I’m not totally jaded.

Pure Pablum: I read a few of these this year. Yearning for coziness, perhaps? Thornyhold, Rose Cottage, Garden Spells, The Secret Garden… all things crumbling and gardeny and English and cozy. These go down easy and were nice to read, but didn’t really add any brain cells. Although I maintain that The Secret Garden is a must-read for all children, especially those who tend to feel that no one loves them. Also it will always have a special place in my heart because I was reading it when we found out we got our house.

Best for Zoning Out: I listened to all three Stieg Larsson books, and I enjoyed them all very much. Tons of Swedish details and a kick-ass heroine made the time go by quickly as I packed, unpacked, raked, mowed, and drove. My favorite was probably the middle one, The Girl Who Played With Fire.

Most Conflicted About: Water For Elephants. I liked the book, but the horrible treatment of the animals almost caused me to stop reading it. It was traumatic, although the book was good. I’m still not sure if my overall impression is more good or bad.

Best Trash: I seemed to be on a big trashy kick this year, which didn’t really pay out. It’s like eating too many Cheetos. You think it’s yummy at the time, but then later, what does it get you? Nothing but a tummyache. Still, reading Don’t Hassle The Hoff was completely worth my time. This book is an amazing feat of ego by one of our cheesiest actors/rock musicians. Anytime you get leather pants, the KITT car and talk about wieners (dogs! wiener DOGS!) all in a single paragraph, it’s a good time.

Biggest Impact: I was floored by my rereads of Slaughterhouse Five and Fahrenheit 451. Both of these books were amazing, even so many years later, and reminded me of the deep impact they had made on me back in high school when I first read them. They reminded me anew to snap out of it and keep a good head on my shoulders and pay attention. War is never okay. Books are good. Numbing your mind is bad. Clearly I did too much of this last one, and it shows in my booklist. Next year: better.

Honorable mentions: I liked all of these books and they were worth reading, but didn’t really stand out for any particular reason. However, I enjoyed them a lot. The Bourne Identity (if for no other reason than to remind me that there was a time when action-book spies/heroes did not have cell phones or Google), The Bible (A Biography — this was fascinating and really good, if a bit over my head), Witches Abroad (am now a Terry Pratchett fan), Her Fearful Symmetry (although I wasn’t pleased with the ending), Tamsin (charming, could have been better), and The Passage (loved the first third… the middle third dragged, and the last third was good but confusing).

In Sum: A lot of crappy books, some truly great ones, some mediocre ones, and a bunch of relatively inoffensive time-fillers. I can do better. It’s not even a matter of “should” — I feel personally disappointed in a lot of the books I read this year, and I want next year to be full of fantastic books, classics, awesome re-reads and new authors. I have a new library to explore and a new commute that is just made for audiobooks. I may try to make my way down some “Best Of…” list to ensure I get some good ones.

Later in the week I’ll post my 2011 Reading Goals.

How about you? How was your Year In Reading?

18 Comments leave one →
  1. December 28, 2010 7:38 pm

    Loved, loved, loved “The Secret Garden.” It will always be one of my most favorite books. And the musical score form the Broadway show is beautiful too. I’m not sure where 2011 will take me book-wise. I’m reading Eileen Goudge right now and surprise, surprise — I’m liking it.

    • December 29, 2010 8:37 am

      The Secret Garden is one of my all-time favorites. It’s been an inspiration to me in so many ways ever since I first read it when I was 10 or something.

  2. December 29, 2010 7:43 am

    It was an up and down year for you and yet you still had some great reads! 2011 will be awesome, I know it! Looking forward to hearing about Bright-Sided!

    • December 29, 2010 8:38 am

      It’s pretty great. Trying to finish it by Friday!!

  3. December 29, 2010 9:14 am

    i read a few good things but i feel the need to do better. i do think i read a lot of fluff.
    everytime i see david hasselhoff i think of that book you read.

    • December 29, 2010 8:29 pm

      It was truly awesome. It’s worth flipping through for a few outrageous quotes.

  4. December 30, 2010 2:15 pm

    I’ve read all your Pure Pablum books lol.. also water for elephants.. animal treatment has always been bad in circus’s..but I also found the treatment of the old man in the rehab place was typically awful too.. this i know first hand..
    and.. DROOD!!!! one of my all time favorite reads!!! love love love that book and it made me a real fan of Wilke Collins and Dickenson, who we all know and love for Scrooge.
    I am surprised you didn’t like Inkheart.. I thought the series was excellent. but we all like different things. :o) You had a great reading year! I hope next year is even more enjoyable!

    • December 31, 2010 9:41 am

      I liked Inkheart, but it wasn’t as good as it could have been, I guess. I know you liked Drood! I am loving it!!

      • January 6, 2011 3:18 pm

        lol I meant to write Dickens and Dickenson shows up… nice.. musta been a brain fart!

        ohhhh glad you are liking Drood! I will have to read it again one day!!!

  5. December 30, 2010 2:24 pm

    My year in books largely consisted of the Harry Potter series.

    I enjoyed it, if for no other reason than it was a total escape. At the end of the day I’m tired. I want to get lost in something.

    I also liked not having to think of what I was going to read next. Lazy, I know. But that’s how the vast part of 2010 was. It was one third miserable, one third healing, and one third getting back on track.

    I’m not putting pressure on myself for the upcoming year. There are books that are on the list and I’ll chip away at it, one by one.

    Amazed at 56 books. Go you!

    • December 31, 2010 9:42 am

      The Harry Potter books are excellent and perfect for escape. I love having a long series of books to go through. I need a new series.

  6. December 30, 2010 3:27 pm

    My year in review (which I’m not even going to do!) probably leaves a lot to be desired. But thanks for your coverage…now I’ve got about three more reservations into my library 🙂

    • December 31, 2010 9:42 am

      Ooh, which ones??

      • January 1, 2011 3:49 pm

        Never Let Me Go, The Girl Who Played with Fire (I already put it on my library hold list!), and some more Vonnegut. I can’t believe how long it’s been since I’ve read any. Thanks for reminding me how astounding they are…

      • January 1, 2011 7:17 pm

        excellent! Those are all so good. I heart Vonnegut! Must read more next year!!

  7. January 3, 2011 6:44 am

    Sorry to read that there were a lot of crappy books this year, but am excited to see that you enjoyed Fragile Things, which has grown to be my favorite of Neil’s short story collections, and Sweetness as well. I love Flavia de Luce. I hope you can get to her second adventure soon and am excited that the third is due out in February! I certainly wish you a much better reading year in 2011.


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