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Looking back on my books of 2010

01 Jan

All in all, 2010 was a good year of  books for me.

I read 181 books last year.  I read 14 on my Nook, 76 as audiobooks, and 93 on paper.  If you noticed those numbers don’t quite add up, you are correct. There are two books that I read as printed and audio books.

79 books were review copies.  22 were read for a book club. (There’s even one that overlaps those two categories)

43 of these books were originally published in 2009. 65 were new in 2010.  1 won’t be released until 2011.  The rest are older books, with 1908 being the earliest publication date represented.

I’d classify the majority of the books I read as good or very good.  There weren’t a lot of outstanding books beyond my top 10 list below (although there were a few more), but very few stinkers, and not even a huge number of meh books.

I’ve gone through and selected my top 10 books read in 2010.  These weren’t necessarily published in 2010, and they aren’t necessarily the best books out there.  They are books that I thought highly of at the time, and that still stick with me.

So, here are my top 10 choices:

  1. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games, #3)
  2. Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri
  3. The God of the Hive by  Laurie R. King (Mary Russell, #10)
  4. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
  5. The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements by Sam Kean
  6. If I Stay by Gayle Forman/Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
  7. Last Night I Sang to the Monster by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
  8. The City & the City by China Miéville
  9. Russian Winter by Daphne Kalotay
  10. A Secret Gift by Ted Gup

Special mention goes to Blackout/All Clear by Connie Willis.  They deserve to be on this list, check out my rant to find out what got in the way of my reading enjoyment.  Don’t let this happen to you!

Yes, Mockingjay is my top book of the year.  I know there are many out there that don’t agree with that choice, but I was amazed by this book.  I was utterly absorbed while reading it, and almost as soon as I finished reading it on my Nook, I started listening to it on my MP3 player.  I think it balanced an amazing story, characters that behaved in ways that I found interesting and in keeping with their histories, and questions of morality that are important to think about.  I still keep coming back to thinking about this book.

Yes, I paired If I Stay and Thirteen Reasons Why.  I feel that each is the flip side of the other, a teen girl looking at her life and the potential of her death.  And if I didn’t pair them, I’d have to delete something or have a top 11 list.

No, I didn’t review Cutting For Stone.  It was really good.  Just go read it.

Some observations:

Only 3 of my top 10 books are books that I received for review.  Only 1 is a  book club read.  On the other hand, I had 3 books the received 2 stars this year, and none 0f them were review books (but one was for book club!).    A closer look says my ratings on review books averaged 3.8 stars on goodreads, non-review copies are 3.9.  I’ll call that a wash!

YA is proportionally overrepresented on my list (30/180 or 1/6 of my overall reading, but 4/12 or 1/3 of my top 10).  I read some great YA books this year, largely thanks to blogger recommendations.

I was surprised that two non-fiction books made my list.  I only read 12 non-fiction books this year (12/180, or 1/15 of the total), but they make up 1/6 of my top list, and I really enjoyed most of the non-fiction I read.  Both of the non-fiction books in my top 10 are books that I accepted for review– perhaps because I am even pickier about the non-fiction I agree to.  I’m going to make a point to read at least this much non-fiction next year.

Mystery and romance are under represented, but I’m not surprised by that.  Much of what I read in those genres is fluff, which is often good or very good, but less likely to be fantastic.  The God of the Hive was really fantastic, and a couple of other mysteries were close to making the list.

I’ve been thinking forward to 2011.  I’m not really going to do anything different, reading-wise, although I may make some changes in how I deal with blogging.  I’ll post more if I come to any conclusions on that.  But for reading, I just want to keep balanced:  fluff vs. serious; review copies vs. books I buy vs. books I borrow; paper vs. electronic vs. audio.

Enjoy your books in 2010!

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8 Comments

Posted by on January 1, 2011 in blogging, books

 

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8 responses to “Looking back on my books of 2010

  1. nanscorner

    January 2, 2011 at 4:06 am

    Wow you read so many books! I’m really hoping to increase my number of books for 2011.

    What do you think of your NOOK? I went and started looking at them yesterday. I was really impressed with everything they could do!

     
  2. Heather

    January 2, 2011 at 4:53 am

    You had a fantastic year! I think I read three books on my Nook. I’m still trying to find it’s place in my life I think. I love it, it’s just not quite the same as paper…

    There are several books on your list that I want to read. I think I’ll bump them up. And I totally agree with you about Mockingjay. I thought it was perfect.

     
  3. gautami tripathy

    January 2, 2011 at 5:27 am

    Canterbury Tales is a favourite of mine even thought I read it for my PG studies. (We are supposed to hate anything that we read for a course!)

    I read 95 books, not bad, considering I was in a reading slump for more than four months.

    Happy New Year to you…Have a great reading year in 2011!!!

    Here are my Best Reads of 2010.

     
  4. Marce

    January 2, 2011 at 6:39 am

    You have a great balance on what books you read, I like that. There are a few I have considered on your list we will see.

     
  5. Rebecca Rasmussen

    January 2, 2011 at 8:06 am

    I definitely want to read the Disappearing Spoon! Sounds so interesting 🙂 Happy reading this year!

     
  6. bookmagics

    January 2, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    I loved Cutting For Stone and Russian Winter

     
  7. Anna (Diary of an Eccentric)

    January 6, 2011 at 7:53 am

    Great list! I enjoyed Mockingjay, too, and I’m glad to see Russian Winter on there because I hope to read it this year.

     

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