Friday, December 31, 2010

Faves of 2010: The Year In Reading

First off,


But secondly, I have a confession: I made an Excel spreadsheet of all the books I read this year.

(I debated admitting it, you know. I don't want to seem totally weird - like a neat freak, who organizes obsessively. I didn't always make a list of the books I'd read. Definitely not when I was in school. Or even when I started working in the publishing industry. But sometime last year, I started listing what I read in the back of my journal. And this year, I up'ed the OCD-ness with Excel: noting the title, the author, the date I finished, the intended age group, whether or not it was part of a series, whether or not I'd read it before, whether I read the book for fun or for a specific project, and also, just for kicks, fiction or non-fiction.

See why I was hesitant to mention it? Now, the depths of my weirdness have been revealed. My good friend Angela would say that I did it because I am a Virgo. Sigh. I always thought Virgos were the most boring sign ever. This may prove it.)

But because of Excel, I have some stats to share with you:

In 2010, I read a total of 104 books. Muahahahahaha. (Yes, I proud of myself. I reached my 100 book goal). :-D

But another confession: Yes, I snuck in 29 books I'd read before. Many people can't stand to re-read books or re-watch movies. I am definitely not one of those people. I have lost count of how many times I've read certain favorites, such as Gail Carson Levine's Ella Enchanted, Sherwood Smith's Crown Duel, and the Harry Potter series (both of which I did indeed read again this year).

I read 47 middle-grade books, well more than any other age group. Since it's my fav, I'm totally not shocked by this. I was surprised that the age group in second place was actually Adult books (37), and I actually read fewest books in the YA category (20).

But 17 books were nonfiction! FYI, that's ridiculously high for me.

Last but not least, I have some awards to give out. These are not necessarily the best of the year, because I'm really way too particular to judge that. But these are definitely, without further ado, my....


The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

You know when you read a book, and it's like taking a much-needed vacation with some of your favorite people? For me, this book was like taking that vacation again - with the added comfort of familiarity.

The DUFF, by Kody Keplinger

I know. I told you all about this book already here. But seriously, it's completely fantastic. The main character feels like someone you've known your whole life...and somebody you want to keep around for the rest of it too. :-)

Traveling with Pomegranates: A Mother & Daughter Journey to the Sacred Places of Greece, Turkey, and France, by Sue Monk Kidd and Ann Kidd Taylor

No description necessary here, because the memoir's subtitle really says it all. :-P It's a very good book in its own right, but I love this one for entirely personal reasons: a) I was in a traveling mood when I bought it, and b) after I read it, I passed it onto my mother, who enjoyed it too.

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand, by Helen Simonson

This one came from my ex-roomie Angela - a birthday present. I put it off for months (we usually have very different tastes in books), but she kept asking if I'd read it yet. So, I did. Wonderful! Totally worth the first hundred or so pages of slow "good manners" Britishness.

"It reminds you that love really can conquer all," Angela told me when she handed it over, and the book also shows you how love can transform you and your entire life - even if you're a widower passing your retirement in a tiny, conservative English village.

Honorable Mentions: Garth Stein's The Art of Racing in the Rain and Carlos Ruis Zafon's The Shadow of the Wind

A Tale Dark and Grimm, by Adam Gidwitz

Jo kindly gave it to me this galley, because she knew it was totally my cup of tea. And OMG, I loved it. It has old school fairy tales (which means blood, gore, and very brave kids), but the narrator's voice makes it fresh and new. Gidwitz brings the old stories to life so well goosebumps sprout on your arms - as only the best storytellers can do.

Honorable Mentions: Rebecca Stead's When You Reach Me and Neil Gaiman's Coraline

Finnikin of the Rock, by Melina Marchetta

I left this one for last, because I don't know how to describe it...besides just saying, awesome, Awesome, AWESOME! That's generally what happens when I want to talk about any of Marchetta's novels: every page packs a punch, the plot carries a million different subplots, and her characters are so layered, so complex, and so real that the book hits you at your core.

I read this somewhere: a great book is the one that alters you and your perception of the book's subject forever. I can't think about a young monarch assuming a throne - one of my favorite fantasy plots, btw - without thinking of Finnikin of the Rock and all its themes.

Go read it.

Actually, go read them all. :-)

Okay, I think I'm gonna go be a geek, grab a book, and read until 2011 rolls in.

In case I don't get around to it tomorrow,

Happy New Year!!!

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