The End of the Year Wrap-up that got out of hand...
My annual recap turned into a bit of a mind explosion.
I was going to wait until 2011 to do my year-end recap. But I am pretty certain I am not going to finish any more books in the next three days. Versions of this year end wrap-up have been floating around the book blogosphere of late. Here is my contribution.
How many books read in 2010?
A measly 68. Far fewer than the 110 I read in 2009. I put this down to working more, buying a house, and taking on both War and Peace (1,352 pp) and The Golden Notebook (640 pp). Oh and my misguided attempt to read all the Penguin English Journey series in April really undercut my reading mojo.
Ha! When I first saw this one I assumed the number of non-fiction books read this year would be a whopping great zero. But I actually read about 11 non-fiction books this year. Mostly memoir-ish type things. A history of Penguin Books, and of course some of the previously mentioned Penguin English Journey series.
I assume this means the ratio of male to female authors as opposed to male to female transgendered authors. Not surprisingly for me, the ladies edged out the gentlemen. I read 30 books by males and 38 by females. Even more telling is that 8 of my Top 10 for 2010 were by female authors.
See my Top 10 for 2010. I think if I had to pick just one that provided the most unqualified reading groove it would have to be Dorothy Whipple's collection of short stories, The Closed Door.
Least favorite read?
Keep in mind that I tend not to finish books I don't like. I use Nancy Pearl's Rule of 50. So if I don't like it by page 50 I don't keep reading. This is why so few clunkers end up on my books read list. As mentioned, I certainly struggled to enjoy the Penguin English Journey Series. I did enjoy many of them and bits and pieces of most of them. But taken as a whole (which was a mistake), it felt more like pain than pleasure. But if I had to choose just one book that I would be least likely to ever want to re-read, it would be Sophie's Choice.
Most read author?
Both Dorothy Whipple and Maggie O'Farrell provided four titles each. And both were new to me in 2010. Doris Lessing, Anita Brookner, and E.M. Delafield both provided two titles each.
Least read author?
Ha, ha, I just made this category up. Just imagine, I would have to list every author whose work I didn't read this year.
Author read this year I would most like to meet
I was going to take some time thinking about this, but then I realized I read an E.M. Forster book this year. Not only is his work spectacular, but I would love to chat with him about having to live a closeted life. Plus I would want to sit with him while he watched all the film adaptations of his books.
Favorite reading experience of the year (warm weather)
Reading and dozing by the pool of our private sala in Phuket.
Favorite reading experience of the year (cool weather)
Snuggling on the couch reading Little Boy Lost with Lucy laying across my chest.
Favorite Penelope read this year
Fitzgerald. Other years it could have been Lively, but this year in the Penelope face off, Miss Fitzgerald wins.
1. Anything to do with a list. Even if I don't agree with the criteria or the subject, a post about lists will always get my attention.
2. Anything with pictures of books. I prefer the stacks of owned books. For some reason piles from the library fail to inspire me.
3. The more personal and newsy the better. I love hearing about your hobbies, your travel, your cooking and baking, your pets, and even your kids (unless it falls into the "children are our future" camp of over adulation).
Blog posts I am least likely to read?
1. Anything with vampires. I just don't dig the paranormal and I find this genre tedious.
2. Young adult fiction being read and reviewed endlessly by grown women. I am not dissing YA, and I am not dissing those who have a professional interest, those who review them for a YA audience, or those who review one or two of them in passing. But this year I was a judge for the YA category in a blog beauty pageant and it really soured me on the legions of twenty-something females who appear to be frightened of leaving their tween years behind them. One expects them to have Justin Bieber posters on their walls and fluffy pom-poms on the ends of their purple pens.
3. Reviews of audio books. I read and enjoy reviews of TV shows and films, but I just pass over audio book reviews.
4. The one million Booker Prize recaps. I used to pay attention to these, but there just seem to be too many of them these days.
5. Anything by bloggers who seem to be completely devoid of any sense of humor.
6. ARC reviews. I won't say that I never read them, but I prefer to see what bloggers read when they get to choose for themselves. (Full disclosure: I have reviewed one ARC. But I would have picked up the Maggie O'Farrell novel anyway.)
Biggest shortcomings as a book blogger?
1. My over the top, intolerant, un-nuanced pronouncements that make me feel temporarily smug (see the answers to the previous question).
2. My inability to recap plots in a way that isn't boring or overly reductive.
3. I am sure there are more...but I am too lazy to think of them.
4. I get lazy.
One thing I wish every blog included?
Geographic location of the blogger. I don't need to know the street you live on, but I really like knowing where a blogger lives. And unless you live in Gibraltar it would be nice if you could be a little more specific than just noting thecountry.
Things that puzzle me
1. British bloggers tend to get lots of influenza. What's up with that? I worry about you all.
2. Mailbox Mondays. Who is sending all of these books? Is there an international directory of mailing addresses that I don't have access to? I don't necessarily want to get books, but I sometimes want to send books. But I feel like sending books unsolicited would seem a little creepy. How does one ask for an address without seeming to be a stalker?
5. Why I am using up months' worth of blog post topics in one out of control stream of consciousness.