Friday, December 31, 2010

The Year In Books: 2010

My reading goal for 2010 had been to get through all (or at least a large portion) of NPR's 100 Best Beach Books Ever. Early in the year I started out pretty strong, trudging to the various branches of the Gainesville library every week with my list in hand. But it wasn't long before the whole thing became one giant pain in the ass. I wasn't finding the books that I really wanted to read, and I wasn't thrilled with the books I was finding. When it came time to actively begin packing and moving, I abandoned the list all together and instead just read whatever I could get my hands on, picking up books at Goodwill or Target. Now that I'm here in Portland and have access to a great library system and inexpensive used books at Powell's, the list has all but been forgotten. I'm reading what I want to read and loving it.

Books Read in 2010:

1. The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver

2. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer

3. The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith

4. Grave Sight by Charlaine Harris

5. The Pilot's Wife by Anita Shreve

6. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

7. Atonement by Ian McEwan

8. Animal Dreams by Barbara Kingsolver

9. Adrian Mole and the Weapons of Mass Destruction by Sue Townsend

10. Wicked by Gregory Maguire

11. Among Other Things, I've Taken Up Smoking by Aoibheeann Sweeney

12. The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly

13. The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler

14. Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver

15. On Beauty by Zadie Smith

16. Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner

17. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

18. Foxtrot: Assembled with Care by Bill Amend

19. The World of Karl Pilkington by Karl Pilkington

20. My Abandonment by Peter Rock

21. Weetzie Bat by Francesca Lia Block

22. Le Divorce by Diane Johnson

23. Choke by Chuck Palahniuk

24. Good Grief by Lolly Winston

25. Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

26. Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris

27. Goodnight Nobody by Jennifer Weiner

28. Waiting by Debra Ginsberg

29. My Custom Van by Michael Ian Black

30. The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance by Elna Baker

31. Why is my Mother Getting a Tattoo? by Jancee Dunn

32. Stuck in the Middle edited by Ariel Schrag

33. Promise Not to Tell by Jennifer McMahon

34. The Complete Strangers in Paradise (Vol. 1) by Terry Moore

35. Don't You Forget About Me by Jancee Dunn

36. The Three Incestuous Sisters by Audrey Niffenegger

37. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

38. I Know I Am, But What Are You? by Samantha Bee

39. Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

40. Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk by David Sedaris

41. Diary of a Wimpy Kid (Book #5) by Jeff Kinney

42. The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender

43. The Night Bookmobile by Audrey Niffenegger

44. The Camera My Mother Gave Me by Susanna Kaysen

45. Fun Home by Alison Bechdel

46. Confessions of a Teenage Jesus Jerk by Tony DuShane

47. The Impostor's Daughter by Laurie Sandell

48. The New Kings of Nonfiction edited by Ira Glass (I finished this today-just in time to make the list.)

I've been chronicling what I've been reading since 2008 and this is the first year that I've read under fifty books, which is somewhat disappointing because I had actually hoped to go well past fifty and read closer to 75. But it was a busy year. A year for experiencing life, not just reading about it.

A Few Thoughts on my Year in Books:

*As I look over what I've read this past year, a lot of it was neither good nor bad, just forgettable. Until completing this list, I had forgotten about half of these books.

*The book I remember reading the most while packing to move is Among Other Things, I've Taken Up Smoking. I never reviewed it here and in fact I don't think I even mentioned it. It was that shitty.

*For me, this was definitely the year of Barbara Kingsolver. I think I've read everything by her now except for The Lacuna. Have any of you read it? Should I make it a priority?

*The first book I read in Oregon was Good in Bed, which Jay picked up for me at a Target when we stopped in Boise. He remembered seeing it on the NPR list.

*Although so much of my list is kinda iffy, I did read quite a few books that I just loved and that I think about often: The Time Traveler's Wife, The Pilot's Wife, Atonement, Wicked, Good Grief, The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance, to name a few.

*The biggest disappointment for me was Squirrel Meets Chipmunk by David Sedaris. What was this about? I don't know. I didn't understand it and I didn't like it. My Custom Van was equally a let down.

As for the coming year, I'm not going to set any hard and fast goals about what I should be reading, but I would like to inch a bit closer to the elusive 75 books. Other than that, I'm just going to keep reading what I want to read.

What are some of your memorable reads of 2010 and do you have any goals for the new year?


The WoodLand School said...

What a year!!!

We have read so many of the same books -- and you have given me a bunch of new additions to my Kindle wish list.

Books I adored (that aren't on your list): The 188th Crybaby Brigade, Sh*t My Dad Says (provides the story-behind-the-story for many of the popular one-liners), the Hunger Games trilogy (back-to-back-to-back!) ... and several others that I can't remember because I don't keep a list because I'm too embarrassed (as a former English major) to look back at (and admit to) all the crap I've read! :-)

Daphne said...

rIt was such a busy year, right? Your list looks pretty good, actually... but I know what you mean. I want next year to be full of Really Good Books. Lucky lucky you with Powell's so close...

Haleine said...

I think I've only read three of the books on that list...two of them in the last month based on your recommendations (thanks for that, by the way).

Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

I never ever make resolutions but I did mention to Rick that in 2011 I want to get back to reading more. I have gotten away from reading as much as I used to.

Your list has several that I have read but this Barbara Kingsolver I have never read. May need to look into her.

As for David Sedaris new book. I heard an excerpt read on the radio (yep on Sirius) and then they discussed it. While listening I was thinking? What the hell? And then they all discussed this heavy shit and I just didn't get it. They were so loving this book and making all these big profound analogies. I kept thinking I missed something so i didn't get the book. Apparently we both missed the meaning....or these people were nuts.

Tammie said...

woodland: ive been wanting to read the hunger games trilogy. ive heard such good things about it from so many different people.

daphne: yes, same here. i really want the year to be a bit more memorable, book wise.

haleine: your welcome. :)

peggy: thats exactly how i felt. i mean, i guess i know on some level that these animals were supposed to be representing humans and their relationships but beyond that i didnt get it, didnt see the point, and i certainly didnt find it funny, which is what i want from david sedaris. i want him to bring the funny! (in fact, some of the stories were downright grim and sad.)

victoria said...

are you kidding me? 50 books in '10? you know how many I've read since 2008? ZERO! well, if you count how many non fiction books I've read, half-assed from the middle, maybe five or six. but I've had neurofeedback and completely cured my ADD and moodiness so I'm about to start reading something. I'm going to pick from your list. I know you have reviewed, but if you make a suggestion of your favorite, I'll read it!

So happy to hear you love OR. it's so important. like you said, it doesnt make all your problems go away but it alleviates a big one. that's my experience as well

Dani said...

You amaze me. I'm a daily (nightly) reader, but your volume blows my mind.

I've heard The Lacuna is ace. It's on that list of mine I'm always referring to.

I'm going to *star* this on my Reader so I can come back and add some of these.

I loved Good Grief, by the way. I wasn't ready for it to end. In fact, I thought I had another 20 pages or so when it came to a close. Turns out they were the discussion pages. I needed to prepare myself better for it to be over.

This next year I'm just going to read what I want...just like you said. I'll take that updated list with me to Half Price Books or the library and start checking them off.

Run Lori Run said...

You are a machine!!! I wish I could finish as many books as you, I am a slow (read: distracted) reader!

Ya know, I have the Time Traveler's Wife and Wicked and have not read them yet. I must move them to my bedside table.

Have you read The Razor's Edge? My husband says that is the absolute next book I must read. Period.

Sorry to hear about David's Sedaris's latest book. I love him darn it!

The WoodLand School said...

If you want, I'd be happy to lend you the Hunger Games books. I got them on Kindle, so I can send you a link so you can read on a Kindle or on your computer. Let me know :-)
... Courtney
PS - Be prepared for some big-time child neglect! I got totally sucked in and just couldn't stop reading!

~ The Jolly Bee ~ said...

Forgettable....That's a good word to describe my reading list too. I have to say that I did stumble upon a great series by Louise Penny. But, everything else was good for just passing time. Nothing more.

hester said...

What a great effort. One of life's joys, that's for sure. I loved The Time Traveller's Wife and Atonement too, as well as Barbara Kingsolver.

Wishing you happy reading in 2011!

sitting on the mood swing at the playground said...

I adored The Time Travelers' Wife and felt a bit let down by her next book (but think I was expecting something to hit me the same way as TTTW did). I'm glad to hear what you thought of the new Sedaris book...I've picked it up several times but never made the move to purchase it and read it.

I don't think I had a big memorable book for 2010 either although unlike you I did enjoy The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake. One part I'll never understand but overall enjoyed the ride.

Do you ever read short stories? (Maybe there are some on that list and I'm just not familiar with the title[s].) I read Amanda Eyre Ward's Love Stories in This Town a couple of years ago and really liked those and am currently reading Alice Munro's Too Much Happiness...but, for me, I have to be in the mood for stories.

Here's to a happy 2011 with good books!

Shannon from TN said...

Hi Tammie. It's been awhile but I just stopped by your blog to see what's up with you. Umm, that rainbow cake was the coolest thing ever! I see you have Jancee Dunn's "But Enough About Me" on your list. I am reading that book right now. You'll be proud-I got it used through Amazon (10 cents plus 3.99 shipping) and when it came from the used seller, I was delightetd to see it was a discarded library book-hardcover AND crinkly plastic cover; is it wrong that that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy? Anyway, I am about halfway through it and I have laughed out-loud several times. If you were a kid/teenager in the 80's you will LOVE this one. I look forward to reading your review! Happy reading and warm wishes for a great 2011! --Shannon from Tennessee

TN Shannon said...

Sorry, I read your entry too fast! You have already read Jancee Dunn's book. Curious what you thought about it. Sorry for the misread there.