I wrote this as a Facebook note before I had a blog, and it gave me the idea to keep one in the first place. Anyway, I’m posting it here for reference, since it is, after all, the first in a series.
I had the idea at the beginning of the year to keep track of all the books I read. I’m pretty sure that doing so resulted in my having read more books than usual this year, especially since my job this year offered a lot of free time, between my 1.5 hour commute each way, and Fridays off. I’m currently in the middle of reading Don DeLillo’s Libra and since it’s not the kind of book I can read very quickly, it doesn’t look like I’ll be finishing before the end of the year, so I figured I would just go ahead and post my stats now.
Total Books Read: 63
Re-reads: 4 (fewer than I thought!)
The Perilous Gard
New Reads: 59
Most Popular Genre: Young Adult (11 books)
Hardly shocking, since YA books are such quick reads, and The Hunger Games series packed three books in right there. Second most popular genre? Romance. Thank you, Sookie Stackhouse. Other genres read were just plain old fiction, classics, thrillers, sociology, autobiography, sci-fi, fantasy, horror, historical fiction (yay, me; HF is a tough category for me to maintain interest in), mystery, psychology, and one children’s book, in my re-read of Charlotte’s Web.
Longest Book: Kristin Lavransdatter, Sigrid Undset, 1124 pages
But just barely. Under the Dome was 1074. A much easier to read 1074. I’m fairly certain Kristin Lavransdatter was also the book it actually took me longest to read.
Biggest Chore to Finish: The Red and the Black, Stendahl
Dear. God. Every once in a while there’d be a sexy part, and then the author would pull this bait-and-switch, like, “Turned on, eh? Well, they’re going to be unlacing that corset for a while, so let’s leave them in the boudoir and talk about the Bourbon Restoration!”
Worst Book of the Year: Confessions of Summer, Philip Lopate
I learned about this book through a reading comprehension section on one of my practice SATs. The section described really perfectly what it felt like to come from a lower-class background and the strange sense of hypocrisy and in-betweenness that having friends in the middle and upper-middle classes initially gives one. The rest of the book just plain sucked.
Favorites of the Year: Drood, Dan Simmons; The Book of Lost Things, John Connolly; The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins; Daniel Deronda, George Eliot; Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro; Portrait of a Lady, Henry James.
You know me. So you know I couldn’t choose just one, right? Except for Book of Lost Things, I have commentary on each of these novels at my goodreads.com page. I didn’t write much about that one because I finished it on the ten hour, overnight flight home from Hawaii, during which I was so uncomfortable I only slept two hours. I woke up, started reading this, and finished it before arriving home. It’s a little Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, a little David Copperfield, a little Neverending Story, and a little “Into the Woods”. Obviously, I loved it. It’s a book so simple in concept it could easily have been ruined by another writer, but instead it has that transporting quality so rare and so essential in all the works it draws from. Whenever I read fantasy, it’s because I’m trying to get into a book like this one, and I always think I’ll never feel that way again, but then I do.
Drood is a book I originally gave an ambivalent review, but it stayed with me, vividly, in a way I could not have predicted, and I look forward to reading it again.
The only problem now is that I’m going to feel the need to do this every year… for the rest of my life.