I started my blog in November 2009, so 2010 was my first full calendar year of blogging. Plugging into the book blogging community has provided me with endless recommendations for books, and my time spent reading has grown in proportion. I read 86 books in 2010, including seven audio books and five graphic novels / coffee table books.
Of those books, 68 were fiction, 17 were non-fiction and 1 was a book of poetry. I’ve usually thought of myself as a balanced fiction and non-fiction reader, but I guess not in 2010!
Of the books read, 58 were authored by women, 25 by men, two were husband/wife collaborations and another was an anthology of travel essays by men and women.
I did not read many books by people of color but I’ll give a shout-out to the POC authors I did read this year (hopefully catching them all): Edwidge Danticat, Banana Yoshimoto, Haruki Murakami, Pamela Young Samuels, Octavia Butler, Marc Fitten, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
I enjoyed so many books I read in 2010, but the ten that really wormed their way into my affections are, in alphabetical order:
1. The Country of the Pointed Firs by Sarah Orne Jewett (technically a re-read, but it felt like I was reading it for the first time)
2. The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy
3. The Inimitable Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse
4. Kindred by Octavia Butler
5. Middlemarch by George Eliot
6. Stasiland: True Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall by Anna Funder
7. The Summer Book by Tove Jansson
8. Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven by Susan Jane Gilman
9. The Veil of Gold by Kim Wilkins
10. The Whistling Season by Ivan Doig
The above statistics and top-ten list is a traditional retrospective summation of my 2010 year of reading. However, I’d also like to indulge in a less-traditional list: a list of great book ‘moments’. This is partially inspired by my recent addiction to finely edited movie scene montages like this one. There are certain passages or ‘scenes’ in books that stand out to me, for being particularly thrilling, moving, or funny and I’d like to pay tribute. Here they are in no particular order:
– Katniss leaping through the woods in the Arena in response to Rue’s cry for help and taking action on the enemy. Katniss is such a fierce avenger in this moment. (Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins)
– Lt. Fick and his fellow Marines hear about 9/11 while on shore leave in Australia and hurry back to their ship. (One Bullet Away by Nathaniel Fick)
– Susie Gilman’s mother calls while Chinese police officials are in Susie’s hotel room and instinctively catches on that something is wrong, though Susie can’t tell her aloud. (Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven)
– Tash cutely says goodbye to the letter ‘K’ in a letter to Ella. (Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn)
– Tim Gallagher describes the lost great forests of the Southern United States so that I missed them without ever having experienced them. (The Grail Bird)
– Em Hayward meets the Frost King for the first time and he tells her she is dying and that he can save her, but there is a cost. (Veil of Gold)
– David Carroll hears the cry of a frog being dragged off by a snake and decides to intervene. (Swampwalker’s Journal)
– Constantine heals Rae’s wound that she had received from the vampires. (Sunshine by Robin McKinley)
– An exhausted Ayelet Waldman is admonished by a stranger in a grocery store that breast-feeding is best, which brings Waldman to tears because her son has a defect where he is not able to breast-feed. (Bad Mother)
– Dana’s husband runs across the plantation to get to her and she involuntarily travels back to the present before he can reach her. (Kindred)
– Eleanor and Theodora hear the sinister sounds of something trying to get into the bedroom. (The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson)
– Bertie’s bedroom has inexplicably been filled with yowling cats and a fish head. (The Inimitable Jeeves)
Last list! Here are some of the most evocative settings I experienced in 2010:
1. Antarctica as depicted in The White Darkness by Geraldine McCaughrean
2. The Arena in The Hunger Games
3. Dunnet Landing, Maine and environs in The Country of the Pointed Firs
4. The islands in the Gulf of Finland in The Summer Book
5. Skaksi, the dangerous magical world in Veil of Gold
6. China, 1986 in Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven
7. The Farallons in The Devil’s Teeth by Susan Casey
8. The one-room schoolhouse in The Whistling Season
Thanks to all the people who stopped by my blog in 2010! I hope you continue to enjoy reading my blog. I love reading the comments posted here, and the sharing of recommendations back and forth.
I look forward to all the moments, places, characters of the books I will read in 2011!