Friday, December 31, 2010

2010: A Year in Review

This time of year has always been a milestone for me: a time to look back on what I have accomplished over the last several months and to look ahead, setting new goals and to reorganize where necessary. Two thousand ten was a whirlwind of a year with many ups and downs, including some that are life changing.

Join me in taking a look at my year in reading:

Longest Book Read ~ The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Shortest Book Read ~ Belly Laughs: The Naked Truth About Pregnancy and Childbirth and Childbirth by Jenny McCarthy

Best New Series ~ The Kate Daniels Series by Ilona Andrews

Best Nonfiction Book ~ What We Have by Amy Boesky

Books that Touched Me Most Personally ~ Tie: What We Have by Amy Boesky & Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Book Not Finished ~
Of Bees and Mist by Erick Setiawan

Book that Made Me Smile ~ 29: A Novel by Adena Halpern

2009 Reading Trends ~

Total Books Read ~ 73
Total Authors Read ~ 62 (books written by multiple authors are only counted as one author)

Graphic Novels Read ~ 4
Short Story Collections, Anthologies or Essays ~ 7
Short Stories Read (not counting short stories read in collections) ~ 5

Total New To Me Authors Read ~ 51

Books Read by Genre ~
28 Fiction
29 Crime/Suspense/Thrillers/Mysteries
9 Fantasy
6 Nonfiction
4 Horror
3 Science Fiction

35 Female Authors
26 Male Authors
1 Mixed Gender

Books Read by Authors' Gender ~
40 Females
28 Males
5 Mixed Gender

Books Read by Rating ~
2 Outstanding/5 Stars
3 Very Good +/4.5 Stars
46 Very Good/4 Stars
13 Good +/3.5 Stars
8 Good/3 Stars
0 Fair +/2.5 Stars
1 Fair/2 Stars
0 Poor/1 Star

Book Size ~
7 Pint Size Books (200 pgs and Under)
41 Intermediate Books (201-350 pgs)
22 Substantial Books (351-500 pgs)
3 Doorstop Books (501+ pgs)

Books Read by Type ~
20 Hardback Books
39 Trade Paperback Books
12 Mass Paperback Books
2 E-Books

Books Read by Narrative Voice ~
31 1st Person
35 3rd Person
3 Both
4 Nonspecific Voice

Reading Challenges Participated in ~ 3
Reading Challenges Completed ~ 3

2009 Blog Posts ~ 148 (including this one)

Top Three Movies Seen This Year ~
Inception (2010)
The Town (2010)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 (2010)

Top Ten Favorite Crime Fiction Books for 2010 ~

10. Grey Matters by Clea Simon

9. Dog On It by Spencer Quinn

8. The Rembrandt Affair by Daniel Silva

7. Mortal Prey by John Sanford

6. The Devotion of Suspect X Keigo Higashino (review pending)

5. 31 Bond Street by Ellen Horan

4. The Singer's Gun by Emily St. John Mandel

3. The Last Child by John Hart

2. Starvation Lake by Bryan Gruley

1. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Overall it was a good reading year. A great one, in fact, quality wise. I did not read as many books as I hoped, but I did read 13 more than I did last year. Even so, with Anya's illness, my pregnancy, the situation with the house, and my extra responsibilities at work, reading was not a high priority. And still, I couldn't not make time for it--reading is very much a part of who I am. I had no idea what would make my top ten list this year until I sat down this past weekend and began giving it serious thought. After setting my completed list aside for several days and returning to it last night, I feel I made the right choices.

I value good writing, well developed characters, a setting that is just as much a character as the time and location the story takes place, and a story that wraps me up in the pages and won't let go until the end. I tend to be a visceral reader. For a book to become a favorite, it must touch me in an emotional way, whether it be through laughter or tears--even better if it's both.

Top Ten Favorite Books Read in 2010 (listed in reverse order) ~
10. Outside the Ordinary World by Dori Ostermiller

9. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

8. An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

7. What We Have: A Family's Inspiring Story About Love, Loss, & Survival by Amy Boesky

6. American Rust by Philipp Meyer

5. The Boat by Nam Le

4. The Weight of Heaven by Thrity Umrigar

3. The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien

2. Venetia Kelly's Traveling Show by Frank Delaney

1. The Lotus Eaters by Tatjana Soli

Plans for 2011 ~
At the start of 2010, I had big ideas for my blog and a list of books I just had to read within the year. I think I managed to read 1 book off that "must read list". The big craze this year was reading deliberately and the contrarian in me decided my goal would to be to deliberately not read deliberately. I knew then it would be a challenging year on many different fronts, and I wanted to keep my options open. Who knew where my mood and the moment would take me?

This new year I am taking it one step farther. I will not be joining any reading challenges, as tempting as many of them sound (and I do love a good challenge!). I stopped accepting books for review several months ago and will continue to turn down offers in the foreseeable future (exceptions are very few and far between). I still have a number of review books to get through, and so you'll be seeing those titles pop up now and then. I do hope to tackle those TBR stacks, although a lot will depend on what gets packed and when--and then unpacked. I will be taking each day as it comes.

I think Edmund Wilson got it right when he said, "No two persons ever read the same book." When we read a book, we bring who we into our reading experience, including who we are in the moment. Reading is a very intimate and personal experience as a result. That's how I see it, anyway. One of the many things I enjoy about the book blogging community is being able to share our thoughts about the books we read, seeing how similar and different our opinions may vary, all the while learning more about ourselves and each other. I cannot thank you enough for joining me this year on my reading adventures and hope you will join me again this coming year. I look forward to seeing what 2011 will hold for not only me, but for you as well. Keep those book recommendations coming!

Musings of a Bookish Kitty will be dark the first week of the New Year. Have a Happy New Year and stay safe.

© 2010, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved.If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.


  1. What a wonderful post, Wendy! I know what you mean about life coming in and crowding out reading sometimes. I also am not really joining many challenges this year, because although my heart is in the right place with them, I never end up finishing them and am always disappointing in myself when I fail. I have really enjoyed discovering your blog and I wish you a very Happy New Year. I have a feeling I will be enjoying your posts and getting to know you better in 2011, and I am looking forward to that!

  2. I like your goals for 2011, especially in eliminating challenges (I'm only involved in two right now and plan to keep that number under five) and cutting review books (I have one on the horizon, but no plans for any others) from your reading.

    While I enjoyed The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, I liked The Girl Who Played With Fire better for some reason. It just seemed to move at a slightly quicker pace for me.

  3. I can't believe I haven't read any of your top 10! I really do want to read The Singer's Gun though.

  4. I think when I set reading goals for myself, I tend to ignore them, too. That's why I don't really join challenges any more, because I lose all desire to read those books after I put them on my list. I figure... I can read them later :-)

    Great reading this year. It looks like some books had a huge impact on you!

  5. Zibilee - Thank you, Heather! That is a definitely downside when not being able to complete challenges--the disappointment one feels. I try not to let it bother me, but it inevitably does, even if just a little.

    I am so glad we found each other this year and look forward to more bookish talk this coming year.

    Unfinishedperson - I think it'll do me good to take it easy this next year, let some of the pressure off.

    I haven't yet gotten to The Girl Who Played With Fire yet but hope to this next year. My copy's sitting right here next to me, in fact. I am glad you liked it even better than The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

    Lenore - I'm finding quite a few lists filled with books I haven't yet read. So many great books still to get to . . . I think you'd like The Singer's Gun. I hope you get a chance to read it.

    Aarti - I'm always changing my mind when it comes to my challenge lists. :-) I feel happy about my reading this year, and hope this next year will be even better.

  6. I think you've got some great goals for the new year. Happy reading and happy new year.

    I didn't read as many books as I had hoped this year, but I still read 100+, and I'm satisfied with that. I'm also satisfied that I got to finally read Matterhorn this year...and I cannot tell you how excellent that book is. I am blown away!

    Congrats on the baby and chat again soon.

  7. Wendy, I don't think I've commented on your blog in a while. You've gone purple and I love it!

    I hope you have a wonderful 2011, full of joy and lots of great reading. And a new baby girl!!! Little girls are lots of fun in many ways. :-)

    Happy New Year and thanks for sharing your life with all of us. It is a pleasure to read your thoughts and musings each year.

  8. Serena - Thanks, Serena! Congratulations on your pregnancy too. :-)

    I am looking forward to reading Matterhorn. It sounds like such a great book.

    Kay - Thank you, Kay. I hope you have a wonderful New Year as well. It's certainly going to be a busy one!

  9. What a great post! A few of the books you've mentioned are on my TBR stack so I'm so happy to see they've made your list.

    I hope next year is a better year and you read as much as you want! Happy New Year.

  10. I always look forward to and enjoy your year-end posts, Wendy (and stole some of your format for my own! Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery :-)).

    I usually end up adding your #1 book of the year to my TBR, but not this time...because I'm currently reading it! It'll be my first review of 2011, and it will be a good one.

    Good luck with your reading plans in 2011 - and all those other life-changing things you have coming, too!

  11. I'm right there with you on no reading challenges next year. I love them but have been feeling more overwhelmed by them this year than ever. Next year I feel like I just want to read whatever I want :)

    Love seeing The Weight of Heaven on your list. I did like that book a lot. I must read The Lotus Eaters!

    Have a beautiful New Year Wendy!

  12. Your year in books was amazing and I can't wait to read about your life in 2011 with the big changes coming your way!!! I love your plans for 2011 and you're so right about the blogging community..I love talking books and just sharing!! Happy New Year Wendy!

  13. Vasilly - I think I'll be happy to read half as much as I did this year in the coming year. :-)

    Florinda - Thanks, Florinda. I didn't have as many extras this year, but I enjoyed putting everything together just the same.

    I look forward to your Lotus Eaters review!

    Iliana - Sometimes we need to step back, don't we? It'll be a good reading year next year. :-)

    Definitely do give The Lotus Eaters a try! I hope you have a wonderful New Year as well.

    Staci - So many changes! And right around the corner too! I've enjoyed spending another year with you, Staci. Have a great New Year.

  14. I love reading all these stats! I've read 5 of your top 10 and my #1 pick for the year is the same as yours. :) Happy New Year, Wendy - with the baby, you have so much to look forward to in 2011.

  15. You had a wonderful year in books. I was enthralled by What We Have as well. Happy New Year Wendy

  16. Such wonderful and varied lists. There are some that you mention that I am definitely looking forward to reading. I know what you mena about reading less and life crowding on. I read books less year as well because I was doing so much other stuff. I want to try and make a conscious effort to carve out more time to relax with a book.

  17. Sarah (Small World) - Thanks!

    Carrie - Lotus Eaters was such a good book, wasn't it? I hope you have a great 2011 too!

    Diane - What We Have really moved me. I'm so glad I read it. There was a moment when I hesitated because I wasn't sure it was the book for me at the time. Have a happy New Year!

    Nicole - I hope you are able to make more time for reading this year. I'm going to try and cram as much in as I can before my life gets more hectic. Not going to worry about what happens after that.

  18. Wonderful post. Looks like you had a great reading year. I am currently reading The Lotus Eaters.
    I like the Edmund Wilson quote, its very true.

    Happy New Year :)

  19. Happy New Year and best wishes for great reads in 2011!

  20. I was a bit disappointed in Of Bees and Mist. I didn't not like it, it was just a bit underwhelming.

    Happy New Year!!

  21. You had a great year in books! I wish I could make myself keep better records like you do. I'm just happy to have a record of what I've read by title and author!

  22. Great post Wendy! You're going to have a busy year ahead of you and a baby to focus on - that's the best ever! You did a good job in 2010 considering everything else. I pray for the best for you all in 2011. Happy New Year my friend!

  23. Naida - I hope you are enjoying The Lotus Eaters, Naida. I hope you have a happy New Year too.

    Alyce - Thanks, Alyce. Same to you!

    Jill - I really wanted to like it but I just couldn't get interested in it enough to finish it.

    Lisa - This year I wasn't so great about keeping records so I had to do a lot of catch up in the end. Usually I'm better organized.

    Darlene - It's definitely going to be a busy year. I'm really excited about what's ahead. Nervous too. LOL I hope you have a wonderful New Year as well.

  24. Fun wrap-up post. You had a great year and I'm impressed with your record keeping.

    Have a great new year.

  25. You had a fantastic reading year. That is awesome that you discovered so many authors that were new to you this past year.

  26. Beth - And I actually fell behind in keeping up my stats. I had to scramble at the end this year. Hopefully I'll stay organized this new year! I hope you have a great New Year as well.

    Kathleen - I love discovering new authors, but it's always at the price of my old favorites. I hope to visit some old favorites this year.

  27. I wish I could keep such a detailed journal of my reading journey. You did very well with yours.

    I am not joining in any reading challenge this year except for those I already committed in 2010 and ending in 2011. I want to focus on my existing books.

    Happy New Year and Happy Reading to you!

  28. You had a fantastic year Wendy! I love your goals for 2011, I've adopted quite a few myself.

    I'm glad I got Steig Larsson's books for Christmas, since you enjoyed The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo so much! I've heard varied opinions so I look forward to finding out what I think for myself. Happy New Year!

  29. You had a terrific year, Wendy! I've read a few of your general Top 10 and they were all either very good or excellent (apparently, you also have good taste, LOL).

    I like your reading goals. I've also decided not to join any challenges, but I'm challenging myself to read from my shelves and I have a cut-off date for ARCs, after which I plan to review no more than one per month. I don't even know if that's possible, because I've found myself weak in the knees at the prospect of "free" books . . . but they're not really "free" at all, are they? There's obligation attached to them. Sometimes you just have to say no. Good for you, sticking to your decision.

  30. Love your Year in Review post! So many wonderful books! You accomplished so much! And such a touching thought about reading at the end!

    I definitely understand about taking a step back from "obligation" reviews. This year I was a bit overwhelmed with them and am still catching up- what I notices though was that I was not reading as many of the books I wanted to read for pleasure because there was no time left! So, I haven't accepted many new review offers either the last few months. And I figure my reading challenges "allow" me to fit in some of the reading I missed this past year- or at least gives me an excuse :-)

    BTW, The Lotus Eaters in on my TBR shelf. It's one of those books I wanted to get to, but didn't. I bought it when it first came out and now it's in paperback! I'm thinking of choosing it for my reading group choice next month.. What do you think? It was your #1 pick!

  31. Alice - Thanks, Alice. It really helps when I keep track as I go, which I didn't do so well with last year. Hopefully this year I'll be more on top of things. Happy New Year to you too!

    Heather (CR) - I figure it was time to just go with the flow. It's been a while since I tried that. :-)

    I hope you will enjoy Larsson's books. I know they've had a mixed reception, but I found the one I read entertaining. Hopefully I'll finish off the trilogy this year.

    Nancy - It sounds like you're finding a good balance for everything. I wish you luck with your goals this year!

    Suzanne - Thanks! Besides playing catch up, I'm also stepping away from the obligations of reviewing and challenging for much more personal reasons. Between work and a baby, I expect it to take a little while before I find a good balance in my time. Once I settle into a routine, I'll reassess.

    The Lotus Eaters is definitely well worth your time to read. I hope you will like it, even if only half as much as I did! It'd make a great reading group choice. It covers a lot of ground that would make for a great discussion, I think.

  32. Wendy--2011 is going to be such a wonderful year, isn't it? :D

    I love your focus on deliberately not reading deliberately and as hard as that is, I love how the focus is reading great books that we really want to read. I also love the quote your give of Wilson--succinctly explains why I love blogging so much and reading other's thoughts. I'm glad to see you'll still be around this year.

    Happy New Year, Wendy!

    (Oh, and about the books...Venetia Kelly's was one of my favorites of 2010 as well. Looks like his new book should be coming out soonish!)

  33. You had a good year, Wendy. I have the Larsson books in my TBR and they look really good.

    I wasn't going to do anymore challenges, but I got suckered right in again. LOL I have cut down on the amount of reviews I accept though.

    Happy New Year!

  34. Trish - Yes, 2011 will be a good year, I think--and many sleepless nights. LOL Is it bad to say I'm looking forward to that?

    I'm looking forward to reading more by Delaney. Hopefully very soon. I wasn't sure I'd like Venetia Kelly when I first came across it, but I fell in love with the author's writing almost instantly.

    I hope you have a wonderful New Year as well, Trish!

    Yvonne - I think those challenge tour hosts have magic powers--they cast a spell on book bloggers to make it impossible to resist. ;-) Good luck with the challenges! And have a great New Year.

  35. I think you did very well, Wendy!

    I've added some of the titles you mentioned onto my wishlist. Let's hope this year will be another great reading year for all of us!

  36. Great year in reading, Wendy! And I love your recap. I may have to rethink how I write mine!

    I've been noticing a trend across many blogs and threads about people scaling back this year, either in challenges or in book acquisitions, and it looks like we're both no exception. I feel like I went a little crazy with buying books last year, and feel like I need to spend this year catching up!

  37. Melody - I'm looking forward to seeing what the year will hold book-wise. :-)

    David (Tapestry) - Thanks! I've noticed that trend too. I did spend some of my gift cards on e-books today. Does it count if it's not my money? And at least they won't be taking up shelf space. I do need to focus on my paper books, however. Like you, I feel like I need to catch up.

  38. I love these lists, thank you! I read several on your favorites for 2010, but there are a few that I want to look for now. Happy New Year!

  39. Wow! You are so organized! 1st and 3rd person even! You did have a good reading year. I have plans to read several of your list including The Lotus Eaters, Starvation Lake, and The Singer's Gun.
    You take care now little mother. It is going to be a great year!

  40. Looks like you had a great year in reading. Believe it or not, I've not read *any* of your favorites for the year. All the more to look forward to, I guess! ;-)

    I definitely want to check out What We Have and will be checking out a bunch of others as well. Here's to another great year of reading! =)

  41. I'm not sure how many books you read for the challenge, but there are 3 giveaways up for participants of the Vietnam War Reading Challenge. I hope you'll enter and spread the word.

  42. Wendy, I think there are many of us who are looking at simplying our approach to reading and blogging in the coming year - myself included. I hope this will make both reading and blogging more enjoyable.

    I see that you did not finish Of Bees and Mist - is that one you are in the middle or did you give up on it entirely? I ask because a friend of mine had recommended it to me and I started to read it last spring but it just didn't grab my interest and I ended up bringing it back to the library as a DNF. I'm wondering if I gave up too early.

  43. I always enjoy these types of wrap-up posts and I really like how you approached yours. You are adventurous in trying new authors, which is great. And I never ever thought about tracking the narrative voice!! How interesting.

    Hope 2011 is another rewarding reading year.

  44. The Things They Carried and The Lotus Eaters both made my "best of" list, too. Happy new year!

  45. Oh, how I loved reading this!! I'm going to add a couple of your ideas to my lists for this year - New-to-me authors read, and total authors read. I'm also going to keep track of the numbers of short stories and essays (if I read any!).

  46. You had a great year in 2010!. I hope you read some great books in 2011, if you find the time. haha

    I can't wait to see what you happen to read in 2011.

  47. Christine - I hope your new year got off to a good start! I'm happy with my reading this past year and looking forward to what's in store for this year.

    Jaimie - I only look like I'm organized on the outside. LOL I think you'd really like all three--I hope so, anyway!

    Megan - Do give What We Have a try! It's a good one.

    Serena - Thanks for the heads up, Serena!

    Lesley - It does seem like quite a few people are taking a step back from reading obligations this year, I agree.

    I gave up on Of Bees and Mist entirely. I really wanted to like it but I just couldn't get into it.

  48. Jenners - Thanks! I think this year I'm going to try and revisit some old favorites. I love trying out new authors but it always comes at the expense of authors I want to read more of.

    Anna - They were both such good books, weren't they? Happy New Year to you as well.

    Nan - I think it's fun to track little stuff like that--even if it means nothing to anyone but me. :-)

    Kris - I'm going to make my best effort, that's for sure!

  49. I loved Speak as well and still think about this book from time to time. I'm thinking a reread will be in my future at some point. Good luck with the new baby in your future and I hope that 2011 is a wonderful year for you.

  50. Samantha - Speak was a powerful book. Thank you for the good wishes! I hope you have a wonderful year as well.

  51. I'm halfway through THE DEVOTION OF SUSPECT X so I'm looking forward to your review!!!

    Life by Candlelight

  52. This was a great way to wrap up the year! I don't even keep track of some of that stuff and yet I find it interesting reading other people's stats. Satisfies my snooping need :)

  53. Amy - And vice versa! I hope you enjoy The Devotion of Suspect X!

    Stacy - Thanks! I can't help myself. I get such a kick out of looking for patterns and stuff. It probably means little to others, but I find it interesting at least.


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