Reading Plan for 2010

If the decrease in reading over the last few months has told me anything, it’s that I had better have realistic expectations for the time I can devote to reading in the coming year. I probably won’t be doing any challenges, at least officially, and the numbers will be more in keeping with the first half of 2009 (aka about three books a month). There are some books, however, that I definitely want to make time for in 2010:

TBR From My Shelves

  • Inkspell, by Cornelia Funke, to continue the story from Inkheart
  • the Harry Potter series, since I never read 6 and 7 but want to see the movies
  • Possession : A Romance, by A.S. Byatt
  • The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold
  • Georgette Heyer, who represents the majority of my Christmas books

TBR from the Library

Mysteries

Classics

  • The Watsons, one of my few unread Jane Austens
  • The Princess of Cleves, for the Guardian Challenge
  • House of Mirth, by Edith Wharton
  • The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells
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Published in: on January 5, 2010 at 10:09 pm  Comments (2)  

2009 in Review: By the Books

I tried to branch out a bit more in my reading this past year, to balance a diet of mysteries and gothics. While I’ll never give up my old favorites or comfort reads, I’ve realized that investing myself in good, literary fiction fills the void I’ve missed since English classes ended. In addition, I’m more likely to remember the novel long after the pages have been shut. Here are a few favorites for the year, though most likely not new to most readers:

High Rising, by Angela Thirkell: technically a 2008 read, but at the tail end of December and leading into my other Barsetshire visits. I think I smiled the entire time.

Joy in the Morning, by Betty Smith: An honest, exquisite look at poor newlyweds.

Atonement, by Ian McEwan: I know he’s gotten some mixed reviews, but months later I still feel emotionally involved with the characters.

Emma, by Kaoru Mori: wonderful manga series about a Victorian maid.

The Secret Adversary, by Agatha Christie: Hard to pick just one, but I’ll always have a soft spot for Tommy and Tuppence.

1984, by George Orwell: I’m not big on distopian literature but Orwell is a master at spinning both this world and tale.

The Mislaid Magician, by Caroline Stratover and Patricia Wrede: This epistolary adventure from magical Regency England is not as good as the first two, and still made my list.

I Capture the Castle, by Dodie Smith: Utterly enchanting.

The Talisman Ring, by Georgette Heyer: Smugglers, murder, and an endless supply of banter. Fun all around.

Fair Tomorrow, by Emilie Loring, (because it lasted for so much of the year): 1930s campy romance. They just don’t write ’em like that anymore, which could be a good or a bad thing…

My most-read authors were Agatha Christie with six, then John Bellairs, Georgette Heyer, Angela Thirkell, and E.F Benson with three apiece.

And to make it fair, a few disappointments as well. These are not bad books, just not what I was expecting:
Chocolat, by Joanne Harris
Murder on the Eiffel Tower, by Claude Izner (I was actually given a copy of this for Christmas as well, and returned it. I had wanted so much to like it…)
The Case of the Missing Books, by Ian Sansom

Published in: on January 2, 2010 at 3:43 pm  Leave a Comment  

2009 in Review: By the Numbers

This year has been a bit of an anomaly for me. For the past few years I was completely occupied with schoolwork and other things, finding it hard to squeeze in non-academic reading other than during summer and holidays. After graduation, however, I allowed myself to devote the summer to catching up, and the delay in finding a full-time job added to my reading splurge. It makes cutting back now seem even more obvious, though I am extremely grateful to be employed!

I managed a whopping 101 books this year, a number I haven’t seen the likes of since high school (though many were shorter books). As a comparison, last year’s total was only 40. Here is the breakdown:

Female authors: 56
Male authors: 41
Compilations/coauthors: 4

Mysteries: 26
Young adult/children’s books: 20
Graphic novels: 6
Online novels: 1
Nonfiction: 4
Books in translation: 8 (not including manga)
Short story collections: 4

Books on the Guardian list: 18
Books on the 1001 Books list: 6 (I’m always surprised by this disparity)

My goal for next year is to work in more short stories and nonfiction. Also, reading Alexander McCall Smith’s online novel has reconciled me a bit to the idea of a screen instead of paper pages. While I doubt I’ll be buying a Kindle or Nook any time soon, perhaps I should think more seriously about taking advantage of Project Gutenberg for older hard-to-find books.

Also, ironically, I hope to take less advantage of my local library. As much as I love browsing the shelves for random reads, there are so many books waiting at home that I feel I’ll never catch up. Especially with my gluttony at the book sales earlier…

Published in: on January 1, 2010 at 3:23 pm  Leave a Comment  

Everything Austen Challenge Summary

The Everything Austen Challenge

July 1, 2009 to January 1, 2010

Completed

everythingausten1

  1. The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen, by Syrie James
  2. Bridget Jones’s Diary, by Helen Fielding
  3. Lady Susan, by Jane Austen (group read)
  4. Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, by Laurie Viera Rigler
  5. Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict, by Laurie Viera Rigler
  6. Listening to the exquisite 2005 P&P soundtrack

There are so many more Austen-related books I’d love to read that I’ll have to try this again. Thanks again to Stephanie for hosting the challenge and inspiring me to pick these up!

Contrary to my original intentions,  I didn’t watch any Austen movies. That will change when Masterpiece Classics airs the new Emma!

Published in: on January 1, 2010 at 1:25 am  Comments (1)  
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