Friday, December 31, 2010

Reading Roundup 2010

Another year, another batch of notches on my reading bed post. I have got to say that it wasn't my most prolific fiction reading year ever, mostly because this was the year that I discovered the joy of a little melatonin at bedtime, curtailing the frequent insomnia that has historically propelled me through page after weary, manic page in record time. I am now getting sleep (yay!) which means maybe a chapter and I am out. This was however also the year in which I rediscovered audio books, so if those count (and after a short internal debate I decided they do) my overall count is still fairly respectable. I also did quite a bit of non-fiction reading of various lengths and flavours, some of which I counted here and some I didn't (do two novella sized Starcraft game guides count as "real" reading??? I'm just not sure).

Steinbeck by Scott Morse
Books read:
45-ish (10 of which were audio books, 28 fiction books that I sat down to read the old fashioned way and the rest full length non-fiction, mostly parenting/autism related)

Favourite books of 2009:
East of Eden by John Steinbeck (this was #1 by far for me)
Dune by Frank Herbert (as a distant 2nd)

Least favourite:
Without a doubt it was the latest installment in the Sookie Stackhouse series, Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris. While I had justified the previous books in the series because they were delightfully funny, unselfconscious and indulgently trashy, this last one was just plain trashy and I ended up wondering why the heck I'd wasted my time.

Most useful non fiction:
Freeing Your Child From Anxiety by Tamar Chansky

I highly recommend to any parent helping their child learn to cope with anxiety. Highly.

Longest and shortest books:
I'd say maybe East of Eden by Steinbeck  and Holes by Louis Sachar respectively.

I mostly used the audio book format for rereads this year. I listened to Harry Potter and LotR as I worked and made art, and it was remarkably comforting and pleasurable.

Favourite character of the year:
Cal Trask from East of Eden won my heart completely.

Favourite quote:
"There's more beauty in the truth even if it is dreadful beauty. The storytellers at the gate twist life so that it looks sweet to the lazy and the stupid and the weak, and this only strengthens their infirmities and teaches nothing, cures nothing, nor does it let the heart soar."
Said by Lee in EofE, after what was for me, one of the most gut wrenching scenes I have ever read. It was deeply impactful. Stopped me short. Had me thinking long and hard about the way I view suffering, and what we lose when we shrink away from the "dreadful beauty" of truth.

Books read aloud:
This year marked a change for us, while I did read aloud to the boys some (for example Percy Jackson & the Olympians by Rick Riordan and The Dread Crew by Canada and blogland's own Kate Inglis) and we listened to many hours of stories as read by the likes of Stephen Fry together, for the first time they are beginning to prefer reading independently. This is super cool and wonderful and perfectly normal, although I admit there was a pang or two when I got my first "no thanks" in response to an offer of reading to them. *sniff*
However we did for the first time share books by reading them in tandem like proper little grown up book buddies, and this was also exciting.

Most fun reading moments:
-E and I trying to keep the plot of Holes top secret while so eager to discuss it while we wait for L to finish the book
-breathlessly racing through the Hunger Games trilogy
-sharing books with my sisters (we choose 6 books to share together last year)
-relishing the hilarious, impossibly clever wordsmithery of Psmith, Journalist by PG Wodehouse

Most touching:
"Timshel" -a central theme and the final word from EofE. I won't put any spoilers here, but this book and idea has taken root into my emotional landscape and will stay.

What made you cry:
Last year, I answered "all the beautiful parts of hope and struggle that choke me up every single time I read LotR". The same. As I listened to the audio version I would often find myself welling with tears, having to put down my broom or my paintbrush, wipe my eyes, take a moment to let myself thrill to Sam's loyalty or Frodo's bravery or Faramir's honour.

Favourite books. What could be better? They are like home.

First book you will read in 2011:
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson is currently on the bedside table, and several books are on order at the library. I am at that kid in a candy store reading stage with so many interesting books that have recently been recommended to me! And this will be the year that I finally read some Terry Pratchett books (they just really sound like my sort of thing, don't they?), and perhaps a Dickens reread or two? We shall see.
So a toast to a new year of reading and off we go!

(artwork courtesy of  Hey Oscar Wilde It's Clobberin' Time)


  1. Should we delay our own book club a little? I am impatiently waiting for Victoria to read the Hunger Games and I know she has just as many as you to read through. Though we could chose 6 again to wait and read together?

  2. Hi Evangeline- just stopping in to say Happy New Year!! Good health and good times in 2011!

  3. i am gonna watch the girl with the dragon tattoo movie, but i wonder if the book will be better...

    happy new year readings =)

  4. DUNE! I loved Dune, but I think it had a lot to do with the time in my life and the place where I read it.

    Have you read any William Gibson?

  5. I love your reading roundup. It has soul. It's interesting. I bored myself writing mine, I seem to be struggling with words lately. Better learn to paint or otherwise express!! Anyway...
    Happy reading.
    And I was so obsessed with Dune and all the books in the series (before kids) I read EVERY Herbert book in the library, one after the other after the other. Maybe time for a redo.
    And East of Eden. Best gift I've ever given myself. So glad you embraced it too. We're very like minded about our books!

  6. What- what a super summary of books. Will save your post so I can refer to it!! Lots of reading is such an enjoyable escape into another world! Best wishes for a wonderful 2011- bright, creative and healthy!

  7. Melatonin is my favorite nighttime helper for insomnia (a mix between the aches of FMS and an all too busy mind!) It's quite easy-peasy. East of Eden is just one of those fantastic books so chock full of awesome quotable quotes, I have favorite pages it!

    Happy New Year!!!

  8. @Elizabeth I am in for 6 books if you and Vic are!

    @FoM The Neuromancer is on my reading list this year! Do you recommend?


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