Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Best of Times, The Worst of Times

Okay, here it is. The mile long End-Of-Year-Survey.  It was only a matter of time. (hm, goofy pun...sorry about that.)  Thanks to The Perpetual Page Turner for supplying the questions!

2011 was a good reading year for me.  Not only in number of books read (117 so far!) but in quality, which I largely credit to getting connected with other book blogs.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (P.S.) [Paperback] 1. Best book of 2010? A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (my pick for Book Club #1, a high school re-read, and one of those books that I'll probably own multiple copies of eventually)
   1b. 5-star books of 2010? 4 books: about 3% of this year's books.
        - A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
        - Star of the Sea
        - Speak
        - 84 Charing Cross Road
   1c. 4.5-star books of 2010? (because I'm stingy with my 5-stars, and the 4.5-stars are pretty close,) an additional 11 books, together equaling 12.5% of this year's books.
        - A Christmas Carol
        - Angela's Ashes
        - Mere Christianity
        - Black Potatoes
        - The Glass Castle
        - Red Sails to Capri
        - The Lacuna
        - The Good Earth
        - Matilda
        - Prayers for Sale
        - Mansfield Park

2. Worst book of 2010? Because I didn’t know what I was getting into, and because both ended up being genres I don’t fancy, it’s a tie between The Alchemist and Gods in Alabama.  That’ll teach me to read a book without looking into it first.
   2b. 1-star & 2-star books of 2010? 5 books: about 4% of this year's books.
        - Gods in Alabama
        - The Alchemist
        - The Five People You Meet in Heaven
        - Thirteen Reasons Why

        - Gentlemen of the Road

3. Most Disappointing Book of 2010? Dubliners, because I really did want to like James Joyce.  I just didn’t connect with him at all.  Oh well.  I’m all over it now. (cue Jamie Cullum)

4. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2010?The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck).  For some reason I expected something dry that I wouldn’t relate to.  Instead, I found a book full of feeling and made connections with a culture and time that I didn’t think I would.

5. Book you recommended to people most in 2010? Either A Tree Grows in Brooklyn or Speak.  Those two should be read by everybody on earth. :)

6. Best series you discovered in 2010? I don’t really like series.  Too much guilt (to keep up with them) and work (to remember everything) without a great payoff (each book just usually isn’t as good as a single non-series book).  But I did read Jessica Day George’s Dragon Slippers series, and thought it was a lot of fun.

7. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2010? Neil Gaiman, Nick Hornby, Helene Hanff, Joseph O’Connor, Margaret Atwood, Paul Harding.  There’s all kinds of great stuff out there, isn’t there?

8. Most hilarious read of 2010?  I don’t know if I read hilarious books.  ??  But The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (Sherman Alexie) did have me smiling and laughing throughout...and what I've read of Slaughterhouse Five so far has definitely had me laughing as well.

9. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2010? Thrilling?  Hm.  Unputdownable? Hm.  I don't know if I read thrilling, unputdownable books either.  ??  The Glass Castle definitely kept me reading, as did the previously mentioned: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian and Slaughterhouse Five.

10. Book you most anticipated in 2010? Mansfield Park (Jane Austen).  It was the last of Austen’s published books I hadn’t read and it felt a little sad to have reached the end of that road.  I like to start my year off with a little Austen…from now on it’ll have to be a re-read, something unpublished, or related to her in some other way.

11. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2010? Star of the Sea, Keeping the House (actually repurchased Star of the Sea for the pretty cover, and bought Keeping the House for the fun art)
Star Of The Sea - Farewell To Old IrelandKeeping the House: A Novel
12. Most memorable character in 2010? Rob from High Fidelity.  Not that I liked the guy, necessarily, but he was a very real person, and therefore very memorable.

13. Most beautifully written book in 2010? Tinkers (Paul Harding) This one was all about the writing.  It didn’t contain my favorite sentence or paragraph of the year, but the whole thing was just gorgeous.

14. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2010? A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.  I don’t know if I’ve ever had such an intense reaction to a book as I did when Francie Nolan’s teacher degraded her so severely about her writing. I was literally shaking with anger and had to put the book down.

15. Book you can't believe you waited UNTIL 2010 to finally read? A Christmas Carol.  Thought I’d read it, but I hadn’t.  Problem rectified thanks to my 10 year-old daughter.

In the next couple of days I'll be posting my full list of 2010 books, along  with a few more stats...these are my lazy days (Vacation!!) so I'm also hoping to get a couple more books read before everything is final.  I'll be finishing Slaughterhouse Five tonight and jumping into ROOM (totally ignoring the fact that I was going to finished Our Mutual Friend this year...ugh...) and maybe even finishing one more read-aloud for my girls.  Wish me luck!


  1. I can't wait to read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. I've heard so many good things about it. Also, I just read A Christmas Carol about two weeks ago. It's funny since practically everyone knows about it, but only a few people have actually read it. :)

  2. I read about half of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn a few years ago and had to put it down. It was so harrowing to read that it was making me depressed. I might try it again this year if I feel I can handle it!

  3. I LOVED a Tree Grows in Brooklyn, and 84 Charing Cross Road and The Good Earth are also favorites. You've had an amazing year!

  4. Darlyn--I think thats why I thought I'd read A Christmas Carol...I grew up knowing the story so naturally I must have read it already, right?

    Anbolyn--it does get rather intense at points, although I don't think it ever got so depressing for me that it felt without hope. It helped me to find a chunk of quiet time to read it (instead of bits and pieces here and there.)

    JoAnn--It really did feel like a great year for books. It's looking like 2011 will be able to live up to it too...keeping my fingers crossed. :)

  5. Wow! 117 books? That's pretty impressive. Looks like you had an AMAZING year. I've been wanting to read Tinkers but my local library doesn't have it in yet.


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