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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sunday Salon 27 XII 2008 (2008: A Recap and Looking Ahead to 2009)

Good morning, fellow Salon Members! 2008 is coming to a close and I'm taking a moment to take stock of my reading this past year. I think overall, this has been a fine year for reading. I upped my personal reading challenge significantly (I challenged myself to 100 books this year, as opposed to my 52 Book in 2007), and while I didn't quite achieve that goal (96 books total - so close, and yet so far), I feel I made a huge accomplishment this year. I do have a few more days this year to finish the last 4 that I need, and I may yet accomplish that, but if I don't, I won't be disappointed in my reading for the year.

My breakdown for 2008 so far is:
  • Graphic Novels - 25
  • Fiction - 20
  • YA - 13
  • Fantasy - 9
  • Humor - 7
  • Mystery - 5
  • Childrens - 5
  • Non-fiction - 4
  • Memoir - 3
  • Short Fiction - 3
  • Poetry - 1
  • Biography - 1
  • Total Page Count - 21,103
I realize that I was a little heavy on the graphic novels this year, and I didn't have much focus in what I was reading. The only other real challenge that I set for myself that I achieved was reading 12 books from the 1001 List this year. I'd like to continue that again next year. I've set an Agatha Christie challenge, which my aunt started, and that's basically to read every book Agatha Christie wrote. I read 5 of her books this year, so I'd like to up that number next year.

Five of my books came from audiobooks this year, and I'm hoping that I can get more in next year on audiobook. It's a good way to pass the time on my morning commute to and from work.

I was lucky enough to received several ARCs this year, and while I didn't get around to reading them all, the reviews are coming! I'm hoping to get on top of the pile that I have and continue to get some more new ones.

I enjoyed most of the books that I read this year. There were a few duds (I simply was not able to finish Samuel Shem's The Spirit of the Place and Hannah Tinti's The Good Thief just didn't move enough for me, but that one I would like to try again), but mostly I lucked out in my reading choices. My top ten list of books for the year, in no particular order:
  1. Peter H√łeg's Smilla's Sense of Snow
  2. Beth Kephart's Into the Tangle of Friendship
  3. Penelope Przekop's Aberrations
  4. Meg Waite Clayton's The Wednesday Sisters
  5. Agatha Christie's The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
  6. Brunonia Barry's The Lace Reader
  7. Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book
  8. Sara Gruen's Water for Elephants
  9. Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime
  10. Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go
Other honorable mentions include:
  • James Dashner's The Journal of Curious Letters, the 13th Reality Book 1
  • J.F. Englert's A Dog About Town and A Dog Among Diplomats
  • Brian K. Vaughan & Niko Henrichon's Pride of Baghdad

I had the good fortune to get to know several authors this year. I was able to meet in person Meg Waite Clayton (who treated me like an old friend!) and Brunonia Barry (twice over, once at the House of the Seven Gables!), and got to know Penelope Przekop, James Dashner and J.F. Englert online and I have been able to connect, through her blog, with Beth Kephart. I count myself lucky to be able to have met such a fine group of writers, and would like to thank all of them for their kindness and the fantastic books they have all written. I would recommend any of their books to anyone.

Looking back on 2008, I can think of it only as a fulfilling reading year!

Looking forward to 2009, I want to try a different approach to my reading; tackling the TBR books in my library! I have an embarrassing amount of books in my library that I have never read, and I'd like to put a dent in that number this coming year. I'm going to continue on with the 100 book goal, but I'm going to view it more as a suggestion than as a challenge. If I can't reach it again, it's just not meant to be. I'm going to continue with trying to fit one book from the 1001 List into my reading each month. I'm also hoping to add one Agatha Christie book to my reading each month as well.

As for a reading challenge, I've gone through my library and have set myself up a 9-9-9 challenge (9 books in 9 categories in 09). I've chosen all of these books from my own library and haven't read any of them yet:

  1. Garden Spells
  2. The People of the Book
  3. The Book of Lost Things
  4. The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters
  5. The Stolen Child
  6. A Spot of Bother
  7. Evening
  8. What Was She Thinking?
  9. Atonement
Uncle Tom Challenge (these are books that my uncle has sent me over the years that I have never been able to get through)
  1. Giles Goat-Boy
  2. The Horse's Mouth
  3. As I Lay Dying
  4. Catch 22
  5. Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
  6. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
  7. Ulysses
  8. The Eighth Day
  9. Look Homeward, Angel
  1. Aesop's Fables
  2. Beowulf
  3. Peter Pan
  4. Jane Eyre
  5. Great Expectations
  6. A Room with a View
  7. Vanity Fair
  8. Pride & Prejudice
  9. Orlando
  1. Daughter of the Blood
  2. Ender's Game
  3. Kushiel's Dart
  4. Zoe's Tale
  5. Spirit Gate
  6. Redemption of Althalus
  7. The Shadow of His Wings
  8. Baltimore
  9. The Martian Chronicles
  1. One for the Money
  2. Casino Royale
  3. The Dante Club
  4. Disappearing Nightly
  5. The Mercury Visions of Louis Daguerre
  6. The Hound of Death
  7. The Italian Secretery
  8. The Meaning of Night
  9. The Book of Air & Shadows
  1. A Song Flung Up To Heaven
  2. Letters to Jenny
  3. 700 Sundays
  4. Marley & Me
  5. Ghosts in the Garden
  6. Merle's Door
  7. The Devil in the White City
  8. The Coming of the Fairies
  9. Underfoot in Show Business
  1. Peter and the Starcatchers
  2. Peter and the Shadow Thieves
  3. Peter Pan in Scarlet
  4. A Great & Terrible Beauty
  5. The Dark is Rising Sequence
  6. Runemarks
  7. Mary Poppins Books
  8. The Book Thief
  9. Balook
1001 Books (other randoms books I have from the 1001 List **edited to reflect updated 1001 List)
  1. The House of the Spirits
  2. In Cold Blood
  3. The Black Dahlia
  4. The Water-Babies
  5. Perfume
  6. Oliver Twist
  7. Life of Pi
  8. The Great Gatsby
  9. The Reluctant Fundamentalist
...punk (this list grew from my amusement of the various ...punk genres of SciFi - it seems that if you stick ...punk onto the end of any word, you can create a whole new SciFi genre! This is the only selection of 9 that may not happen entirely nor are all of these books from my personal library)
  1. Oryx & Crake (biopunk)
  2. The Difference Engine (steampunk)
  3. Mainspring (clockpunk)
  4. The Secret History of Moscow (mythpunk)
  5. Neuromancer (cyberpunk)
  6. Snow Crash (postcyberpunk)
  7. The Good Fairies of New York (elfpunk)
  8. 1984 (dieselpunk)
  9. Swordspoint (mannerpunk)
The "Just in Case" 9 (these are just a handful of other TBR books that I'll substitute out in case something just isn't working for me)
  1. The Historian
  2. The Haunted Bookshop
  3. Quincunx
  4. Once
  5. The Prestige
  6. Four and Twenty Blackbirds
  7. Faerie Tale
  8. The Ghost Writer
  9. Peony in Love

I'm not anticipating such a whirlwind of crazy in 2009 like I had this year, so I'm hoping that this list is very achievable. I haven't had any desire to buy a new book in so long, simply because I have such a huge number of books to read, that I'm hoping I can scale back my book buying next year as well. (Ignore the post from last night!!) We'll see. I say that every year and it never happens! I'd also like to challenge myself a little more as a reader next year, hence several of the choices above, so I'm focusing more on that than I am a set reading challenge.

So there it is, a great year in review and a hopeful year to come. Happy reading!


Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

Man! Uncle Tom is quite the reader! (Or does he just send you books he couldn't get through himself? :-) )

I'm hoping to read Great Expectations this year, too. I would highly recommend Ender's Game and The Martian Chronicles. I got very bored with People of the Book and gave up on it, but you may have a different reaction.

Good luck with your goals!

tapestry100 said...

Hi debnance,

No, my Uncle Tom is a voracious reader. He sends me a book every year as part of his reading challenge for me - trying to expand my reading horizons with books he feels I should read. He's read every book he sends me, sometimes a couple of times over. I've been able to get through many of them, but the ones on my challenge are the ones that I've had trouble getting through, but I'm determined to read them this year!

Thanks for stopping by.

Literary Feline said...

It sounds like you did very well reading wise! I had hoped to reach 100 this year, but didn't come close at all. Maybe next year?

Good luck with your reading goals for next year!

Kerrie said...

This all looks more like work than work,if you get my meaning.
I'm interested in your Agatha Christie idea.
You might be interested in a "challenge" I have running over on my blog.

You might also like to participate in an activity on my blog: Best Crime Fiction Reads for 2008

All the best for 2009

Beth Kephart said...

What extraordinary company I find myself in.

My goodness.

Thank you.