In with the old and out with the new! But first, a look back at what I read in 2010. Click on any book title to read my original post about the book:
Favorite Novel: Someone Knows My Name by Lawrence Hill. This book took me on a journey through time and across continents and held me spellbound every step of the way.
Favorite YA Novel: The Hunger Games, hands-down. Katniss rocks! And much more palatable as a teenage heroine than Bella could ever be.
Favorite Graphic Novel: Stitches by David Small, the first graphic memoir I read in 2010 and the one I correctly predicted would be a favorite.
Favorite Memoir: Swimming to Antarctica by Lynne Cox. A true testament to what a person can do physically, when they push through any obstacles.
Favorite Fitness Book: A new category for me this year, but since a bulk of my reading falls under it, I feel it’s worth mentioning. My favorite would be Slow, Fat Triathlete by Jayne Williams for both inspiration and invaluable practical info for would-be triathletes.
Most Disappointing Book: Probably a tie between The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley or The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender. Not that these were the worst books I read in 2010, but they were two of the ones I was most looking forward to reading. I know other people loved these books but I wasn’t one of them.
Most Thrilling, Unputdownable Book: Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane. Kept me guessing right to the last page.
Book I Can’t Believe I Waited Until 2010 to Read: The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins. I started it in January and didn’t actually finish it until the fall, but I did and loved it. Plus I no longer have to hang my head in shame that I haven’t read it.
Best Bookish Discovery of 2010: That I don’t really need to buy as many books as I think I do.
Challenges Participated In: 21
Challenges Completed: 15
Favorite Challenge: What’s in a Name Challenge 3 – I’ve done this one every year and always have fun finding books that match up to that year’s categories.
Books Read – 82 (29 more than last year), but still short of my goal of 100 books.
Library Books - 57 (70% of all books read) I’m hoping the ratio will be flipped in 2011.
Books Acquired during 2010 – 6 (thanks to my year-long book-buying ban, these acquisitions were all either gifts or purchased using a 2009 gift card, which followed the rules of my ban)
I’ve learned a few things this past year when it comes to books, reading and my blog that I plan to carry over into 2011:
On a lark, I imposed a book-buying ban on myself for 2010, and while there were some painful moments early on as I adjusted to not being able to purchase every book that caught my eye, it really wasn’t that bad. I had a $50 gift card that my husband gave me for Christmas 2009, so I was able to use that, but the majority of that went to books about triathlon and half marathon training, and I didn’t buy a single novel. Will I never buy books again? Of course not! In fact, I went out New Year’s Day and bought a couple (with coupons and using another gift card), but I don’t think I’ll ever go back to buying as much as I did. Instead of novels that I’ll read once and place on a shelf to gather dust, I plan to look more at purchasing for my specific needs (e.g. racing, fitness) and collections (e.g. Applachian Trail).
One of my goals in placing that ban was to read more books from my existing collection. Instead, what ended up happening was that I borrowed a lot more books from the library. That’s not a bad thing, really, but it defeated one of the purposes of the ban. I still have literally hundreds of books in my home that I have not read. So, my reading resolution for 2011 is that for every library book I read, I have to read at least one book from my own shelves – and books purchased in 2011 don’t count. I also plan to do a book purge as part of my spring cleaning and get rid of those that I don’t plan to ever read.
I really don’t enjoy challenges as much as I think I do. In 2010, I signed up for way more challenges than I had in previous years combined. While I loved the creativity of the challenges and selecting the books I would read, the actual challenge maintenance – keeping track of which books for which challenge, remembering to post links at the challenge site, etc. – I found a chore that I just didn’t need to add to my already limited online time. And although I completed 15 of the 21 challenges I signed up for, I haven’t even bothered to formally finish with wrap-up posts and the like on most of them. And those same things apply to my own challenge, the Bibliophilic Books Challenge. While I think it’s a great idea for a challenge, I am the first to admit I am not a great challenge hoster by any means. There are people out there who put a lot of time and effort into their challenges and I salute them. I just don’t have it in me to be one of them. With the exception of three challenges I have participated in every year since their inception (the What’s in a Name Challenge, the Canadian Book Challenge and the RIP Challenge), I don’t plan on doing any challenges in 2011. And if anyone would like to take the helm and host the Bibliophilic Books Challenge, you have my encouragement and blessing.
My blogging in 2010 was sporadic, with the several summary-style posts after weeks of not posting that I made throughout the year a testament to that. I didn’t spend as much time reading or being online as I have in years past. (You can read a bit more about my story and why that is in this newspaper article that profiled my husband and I back in the fall.) While the reasons behind that were good, particularly getting healthy and finding things to enjoy doing besides reading, my blog suffered as a consequence. There were several times when I thought of just shutting it down. But 2011 marks my sixth year of keeping this blog and I am loathe to give it up. I like keeping track of what I’ve been reading and my thoughts on those books and I like interacting with other readers. But I also want to include more of what my life is about these days, to give myself a context for the books I’m reading and to hopefully make this blog a better experience, both for me as a writer and for others as readers. So you’ll probably start to notice some little differences here and there. For instance, on my sidebar is a widget that details my daily activity as I train for my second half marathon – yes, it’s got absolutely nothing to do with books, but there it is. One of my goals in 2010 was to have more fun with my blog and enjoy it more, and I’m hoping these changes will help me do that.
Here’s to a happy, healthy 2011 – and lots of great reading!