Thursday, December 27, 2007

2007 In Review!

It's that time of the year. The first time for me, time to do the blog wrap up for the year in books! This will most probably be my last post for the year. I'm going to Texas on Saturday to see Megan and I'll be there until January 4th. Though I'll have my laptop with me, so I may squeeze some posts in.

So without further ado lets start with the totals. I'm not quite finished Haruki Murakami's Norwegian Wood, but I only have 60 pages left, so I'm adding it in to the totals. I'll probably finish it tonight and may squeeze a review in, so you may see another post from me yet ;) Then I'll start George R.R. Martin's A Clash of Kings but definitely won't finish that in time for the end of December which means that I won't complete Joy's Second's Challenge :( But I still plan on reading the book!

So, Total books read in 2007: 78
Total pages read in 2007: 22,235
Non-Fiction: 4 books
Short Story Collections: 5 books
Graphic Novels: 2 books
Picture books: 1 book
Novels: All the rest! 66 books

I'd like to try to balance that out a little more next year though that probably won't happen. I'd just rather read novels than anything else. Though I will certainly read more Graphic Novels next year thanks to the Graphic Novel Challenge! You can find a more detailed list of all the books I read over at my other blog, A Pile of Books.

Challenges Completed: 5 (Banned Books Challenge, Once Upon A Time Challenge, RIP II Challenge, Classics Challenge, Newberry Challenge)
Favorite Challenge: Once Upon A Time Challenge!

And now for "the list". I had every intention of making this a Top Ten list but I honestly could not cut this down any smaller! I just couldn't throw out any more books. So it's a Top Twelve list :p It was a top 16 list, lol. Here they are (Click on the book title for my full review):

12. Rises the Night by Colleen Gleason: The second book in the Gardella Vampire Chronicles. Who would've ever thought that I'd be putting a romance series in my top list! I loved Colleen's first book and I was lucky enough to get an ARC of her newest book in the series which is coming out in February. The new book is great too and I'll have a review up closer to the release date, but it's this book that really grabbed me and will keep me reading through the rest of the series. You definitely don't have to be a fan of the romance novel to enjoy her books. My heart was beating a mile a minute during some of the suspenseful moments of this book!

11. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline: I was just captivated by this book. DiCamillo has a true gift when it comes to writing books for children. Her books handle real issues head on, but handle them in a way that is relatable and truly touching. She's undoubtedly offered hope to millions of kids and grown ups around the world. This story of an elegant and prudish doll learning what it means to love and care for another is heartbreaking and heartwarming and is beautifully presented.

10. The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy: I hadn't expected this one to turn up on this list at all! This is a very short novella and my first experience with Tolstoy. I read it for the classics challenge and was blown away by it. It's a remarkable meditation on death and the introduction gave some very interesting insights into Tolstoy's life.

9. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova: Many of you have read this one and I'm sure you understand why this one is on my Top 12 list. More than anything, I loved the landscapes of this book. Kostova painted a wonderful, eerie picture throughout the entire book and I wanted to visit every place that her characters did. It was a fascinating spin on an old tale and I found myself looking out of the corner of my eye for shadows while reading this one.

8. The Kesterwood Trilogy by P.A. Neal: I'm sure that many of you are saying "what the hell is that?" right now. P.A. Neal is an author that many of you may know simply as Deslily :) I thought I had to keep this one under wraps for awhile, but we've been talking openly about it. Deslily asked me if I would read a fantasy trilogy that she wrote and I was honored. What I didn't expect was to fall in love with this epic fantasy adventure as much as I did. I wish it was published so that others could enjoy it like I have. It has the endearing feel of The Hobbit in my opinion and there's dragons and wizards and so much more! Her characters have stuck with me for months now and I find myself thinking of them quite often. One of the best experiences of the year :)

7. Wind Follower by Carole McDonnell: I've just recently reviewed this one and it took me by surprise! I wish Carole all the success in the world because she deserves it. It's rare that you come across a story as well-written and as beautiful as this one. Her characters were so unique and the world and the cultures and tribes that she created were just phenomenal. This book reminded me what I love about high fantasy as I hadn't read a true fantasy novel since George R.R. Martin's A Game of Throne's in May. Carole is another author that I've had the privilege to talk to over email and she has an extremely kind soul. I can't wait to see where her career takes her.

6. The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly: Another one that was much more than what I was expecting. I picked this one up on a whim mostly because I liked the cover. I knew instantly that I would like it when it began "Once upon a time" and then books starting whispering to the main character. By the end of this novel I had experienced every emotion possible and was recommending it to everyone I knew!

5. Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier: I guess this was the year of being surprised. This one took me by surprise too! I got lost in this book and didn't want it to ever end. I was enjoying this one so much and then when the twist came started enjoying it even more which I didn't think was possible. I definitely plan on reading some more Du Maurier in the future. She had a gift for creating vivid images in her readers' minds. At least in my mind, she did. I almost don't want to see a film version of this book because I have my own picture of Manderley and the wall of Rhododendrons.

4. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez: I read this one on a whim and enjoyed it, but didn't realize how much I truly loved it until a few days after I finished it and it had sat on my mind. I started thinking back on the beautiful Columbian landscapes that Marquez had painted in my mind and the scent of Almond trees. It was a beautiful love story set in a perfect setting. This one will stay with me for a long time as well. I love the closing scene of this one.

3. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield: The storytelling aspect of this book won me over from the beginning and it was written just perfectly. Setterfield invented some of the most bizarre yet loveable characters and I just want to revisit this one again and again. I see this book in shades of gray with hints of color if that makes sense...kind of like a Tim Burton film. Definitely one of the best books I read this year and one of the best books I've read of all times. Can't wait to see where her career goes.

2. A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin: I found a new favorite fantasy series with this one. I wasn't sure about it at the beginning. I would get hooked and then I'd be a bit iffy, but eventually I was so immersed in it that I was infatuated with every characters story line. This book is phenomenal and I recommend it to any lover of fantasy, even if you don't think you like "high fantasy" books. I'm getting ready to start A Clash of Kings and I can't tell you how excited I am about that!

1. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger: There are no words to aptly describe how I feel about this book. I wrote a lengthy review to try, but you just have to read it to see how phenomenal of a book it is. Niffenegger achieve what few author's achieve with this book and really captured the essence of her characters' souls in this book. Simply amazing and easily in my top books of all time. I'm so glad I read this one and can't wait to read her next novel. She can take all the time she wants to write it! I'll still be here waiting.

Can't wait to read everyone else's lists. I've had the best time blogging my books with you all this year and it really has been the greatest pleasure in the world to meet everyone. I would've never read half of these books if it wouldn't have been for you guys! Happy reading in 2008!!!


DesLily said...

gosh, where do I begin?.. ok.. first, in a very minor way "i beat ya!!!) all my books were but 2 novels! And I'm reading number 69 right now and th ink I will finish it in time! (I hope)so that's 67 novels! damn! I can't believe it!hahahaha

wow.. I sure never expected Kesterwood to make your top 12 list!! (could be because it's recent though) I am glad to hear that you feel about them dang near as much as I do!! (you made me teary eyed!)

I have to agree with 13th tale! I have Rebecca and the Historian waiting in "that pile" heh. I hope to read them this year...sometime.
The 13th take took me by surprise as its not my normal reading material.. and so did the Laurie R King "Holmes/ Russel" books!

I will have to try to do a favorites list..I dunno if I can keep it short though lol.. i do know Cornelia Funke will be on my list along with King and Setterfield.

You drive careful and get to Texas safe!.. then have yourself one hellava good time! I will miss your posts while you are gone, I just can't see you wasting time in a blog with Megan beside you !! heh..
If we don't talk before.. have a safe and happy New Years Eve!!!

Chris said...

Deslily, You did indeed beat me ;) We'll start the competition again next year, LOL! Kesterwood made it well into the top 12 list! Like I said, those characters have stayed with me more so than most other characters that I have read this year. Wonderful story, as you know. I feel so lucky to have been able to have read those! I just wish I had a nice leatherbound copy of them as I'm sure you do too! Wasn't The Thirteenth Tale just great? You'll love both Rebecca and The Historian if you enjoyed that one. Same creepy feel, though The Thirteenth Tale is really in a league of it's own. I know how you feel about worrying about keeping your list short! I could've made this list 30 books long! There was no way I could cut it down to 10, so I settle for 12 :p I'll be careful going to Texas, I promise! I'll squeeze in some posts while she's at work. If I don't though, you have a wonderful New Years as well :)

DesLily said...

just me again.. I am checking my list and found I read 70 books but 2 are short stories and two are non fiction.. so we are even on fantasy/fiction novels!

ohhh I'd be out in space somewhere if the Kesterwood trilogy of books were simply TBP!! LOL..If I had the money I'd find a way to do that.. maybe could if it was one book, but 3.. I'd have to be way richer than I am to have them made into even TPB's! I can tell you now that I did send "unsolicted" chapters and synopsis to Tor several months ago.. They said 3-6 months for a reply... nada..nothing.. actually I had hoped they would have sent a decline letter just to have it with my story. But I know others who did that (and they do say you can send it in unsolicited) and no one i know ever heard from them with a decline letter. But I tried just this once..because of you! I'll certainly never regret having you read them, and the help you gave me with proofing!

Chris said...

Deslily, That would be so cool if you heard something back from TOR :) I know how you would indeed be wonderful to see something you wrote in print form. If you don't hear anything back you should try smaller publishers...independent publishers. I know that's more work than it's worth though sometimes. It's so good though!

Stephanie said...

I didn't finish nearly as many books as I had hoped this year. Will get through around 52 by the time the clock strikes Midnight on the 1st! But I did read some good ones.

Love your list!! I haven't read all that many of them, but those I haven't are on the TBR pile!!

Kailana said...

Awesome list! Some of those are my favourites, too. Others I plan to read in 2008. I need more hours in the day! I am just under 200 books for the year, but I haven't broke it down yet. With me so close I REALLY want to make 200! I am staying hopeful.

And, the top twelve, I want to read your book Deslily! What a compliment, sounds like you should be published. :)

Chris said...

Stephanie, 52 is a great number! Works out to 1 a week, how cool is that :) Hope you enjoy the ones that are on your TBR list. They're all great ;)

Kailana, Damn! DAMN! 200? LOL...You're a reading machine! I know exactly what you mean about needing more hours in the day. Especially lately. I've been so busy that I cherish the few minutes a day that I can spend with a book! Deslily really should be published. Her trilogy literally brought tears to my eyes in certain parts. She wrote some of the most amazing characters. I wish I were a publisher...I'd put them in print in a heartbeat!

CdnReader said...

Congrats on some great reads, Chris! You beat me too. Looks like I'll end the year at 72. :) My Yahoo group called book-a-week is opening up for membership on January 1st. We only take new members for a short period of time at the beginning of the year. If you're interested, pop by after the 1st and join up. We'd be delighted to have you ....

Dark Orpheus said...

That's a lot of reading challenges completed!

I look forward to you finishing "A Song of Fire and Ice" series - then we'll discuss the ending for "A Feast for Crows"! It was "Wow!"

Carl V. said...

Very fun list!!! This is really my absolute favorite time of the blogger year, reading everyone's best of lists and new years resolutions type posts. I'm going to do my year in review on the 31st and plan on linking to everyone elses so I'll include yours. This is great. I really enjoy your top ten that isn't ten!

Have a great trip and tell Megan 'hello' from Kansas City.

Nymeth said...

You know, you should have had us guess what your favourites would be like Literary Feline is doing... I think I'd have guessed the top 3 :P That's a great list, and I really hope I get to read The Historian, The Thirteenth Tale and The Time Traveler0s Wife next year.

I had seen you and Deslily talk about her story before, but for some reason I had assumed it was a short story. It's so amazing that she wrote a whole fantasy trilogy! Maybe one day it'll be published and the rest of the world will be able to read it as well. It sure sounds like a great story.

Have a wonderful time with Megan!

cj said...

Great list, Chris.

Enjoy your time with Megan and have a Happy New Year!


Rhinoa said...

Have a great time in Texas! I have a few on your list to read which I am looking forward to (Rises the Night, The Death of Ivan Ilyich, The Historian, The Book of Lost Things, Love in the Time of Cholera and The Thirteenth Tale). It's good to see they made your favourites, even more of an excuse to get to them quicker.

Chris said...

CDN, Thank you so much for the invitation :) Count me in! Can't promise that I'll be the most reliable poster in the world, but I love book communities and I'll certainly put forth the effort! Congrats on your books read this year. It's been a pleasure reading with you :D

Dark Orpheus, I can't wait to finish that one either! I just started A Clash of Kings last night and needless to say it feels like I will never finish this series! It took me 30 minutes to read 20 pages!

Carl, Glad you enjoyed it :) I love reading everyone's lists too! Unfortunately, my Amazon wishlist tends to grow tremendously around this time of year as well :p Can't wait to read yours! I think that I can guess a few that will be on your list and I'll see if I'm right. And I'll definitely tell Megan hello for you :)

Nymeth, Ooh...that guessing game is fun! You're right, I think anyone who has read my blog for any time could have guessed my top 3 for the year :p I hadn't realized that you hadn't read those 3!! You're in for a real treat when you do! I know you'll love them all. Deslily's story is great! It's a whole epic fantasy...the whole think clocked in somewhere around 650 pages. She created this whole fantasy world with creatures I hadn't seen before in other fantasy novels...just wonderful :) I really hope it gets out there one day! Have a great New Years, Nymeth!

CJ, I hope that you have a Happy New Years too! Keep safe!!

Rhinoa, Oh, you have PLENTY of good reading ahead of you :) Hope you enjoy them all...they're obviously some of my favorites :p

Debi said...

Great post, Chris! Can you believe I haven't read a single book on your top 12?!! Am I pathetic or what! But hey, that just means I have a lot of fabulous books yet to read, right?

And I must say that I, for one, agree with you in hoping Deslily gets her book published so we all can enjoy it too!

Will certainly miss you while you're gone, but couldn't be happier that you're getting to go spend a while with Megan! Have a wonderful time!

Chris said...

Debi, You're not pathetic at all! It just means that I was just a horrible friend and added to your TBR pile which probably didn't need to happen :p I've read quite a few Best of lists already that I haven't read any of yet. I can just see my wishlist growing already...sigh...I certainly will have a good time and I'll miss y'all too! Have lots of posts ready for me to read when I come back ;)

Bellezza said...

Okay, so you even recorded the number of PAGES you've read? I'd be lucky to come up with a list of every book I've read in 07, but never fear. In 08, I'll have as complete a list as everyone else. It seems you're getting the Japanese Literature Challenge reads completed very quickly! Have a great time with Megan, and blessings on your New Year.

Chris said...

Bellezza, I'm a very detailed record keeper, lol! On my other blog I keep track of the publisher, if it was hardback, trade paperback, etc...yeah, it's ridiculous. For the Japanese challenge I have 2 down, 2 to go! I LOVED Norwegian Wood. Very depressing, but a beautiful book. I owe a review for it still. From the translator's note in the back, I gathered that it's the most accessible Murakami book, so I'm glad I picked that one!

CaroleMcDonnell said...

Hi Chris.

Wow! 78 books. I feel so behind. I won't tell you the books I didn't read this year. Not to say I didn't read anything but it seems I was in a re-reading mode and re-reading nonfiction I have in my shelves.

Thanks for liking Wind Follower. Will see if my new WIP, Inheritance (totally different from WF) will make one of your future year end lists.

Yes, the Death of Ivan Ilych is so good. What I'll always remember is that inability to tell that the little pain in one's side is going to bring about one's death. Such an imperceptible movement from life to death.

Haven't read Love in the Time of Cholera but I did read One hundred years of solitude which I really loved.

I really have to read George R R Martin one of these days.

Deslily, start submitting that novel. If Chris loves it, it must be good. Submit everywhere. Tor takes forever. About a year. So don't believe that 3-6 month thing. They're pretty human, too. Happy new year, all! -C

Chris said...

Carole, You know, honestly I don't know if I did any re-reading at all this year! I think they were all new books! I'm really looking forward to Inheritance! It's always fun to follow an author when they go into completely different territory. Death of Ivan Ilyich really was terrifying in the way that you mentioned. Right around the time I read it, one of my lymphnodes swole up and I was terrified! Needless to say I made an emergency appointment with my doctor and all was ok! I plan on reading One Hundred Years of Solitude this year. I went out and bought that one right after Love in the Time of Cholera and didn't get to read it, but I'm really looking forward to it. Sounds wonderful. I think you'd love Martin! You really would...quite an epic work there, but well worth the read. And I agree, Deslily should certainly submit away!!!

DesLily said...

goodness! Thank you Kailana, nymeth, debi and Carole McDonnell!

I'm afraid I really am not a writer. As they say everyone has at least one story in them and I did write mine.. but it's far from publish worthy, I just had a soft moment and let Chris get to me because he was enjoying it so much lol and sent it to Tor. Mostly I sent it to them because it could be sent without an agent.

At my age with a huge lack of confidence and finances, I'm just happy I wrote what I did . And thrilled that Chris enjoyed it!! (pushover that he is, that isn't exactly hard hahaha) I'm sure it needs more fixing than I know how to do, but still I'm ok with that.

But thank you all for taking an interest!!!
Oh! I did try some drawings of some of my characters here:
just click on the thumnail for larger version if you are interested.

Stephanie said...

Numbers 9, 3 & 1 were some of my favorite reads! I just purchased The Book of Lost Things having read about it on various blogs (plus the cover is pretty cool)! Thanks for sharing your list.

Chris said...

Stephanie, Excellent choices ;) I hope you enjoy The Book of Lost Things as much as I did! It really is an excellent book and took me by surprise. Isn't that cover great? Did you get the new softcover version with all the extra stuff?

Darla D said...

I enjoyed reading your recap of the year - you mention several books on my tbr list, and I intend to get to them in 2008. Happy New Year, and have a wonderful time in Texas!

Chris said...

Thanks Darla! I hope you have a great New Year too :) Can't wait to hear your thoughts on some of these in '08. I always enjoy reading your reviews :)

Carl V. said...

Chris and Deslily, since you both like books like Thirteenth Tale and Rebecca and Time Traveler's Wife, I highly recommend (just in time for the sci fi challenge, *wink*), the book Time and Again by Jack Finney. It is a book similar to Richard Matheson's short story Somewhere in Time that was made into the movie starring Christopher Reeves and Jane Seymour. There is a time travel element at the beginning of the book, after that is is a beautiful romantic adventure in 1882 New York city. The book is replete with real pictures from around that time period. It is a great book that I think you would both love as much as I did the first time you read it.

Melanie said...

I am jealous! You've got 3 "fire and ice" books that are new to you still. I also put Rebecca on my best of this year. I've got The Historian on deck for the TBR challenge mainly based on all the great reviews i read during RIP.

And just to add my count to the list, i read 67 books not counting january as i wasn't blogging them then. yay!

Colleen Gleason said...

Wow, Chris! Thank you so much for putting my book on your list! I'm totally flattered and thrilled to be there.

Thank you so much. You've made my day.

reader kay said...

The Book of Lost Things was really a great book. It was one of my favorite 2007 reads as well.

DesLily said...


Carrie K said...

I love reading these end of the year wrap ups! You've got quite a diverse list of books there, Chris. Nicely eclectric tastes.

Happy New Year!

Bookfool said...

You guys are so cute!