Thursday, December 31, 2009

Wrapping up 2009

Warning, Warning! Long post ahead...I'm not breaking this down into 2 or more posts, I'm just combining stats, favorite reads, and goals all into one post :p So feel free to skim or just skip this all together if you so desire!! 2009 has been an odd year for me. I actually read more than I ever have this year, but I was disappointed in the amount I read. I think it's because of the level of stress this year threw on me. I'll talk about that toward the end of the post though...right now let's start with favorite reads of the year! As usual, I can't limit it down to 10 :/ And so I give you, my favorite 18 reads of the year, in no particular order: 1. A Fine and Private Place by Peter Beagle - This book was absolutely beautiful and easily became my favorite Peter Beagle book. It's quiet in it's tone but filled with beauty and the essence of what it is to be alive despite taking place in a graveyard and dealing with the dead. 2. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro - I can't really talk about this book much, but it's a dystopian novel that continues to haunt me to this day. I love it more and more as each day passes. I cried when I read this one and I just want to embrace the characters. 3. The Red Tree by Shaun Tan - This book has really become my saving grace on a bad day. The art is beautiful and the message of the book is incredible. I think everyone should have a copy of this one to read on a blue day. 4. Sorrow by John Lawson - I absolutely love the worlds that John creates. They're simply amazing. This rivals Witch Ember which, to date, is my favorite of his books. This one is shorter and available as an ebook at a great price and it's one of the most original mysteries I've read in a long time set in a unique fantasy world. 5. The Horse Boy by Rupert Isaacson - I become obsessed with this book when I read it and had the pleasure of talking with Rupert Isaacson a few times over twitter. He's a great guy. This is such an incredibly moving story about a young boy with autism and the healing power of animals and shamanism. 6. Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork - I'm a little surprised this one is making the list actually! But it seems to have grown on me over the year. This one is about a boy with Asperger's learning to work in "the real world" while still holding on to what makes him, him. Loved this one! 7. Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist - The best vampire fiction I've read since Anne Rice. I've grown sick of all of these angsty teen vampires that are out these days. This is real horror with depth and meaning to it and what an amazing story this was. 8. The Screwed Up Life of Charlie the Second by Drew Ferguson - The runner up in the Nerds Heart YA competition! I loved everything about this book. It was a brutally honest portrayal of teen life and kudos to Mr. Ferguson for going there. Possibly my favorite YA read of the year. 9. The Scott Pilgrim Series by Bryan Lee O'Malley - I haven't had this much fun reading a graphic novel series in I don't know how long. I just want more and more volumes and I hope the series never ends...though I know it does have a planned end :( This is the graphic novel series that I want to put in everyone's hands and say "read this please, ok bai." 10. Fingersmith by Sarah Waters - I'm not kidding, don't even click on my review if you haven't read this one...don't even read the back cover. Just go into this one knowing nothing except that it's made of AWESOME and it's victorian and you can go ahead and know that it's a mystery but so much more than just that. 11. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness - I know I said that these are in no particular order, but this my friends is my favorite book of the year, hands down. Such an incredible book that took me on an emotional roller coaster. Ness has so many other writers beat by a landslide. He has power in his writing and he writes with depth. Oh, and I'm totally naming my next dog Manchee...that's not even a joke. 12. Breathers by S.G. Browne - This is the fiction book that I want to put into everyone's hands and say "read this now. ok bai". Seriously, it's such an incredible book. I thought this was going to be just a funny spoof on zombies, but it's not. There's a lot of really great social commentary here. 13. Between Mom and Jo by Julie Anne Peters - Amanda told me about this one and I just fell in love with it after I read it!! It's so good. About a lesbian couple raising a young boy and the problems that the family faces. Really a beautiful book! 14. The Magician's Elephant by Kate DiCamillo - I love everything this woman does...she really can't do any wrong with me. This book may be my new favorite of hers. It was melancholy and sweet and sad and very hmmm...wintery. I loved it. 15. The Wild Things by Dave Eggers - I want to read everything Eggers after reading this book. Such a wonderful take on Sendak's classic tale. I loved his elaboration on the story. I just wanted to hug it and jump into his world. 16. Atlas by Katrina Vandenberg - As I said in my review, I don't know if I've ever been so affected by a book as I have with this collection of poetry. Simply put, it's the most beautiful collection of words I've read. This is another one that I want to put into everyone's hands and say "read this" and I actually did do that with quite a few people for Christmas :p 17. Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger - So there have been mixed thoughts galore all over the blogging world about this one, but personally, I fell in love with this one. And the more I think on it I actually think I enjoyed this one even more than The Time Traveler's Wife. I just can't get it out of my head. The characters were incredible though unlikeable at times and the setting of Highgate Cemetery was just perfectly done. The best ghost story I've read in years. 18. A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote - What a wonderful collection this was. The title story itself is my new favorite Christmas story and I know I'll be rereading it each year. Capote's writing is truly captivating and I fell in love with it. It's like sitting by a warm fire and having a story read aloud to you. So there's that! Any surprises? Anything that you thought would make the list and didn't? I wanted to add many more, but these were the books that stuck out like a sore thumb as books that absolutely blew me away. Now lets look at some stats from this year. I'm just going to use my same format as last year....many of the stats taken from Nymeth's format :p Total Books Read: 96 Total Pages Read: 22,078 Comics/Graphic Novels Read: 23 Non-Fiction: 6 (sad :() Novels: 49 Short Story Collections/Anthologies: 8 Poetry: 3 Children’s & Young Adult: 30 In Translation (that I know of): 4 (another sad stat :() By Women: 34 By Men: 58 (These stats are embarrassing…I really need to read more books by women next year!) Featuring both Men and Women authors: 5 New to me authors: 54 (Good Lord!) Chunksters (450+ pages): 7 Favorite New Authors Discovered: Kazuo Ishiguro, Douglas Coupland, Marjane Satrapi, Drew Ferguson, Bryan Lee O'Malley, Sarah Waters, Patrick Ness, Katrina Vandenberg, S.G. Browne, Dave Eggers, Truman Capote) Best Reading Month: April - 18 Books, 3,885 Pages Worst Reading Month: July - 3 Books, 462 Pages Fun stats as always :) Now onto the goals for next year and I PROMISE this post will finally be done. This year saw me going through many funks and I'm sure that all of you noticed that. I disappeared a lot. I still disappear a lot and I haven't been around the blogosphere as much as usual. So one of my goals for this year is to blog more often and to get back to responding to my comments. Because, dammit! That's one of the things that makes me happy. And I need to make time for myself. One other thing that I've decided to do to keep me out of funks this year is an idea that I stole directly from Debi. She's keeping track of all of the little good things in life and I'm doing that myself in a handwritten journal. With work and deadlines and the mundane parts of life, it's easy to forget all the tiny good things that happen in a day, so I'm not going to let those things pass by. I'm going to be more cognizant of all of the happy things that happen during each day this year and keep a journal detailing them. I really think that will stop me from going into those funks where I just disappear. I want to thank all of you for continuing to come around here. 2009 has been a great year. I've made yet more wonderful online friends, I've actually met some of my online friends!!!! And I've continued to build on my already existing friendships. You guys all mean the world to me and I mean that from the bottom of my heart! Happy 2010 to you all and may it bring you all peace and prosperity and whatever your heart wishes for the most.

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