Books Read: 117 (although I have two more I'm almost finished with) This is actually an interesting statistic for me, since I've never read more than 100 books in a year. Honestly, I'm not sure the number of books I read matters though. There were some cases where I felt like I was rushing through my reading (when I could squeeze it in) because I was trying to meet my unsaid goal of reading over 100. Having said this, I vow that for this upcoming year that I don't care how many books I read. Yep, I'm taking the pressure off.
Top Reads of 2010:
Back in January I finished reading Meg Cabot's The Princess Diaries Series. It was such a cute conclusion to the series and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Princess Mia really grew up along the way, and I have to say that it was a nice progression through these books.
February brought Blankets by Craig Thompson. This graphic novel was gritty and real, and the artistic representation of the themes of this novel were perfect for one of my first reading experiences with graphic novels. I have many book bloggers to thank for pointing me towards this great read!
I also finished Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy in February. Honestly, I really love Hardy's themes and tragic plot lines. I know I'm a sucker for tragedies and feel that they are closer to reality than many want to acknowledge (yes, I'm a bit fatalistic that way), but I really enjoyed this novel. (I also recently reviewed the film Jude that was based off the novel.)
In March I found through a network of amazing bloggers the Pink Carnation series by Lauren Willig. I've been listening to these on audio book this year and really have enjoyed the play between the modern historian seeking out these historical spies and the story of these female spies themselves. I'm nearing the end on this series, so I'm off to find another great one to sink my teeth into.
The Last War by Ana Menendez was one of those books that I've since realized is a personal taste factor. My friend Colette (I hope I spelled that right...since we so rarely go by our first names here!) over at A Buckeye Girl Reads really didn't enjoy it after I had raved about it. In fact, it was one of her most disappointing reads of the year. What can I say? I liked it, but she didn't. My bff felt the same about Jude the Obscure. I don't think I'm bad at recommending books, but have to remember that my likes (tragedy and such) are just not everyone's cup of tea!
Things took a lovely, surprising twist in the fun read Rumor Has It by Jill Mansell. I'm ashamed to say that I wasn't expecting much in this review book that I was sent, but ended up really loving Mansell's writing style and story. This was a fun British chick-lit book in all the best ways. Trust me on this one. If you like happy (not vapid) chick lit, then this is a great book to get your hands on. Now I'm eager to try out other books my Mansell and am ashamed I haven't yet grabbed another one yet.
In August, before heading home from Hawaii for the summer, I devoured Frangipani by Celeste Vaite in one sitting. Set in Tahiti, the female characters in this novel really grabbed me and sucked me in. Right now I'm reading Breadfruit (that I had to request my library purchase). Now that I have my hands on book two, I'll be tearing through the last books in this series.
I haven't been shy about my appreciation for Sharon Lathan's Pride and Prejudice follow up novels (which also topped my favorites last year). This December I was happy to read and review A Darcy Christmas, which featured Lathan, along with Amanda Grange and Carolyn Eberhart. I enjoyed all of the stories in this short collection, but have to give newcomer, Carolyn Eberhart, props for her cute retelling of The Christmas Carol. They were all great though, and I highly recommend this little collection in you enjoy all things Austen!
I had several books that I just didn't connect with or didn't like. Listen, I give all authors props for the hard work that they do, but not every book connects with every person. Right? I had two books this last year that really got a reaction out of me:
Jennifer Johnson is Sick of Being Single by Heather McElhatton
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Now it's time for me to think about possible challenges I'll join this next year. Honestly, I'm still pretty undecided. It might be into January before I even decide, so we'll see!