Thursday, December 30, 2010

The W's of Reading: My Year End Wrap Up

Sometimes I'm not sure that looking back at my year is such a good thing.  For one, it flew by and I feel like I accomplished next to nothing other than sheer survival.  Also, I can't say that I read many things this year that really tickled my fancy (so to say).  I did have a few things I liked this year and a couple of real dislikes, so I thought I'd share my stats and favorites, etc.

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!


  1. I really want to read Blankets! It is a fave on everyone's lists.

  2. I know how you feel. I have no idea how to quantify this year right now. Too many changes and things happening.

  3. I loved Rumor Has It as well. It was such a cute book! I'm one of the few people who didn't like the Last War. I really wanted to-just couldn't relate to the main character at all.

  4. Hi Becky, just popping in to wish you and your family a Happy New Year. May 2011 be filled with good books, good friends, good health and much happiness. I'm glad you liked Jill Mansell - her books are one of the few chick lit books I really enjoy. She has such a fantastic sense of humor!

  5. You've had a great reading year, Becky! Blankets has been on my wish list for far too long, and I just wrote another comment saying I wanted to read Hardy next year. Happy 2011!

  6. Rebecca--I really think you'd like Blankets! You should try it.

    Heidenkind--I haven't seen your year end wrap up yet, but I'm sure it's brilliant. You have such unique tastes, with specific loves, that it will fun to see what you liked!

    Buckeye Girl--I know, Mansell is so good. Such a nice surprise. I'm sad you didn't like The Last War, but I understand.

    Kaye--Thanks Kaye, and same to you! I love that we both liked Mansell as well. So good!

    JoAnn--Oh, thanks. Blankets really is good. I loved that it was such a gripping subject, but a graphic novel.

  7. You had a great year in books Becky. Frangipini was a good one. I read #1 and 2, but not #3 in that series.

    Happy New Year

  8. I've spent the past couple days getting caught up on my out of control Google Reader and contemplating what to put on my Kindle that I received for Christmas. I got to this post and when I got to The Secret History of the Pink Carnation it screamed my name. I finished off 2010 by reading the Millennium Trilogy and this sounds like just what I need to start this year off with! Thank YOU!

  9. You did 100 times better than I did. rumor has it looks really cute. I think I'm also interested in Blankets. I'm really hoping to read through The Princess Diaries Series this year. Meg Cabot is my new addiction.

  10. Diane--Oh, thanks. I have Breadfruit, but haven't had a chance yet to start it. I'm excited to read it though!

    Wendi--I know how getting caught up on GR is! Enjoy that Kindle, as it's my favorite gadget. Now I want to get the iPad so I have a second source to read it. :) You're so welcome about The Pink Carnation series. I hope you enjoy it. I've enjoyed them a lot.

    MillyMarie--I love Meg Cabot too. When you want a happy, fun read, she's a good go to! Good luck with your reading, and no worries. I think I'm going to cut back this year...if that's possible!

  11. Blankets would absolutely have been on my list, too, and I don't know how I forgot it. It was such a great read, and perfectly drawn, too.
    I have The Secret History on of the Pink Carnation on my TBR pile, I'm looking forward to reading it.