Jan. 2nd, 2011

eleneariel: (reading (keep calm))
1. Fall of Giants, Ken Follett
    I read Pillars of the Earth a few years ago and absolutely devoured it. I didn't remember having any issues with the writing style, so I was really confused when I started this one and it draaaaged the dialog was stilted and the writing generally drove me to distraction. For the first third I kept contemplating giving up on it completely, but 1/3 of a 938 page book is a considerable amount and I hate stopping a book after investing that much time in it.
    Before too long I got wrapped up enough in the characters to keep reading, but the writing never did get better. This makes me wonder if Pillars of the Earth is really as good as I remember. Or perhaps that time period was just better suited to his style somehow. I did learn a lot about WWI reading this book!
 
2. The Marriage Bureau for Rich People, Farahad Zama
   I'm so thankful to mainemilyhoon for mentioning this! It's a bit like a Number 1 Ladies Detective Agency book, only with an Indian marriage bureau. Absolutely delightful. Also, made me hungry for Indian food.

3. Dexter is Delicious, Jeff Linsay
    Speaking of food ... I think this creeped me out more than any of the other Dexter books, which I guess means I find cannibalism worse than serial killers? And yet at the same time it was remarkably tame for a Dexter book. Dexter himself is ... mellowing. But not, we suspect, for long.
 
4. A Secret Gift, Ted Gup
   A disappointment. The story is inspiring, about a man who anonymously gave money to destitute people during the Great Depression, but the execution of the book was extremely poor ... very repetitive and based on a lot of conjecture.

5. The Last Hero, Terry Pratchett
   My Christmas gift to myself was the luxury of rereading an old favorite. I love the Silver Hoard! And Rincewind! And Leonardo of Quirm! And Carrot! And ... okay, everybody.

6. Fool's Errand, Robin Hobb
   ... and then I spent most of the rest of Christmas lost in the world of the Farseers. I think my favorite thing about Hobb's writing is her timing in revealing mysteries - neither too quickly nor too slowly.

7. Golden Fool, Robin Hobb
   Finished this at ten minutes til midnight. :)

Books from the stack: 1

And thus ends 2010's reading, which means it's time for the 2010 BOOK AWARDS!

First, the numbers:

I read 116 books; 40 adult fiction, 60 adult non-fiction, and 16 young adult. Only 5 were rereads. 43 were from the huge stack of books beside the bed, the ones I want to read soon and then sell, loan, swap, or otherwise get rid of. (The stack hasn't gotten noticeably smaller.) Incidentally, it was an off year - usually I average closer to 150-180 books.

I love looking back over my reading list for the year - it seems to capture my year in a special way. And I love picking out the titles I found particularly memorable. In no particular order:

Best Kid's Book: How to Train Your Dragon, Cressida Cowell
Best Young Adult series: Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins
Best Foodie Book: My Life in France, Julia Child
Best Crime Novel:
The Maltese Falcon, Dashiell Hammett
Best Science Fiction Novel: Shades of Grey, Jasper Fforde
Best Audiobook/Most Inventive Use of Food in a Novel: Like Water for Chocolate, Laura Esquieval
Best Non-fiction: Twelve Little Cakes, Dominika Dery

Book I Would Blame My Speeding Tickets On (if I had gotten any): The Driver, Alex Roy
Most Surprising Second Novel: Swan Thieves, Elizabeth Kostova
Author Who Impressed Me Most: Cory Doctorow

Top Three Books I'm Surprised I Loved:
Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand
Odd Thomas, Dean Koontz
The Help, Katheryn Stockett

Top Three Religious Books:
Notes from the Tilt-a-whirl, N.D. Wilson
Blue Like Jazz, Don Miller
At the Corner of East and Now, Frederica Mathews-Green

Worst Book: Brave New World, Aldous Huxley

And finally, The "Why Didn't I Read This Sooner?" award goes to Nine Coaches Waiting, Mary Stewart.

July 2011

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