Welcome friends! I have started this entry in the global technosphere because I have been in love with books since the age of 2. Among the busy business of being a new teacher, this is my outlet for sharing thoughts on a love of reading a wide variety of books. My inspiration can be summed up with a yearbook quote from a teacher written when I was 8: "To the only girl at recess I see reading a book. Good for you!"
My blog title is quoted from a classmate who asked me this once. Believe it or not, I've also heard it as a teacher :D

Monday, January 3, 2011

2010 Wrap-Up Post

Ugh, sorry this is a touch late. I had a fun New Year's Day with my family & enjoying some awesome new reading material I got for Xmas, to be discussed on the Monday meme post.

This may be a bit repetitive if you read my Best of 2010 Choices & Survey post, but I couldn't resist adding to it. I found a neat end of year summary by Caroline Bookbinder that I liked.  Here's what I have to add:

Books Read in 2010: 18 (17 new, 1 reread)
*Note that this blog started in August & I could only remember some titles between January & the blog's debut :/  This includes 3 titles I unexpectedly finished in December during the holiday break!

Here they are in alphabetical order (click titles for reviews; 4 reviews are still pending):

84 Charing Cross Road- Helene Hanff (A+)
Bear Came Over the Mountain, The- Alice Munro (B)
Book of Ruth, The- Jane Hamilton (A)
Freedom- Jonathan Franzen (D, did not finish)
Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The- Steig Larsson (A)
Handmaid's Tale, The- Margaret Atwood (A+)
Her Fearful Symmetry- Audrey Niffenegger (B)
Last Words- George Carlin (A)
Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat, The- Oliver Sacks (A)
Never Have Your Dog Stuffed & Other Things I've Learned- Alan Alda (A)
On Writing- Stephen King (A+)
One True Thing- Anna Quindlen (A+)
Poisonwood Bible, The- Barbara Kingsolver (A+)
Pride & Prejudice- Jane Austen (A)
Time Traveler's Wife, The- Audrey Niffenegger (A+)
Under the Dome- Stephen King (A)
Wishful Drinking- Carrie Fisher (A)
World According to Garp, The- John Irving (A+)

How many fiction/nonfiction?
I read 12 fiction, 6 nonfiction.

Male/Female Author Ratio
*Note: I read some multiple titles by authors, so I only count each author once
6 male, 9 female

Favourite Book of 2010?
*From what I read, not when it was published
Very difficult question! If I have to choose, I'd say The World According to Garp by John Irving.

Least Favourite?
I would say Freedom by Jonathan Franzen, but since I didn't finish it, I guess that shouldn't count. Judging by the rankings for the above list, I would say The Bear Came Over the Mountain by Alice Munro, but it is still very much worth a read with a B grade.  I happened to read a lot of A & A+ material :D

Any that you simply couldn't finish & why?
Freedom by Jonathan Franzen. I gave up after 200 pages with not having a smidge of sympathy or feeling of worthiness for even one character.  Sorry to say that I appear to have missed out on a great ending but the journey to get there petered out for me.  I think I've said enough about this book that I won't mention it again for fear of stomping on it too much :D

Oldest book read?
Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen (1813).  Next oldest is 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff (1970)!

Under the Dome by Stephen King (2009).

Longest/shortest book titles?
Never Have Your Dog Stuffed & Other Things I've Learned- Alan Alda
Freedom- Jonathan Franzen

Longest/shortest books (by # of pages)?
*Not including short stories (The Bear Came Over the Mountain by Alice Munro was 14 pages)

Under the Dome- Stephen King (1072 pages)
84 Charing Cross Road- Helene Hanff (97 pages)

How many books from the library?
None.  It's too bad, really, but my local library is severely undernourished.

Any translated books?
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson (translated from the Swedish)

Most read author of the year & how many read by him/her?
It's a tie--2 each by:
Stephen King (On Writing & Under the Dome) and Audrey Niffenegger (The Time Traveler's Wife & Her Fearful Symmetry).

Any re-reads?
Just 1:  One True Thing by Anna Quindlen.  My 2nd time reading it & it was an even more amazing read.

Favourite character of the year?
Lisbeth Salander in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.  Nobody even comes close to her uniqueness.

Which countries did you go to through the page in your year of reading?
First of all, that's a fascinating way to word the question!

Published outside of North America:  2 (Pride & Prejudice--England, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo--Sweden)

Books that take place outside of the U.S.:  6
Sweden- The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Canada- The Bear Came Over the Mountain
England- 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff (partly in NY, partly in London); Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
Congo/Zaire- The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
Fictional setting- The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (Gilead)

Which book wouldn't you have read without someone's specific recommendation?
Last Words by George Carlin. It was a surprise Xmas gift from my dad who often quotes Carlin & has a few of his comedy albums.

Which author was new to you in 2010 that you now want to read the entire works of?
Margaret Atwood, Barbara Kingsolver, Audrey Niffenegger (though now I've read both of her novels but I'll read anything new by her).

Which books are you annoyed that you didn't read?
My Life by Bill Clinton--started but far from finished.

Did you read any books that you have always been meaning to read?
Why, all of my books have that honour :)  But most especially, Pride & Prejudice and The World According to Garp.  I am SO glad I finally got to reading both of those!

2010 Top 8 Book Events in Teacher/Learner's Book Life:
8) Dusting off a forgotten copy of The Bear Came Over the Mountain.
7) Reading 84 Charing Cross Road in one joyful sitting.
6) Mustering up the courage to read The Poisonwood Bible after putting it off for too long & for no reason.
5) Finishing The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo before Christmas.
4) Finishing that Under the Dome tome :D
3) Finally reading Pride & Prejudice.
2) Encouraging my parents to read more by example :)
1) Starting this book blog!

I've joined 5 challenges for 2011, my debut year for participating in any, and chosen all books for them (at least a starting list).  Here's the summary post for those.  My progress is tracked along the right side of the page.  I've decided that if I finish a challenge early enough, I may join in a new one to replace it or if the option if available & I'm game, I'll bump up my challenge level.  But for now, I'm comfortable with what I signed up for & that should keep me busy enough for the year.

Best of luck on any challenges you have joined, books you've planned (or not planned) to read this year & have a Happy New (Reading) Year :)


  1. You read some great books in 2010! I love P&P, On Writing, 84 Charring Cross and Poisonwood Bible. I also read Handmaid's Tale for the first time this year and was blown away.

  2. I love the way you did your stats.

  3. Oh! I love Garp! Hearing you mention it makes me want to read it again. I have an ancient, smelly ole copy though. I'd have to get it on my Kindle for me to read it.

  4. Thanks for all of your comments :)

    Avid Reader~ I loved reading all of those books! I was very fortunate to have mostly A or A+ books :)

    Bybee~ Thanks! I like the details you put in yours. In 2011, I'll have better tracking methods as I've lost track of some books read prior to starting the blog.

    Ti~ Me, too :) I'd love to reread it someday. I have the trade paperback edition--it's yellow & blue (a picture is in my review). My new copy of Irving's A Prayer For Owen Meany is waiting patiently for me to get to...*sigh*

  5. Very good. I love that you & I have such similar tastes in books. I'll be checking your recommendations once I have room to add to my TBR list. ;)