Saturday, January 1, 2011

Book Musing - 2010 and What Will Happen in 2011?

  • All the books I read in 2010 are linked here.
  • I think I had a pretty good reading in 2010. I read over 100 books, even though I did not read a lot in March when I went on vacation, and then in July when I read about cat articles online instead when we adopted the kitties...
  • I found that I don't quite like character-driven novels... I need some good plots + characters I like! Character-driven novels are typically too slow or boring to me... 
  • I discovered that I quite like dystopian fiction (YA or adults)! I can't read too many of them. I think I read about 14? Young Adult is also another surprise category - haven't read too many YA before 2010. Since I'm in my early 30's though, I found that some YA are too YA-ish for me... I think I prefer those with a message that appeals to all, rather than just aiming for YA
  • My main goal of staring a blog on 1/1/10 (Yeah! 1 year anniversary!) was to write a review of all the books I'd read, so that I can remember what I have read (I like recommending books to others! But can't recommend something if I don't remember them!). I am glad to say I achieved this goal (though the last 10 reviews of so were a day late, written in 2011 instead :)
  • An added bonus of blogging was getting to know some of my blog followers! I enjoy reading you reviews on your blogs and the comments you left on my posts (though I am doing a bad job of replying comments in a timely manner, sorry! Will try to do better in 2011) - so THANK YOU
  • I had definitely expanded the genre I read - I used to read mostly murder/mystery fiction. I don't think I'd have read so many new genre had it not be reading your blogs! Granted, I don't like everything I read, but it's a good learning experience
  • Also joined in-person book club in 2010 and I enjoyed going there. I admit I haven't finished a few books, but I still like listening to the conversation. Will continue to go in 2011
  • I don't think I will do any challenges in 2011. I think I'd just choose what I want to read instead. I know it takes a lot of time and effort for the hosts to host the challenges and I don't want to not finish the challenges... 2011 definitely will be a "quality over quantity" year for me
  • I missed reading Non-Fiction - 24 is not bad, but considerable less than what I read in 2008 and 2009. I found that when I am busy at work, I tended to read fiction to escape, and it had been a busy work year. But I guess learning new things from reading non-fiction
  • I had 11 Did-Not-Finish books. I will continue to discard books in 2011... too many books, too little time. It is by no means the authors' fault when I can't finish though. 
  • I like my review format, but may do some slight changes. I like writing in bullet points :)
  • Because I borrowed most of my books from the library, I saved over $1155 :)
    • Yes I will continue to blog in 2011!

     The Good And The Bad of 2010
      Best Non-Fiction

      1. Not by Chance Alone: My Life as a Social Psychologist by Elliot Aronson - you know how you lose something sometime, then you forgot about it... then out of the blue you found it? That's how I felt about this book. I "found" my love for psychology again.

      2. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot - The title and blurb bored me. Almost didn't read it. SO GLAD I did!

      3. Algernon, Charlie, and I: A Writer's Journey by Daniel Keyes - While I enjoyed reading Flowers for Algernon, I enjoyed reading this memoir more. I love reading about Keyes' inspiration and writing process.

      4. Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard by Chip Heath and Dan Heath - relevant for my work, or anyone who has to deal with change management! I prefer the authors' first book Made To Stick a little more though.

      5. Genetic Rounds: A Doctor's Encounters in the Field that Revolutionized Medicine by Robert Marion MD - learned about what medical geneticists do

      Best Fiction

      1. The Hunger Games and Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins - I really like Book 1 and Book 2 of this series, but Book 3, Mocking Jay really disappointed me. I like the premise and the characters. I think what I liked Catniss the most is her protectiveness over her little sister, Primrose. I have 2 younger sisters and I'd do almost anything for them

      2. Unwind by Neal Shusterman - what an intriguing concept (dystopian again)! In a way, I may even like this book better than The Hunger Games / Catching Fire. But the characters aren't quite as memorable for me

      3. The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist - a "quiet" dystopian. Doesn't quite have as much action as the ones mentioned above, but the story stays with me. Almost seems like a grown up version of Unwind.

      4. Ella Minnow Pea: A Novel in Letters by Mark Dunn - I like that it's a clever little tale! Typically I don't like symbolic books, but I think this one is quite well done

      5. Half Broke Horses: A True-Life Novel by Jeannette Walls - I didn't expect to like this book as I have no interest in horses (or cowboys or ranches), but am surprised that I do. Walls' writing has a lot to do with it. Still like The Glass Castle better though. Since I don't usually re-read books, it's saying something that this book made me want to re-read The Glass Castle.

      6. Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper and Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes- there are some similarities between these 2 books, and I think they both made me think more about how lucky I am, and how I should treat others who aren't quite as lucky

      Most disappointing
      • Mockingjay by Suznne Collins - just wasn't the same as Book 1 (Hunger Games) and Book 2 (Catching Fire). Catniss wasn't quite herself... and the pace and plot was just a bit off. Almost forgot about Pete and Gale after reading it...
      • Liar by Justine Larbalestier - this book has SUCH POTENTIAL to be a great book. But the ambiguous ending just left it hanging. The ending could have been like Shutter Island or The Sixth Sense.

      Best Discovery!
      • Shaun Tan! I used to like some comic books in Chinese, but just haven't really found any authors I like in English. While Tan's books aren't really graphic books or comic books, as they are more like picture books, he is definitely talented. It is almost like discovering Shel Silverstein for the first time.


          1. I totally agree on your two disappointments! Interesting that you put The Unit on your list. I didn't, and yet I agree that it stays with you! I suppose a good category for my next summary could be: Books That Stay With You

          2. I totally agree that if you are not enjoying you should just stop reading, to many great books.

            I like your reviewing style. I am challenging myself to memoirs this year.

            I tried YA this year also and like you feel some are just to YAish for me also and then I had some favourites this year.

            Heres to great reading in 2011 Christa.

          3. Hey thanks for some more book suggestions. I don't read much fiction but I seem to like Dystopian too. I'd like to try to read more of this year. I didn't realize your blog was only just now a year old. You're a great blogger, I love your blog.

          4. I'm not sure how many books you read for the challenge, but there are 3 giveaways up for participants of the Vietnam War Reading Challenge. I hope you'll enter and spread the word.

          5. Thank you for your comments on my TBR 2011 post, i'm not to sure about reading 2 of them now, lol

            Look forward to your Before I Fall review.

          6. Thanks for recommending that non-fiction by Daniel Keyes. It sounds interesting. Happy to know about Shaun Tan as your best discovery!

          7. @rhapsodyinbooks - "Books Stay with You" is a good category! I looked back at the fiction I read, and honestly some I don't remember anymore... Interesting how there are some books we agree on, but not all! That's why I like reading others' reviews :)

            @Marce - Ha, now I wonder which 2 books on your TBR 2011 list you aren't going to read! Let me guess, Before I Fall is one of them!? :) While generally I do like reading memoir, there were some that I couldn't finish... either I didn't like their writing / voice, or I just wasn't very interested in their lives after all...

            @Callista - Thanks! I'd tried blogging before, and failed... but last year was my first year blogging consistently, or at least committed to it! I am surprised I like dystopian as much as I did too, I guess I just like reading about different possibilities.

            @Serena - thanks for letting me know. I only read 1 book for the War challenge :( I am disappointed in myself...

            @mee - if it wasn't for other bloggers, wouldn't have known about Shaun Tan!