Wrapping Up 2009

Warning, Warning! Long post ahead…I’m not breaking this down into 2 or more posts, I’m just combining stats, favorite reads, and goals all into one post :p So feel free to skim or just skip this all together if you so desire!! 2009 has been an odd year for me. I actually read more than I ever have this year, but I was disappointed in the amount I read. I think it’s because of the level of stress this year threw on me. I’ll talk about that toward the end of the post though…right now let’s start with favorite reads of the year! As usual, I can’t limit it down to 10 :/ And so I give you, my favorite 18 reads of the year, in no particular order:

1. A Fine and Private Place by Peter Beagle – This book was absolutely beautiful and easily became my favorite Peter Beagle book. It’s quiet in it’s tone but filled with beauty and the essence of what it is to be alive despite taking place in a graveyard and dealing with the dead.

2. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro – I can’t really talk about this book much, but it’s a dystopian novel that continues to haunt me to this day. I love it more and more as each day passes. I cried when I read this one and I just want to embrace the characters.

3. The Red Tree by Shaun Tan – This book has really become my saving grace on a bad day. The art is beautiful and the message of the book is incredible. I think everyone should have a copy of this one to read on a blue day.

4. Sorrow by John Lawson – I absolutely love the worlds that John creates. They’re simply amazing. This rivals Witch Ember which, to date, is my favorite of his books. This one is shorter and available as an ebook at a great price and it’s one of the most original mysteries I’ve read in a long time set in a unique fantasy world.

5. The Horse Boy by Rupert Isaacson – I become obsessed with this book when I read it and had the pleasure of talking with Rupert Isaacson a few times over twitter. He’s a great guy. This is such an incredibly moving story about a young boy with autism and the healing power of animals and shamanism.

6. Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork – I’m a little surprised this one is making the list actually! But it seems to have grown on me over the year. This one is about a boy with Asperger’s learning to work in “the real world” while still holding on to what makes him, him. Loved this one!

7. Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist – The best vampire fiction I’ve read since Anne Rice. I’ve grown sick of all of these angsty teen vampires that are out these days. This is real horror with depth and meaning to it and what an amazing story this was.

8. The Screwed Up Life of Charlie the Second by Drew Ferguson – The runner up in the Nerds Heart YA competition! I loved everything about this book. It was a brutally honest portrayal of teen life and kudos to Mr. Ferguson for going there. Possibly my favorite YA read of the year.

9. The Scott Pilgrim Series by Bryan Lee O’Malley – I haven’t had this much fun reading a graphic novel series in I don’t know how long. I just want more and more volumes and I hope the series never ends…though I know it does have a planned end 😦 This is the graphic novel series that I want to put in everyone’s hands and say “read this please, ok bai.”

10. Fingersmith by Sarah Waters – I’m not kidding, don’t even click on my review if you haven’t read this one…don’t even read the back cover. Just go into this one knowing nothing except that it’s made of AWESOME and it’s victorian and you can go ahead and know that it’s a mystery but so much more than just that.

11. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness – I know I said that these are in no particular order, but this my friends is my favorite book of the year, hands down. Such an incredible book that took me on an emotional roller coaster. Ness has so many other writers beat by a landslide. He has power in his writing and he writes with depth. Oh, and I’m totally naming my next dog Manchee…that’s not even a joke.

12. Breathers by S.G. Browne – This is the fiction book that I want to put into everyone’s hands and say “read this now. ok bai”. Seriously, it’s such an incredible book. I thought this was going to be just a funny spoof on zombies, but it’s not. There’s a lot of really great social commentary here.

13. Between Mom and Jo by Julie Anne Peters – Amanda told me about this one and I just fell in love with it after I read it!! It’s so good. About a lesbian couple raising a young boy and the problems that the family faces. Really a beautiful book!

14. The Magician’s Elephant by Kate DiCamillo – I love everything this woman does…she really can’t do any wrong with me. This book may be my new favorite of hers. It was melancholy and sweet and sad and very hmmm…wintery. I loved it.

15. The Wild Things by Dave Eggers – I want to read everything Eggers after reading this book. Such a wonderful take on Sendak’s classic tale. I loved his elaboration on the story. I just wanted to hug it and jump into his world.

16. Atlas by Katrina Vandenberg – As I said in my review, I don’t know if I’ve ever been so affected by a book as I have with this collection of poetry. Simply put, it’s the most beautiful collection of words I’ve read. This is another one that I want to put into everyone’s hands and say “read this” and I actually did do that with quite a few people for Christmas :p

17. Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger – So there have been mixed thoughts galore all over the blogging world about this one, but personally, I fell in love with this one. And the more I think on it I actually think I enjoyed this one even more than The Time Traveler’s Wife. I just can’t get it out of my head. The characters were incredible though unlikeable at times and the setting of Highgate Cemetery was just perfectly done. The best ghost story I’ve read in years.

18. A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote – What a wonderful collection this was. The title story itself is my new favorite Christmas story and I know I’ll be rereading it each year. Capote’s writing is truly captivating and I fell in love with it. It’s like sitting by a warm fire and having a story read aloud to you.

So there’s that! Any surprises? Anything that you thought would make the list and didn’t? I wanted to add many more, but these were the books that stuck out like a sore thumb as books that absolutely blew me away. Now lets look at some stats from this year. I’m just going to use my same format as last year….many of the stats taken from Nymeth’s format :p

Total Books Read: 96
Total Pages Read: 22,078
Comics/Graphic Novels Read: 23
Non-Fiction: 6 (sad :()
Novels: 49
Short Story Collections/Anthologies: 8
Poetry: 3
Children’s & Young Adult: 30
In Translation (that I know of): 4 (another sad stat :()
By Women: 34
By Men: 58 (These stats are embarrassing…I really need to read more books by women next year!)
Featuring both Men and Women authors: 5
New to me authors: 54 (Good Lord!)
Chunksters (450+ pages): 7
Favorite New Authors Discovered: Kazuo Ishiguro, Douglas Coupland, Marjane Satrapi, Drew Ferguson, Bryan Lee O’Malley, Sarah Waters, Patrick Ness, Katrina Vandenberg, S.G. Browne, Dave Eggers, Truman Capote)
Best Reading Month: April – 18 Books, 3,885 Pages
Worst Reading Month: July – 3 Books, 462 Pages

Fun stats as always πŸ™‚ Now onto the goals for next year and I PROMISE this post will finally be done. This year saw me going through many funks and I’m sure that all of you noticed that. I disappeared a lot. I still disappear a lot and I haven’t been around the blogosphere as much as usual. So one of my goals for this year is to blog more often and to get back to responding to my comments. Because, dammit! That’s one of the things that makes me happy. And I need to make time for myself.

One other thing that I’ve decided to do to keep me out of funks this year is an idea that I stole directly from Debi. She’s keeping track of all of the little good things in life and I’m doing that myself in a handwritten journal. With work and deadlines and the mundane parts of life, it’s easy to forget all the tiny good things that happen in a day, so I’m not going to let those things pass by. I’m going to be more cognizant of all of the happy things that happen during each day this year and keep a journal detailing them. I really think that will stop me from going into those funks where I just disappear.

I want to thank all of you for continuing to come around here. 2009 has been a great year. I’ve made yet more wonderful online friends, I’ve actually met some of my online friends!!!! And I’ve continued to build on my already existing friendships. You guys all mean the world to me and I mean that from the bottom of my heart! Happy 2010 to you all and may it bring you all peace and prosperity and whatever your heart wishes for the most.

25 Responses

  1. hi Chris, you just sent me over from Twitland… I just three minutes ago finished Her Fearful Symmetry! and I had red that Capote book a loooong time ago, Never Let Me Go was 2 yrs ago already? Otherwise, I’m wishlisting that poetry collection and can’t wait to read Knife of Never Letting Go. Great job on a good reading year. Best to you in 2010.

  2. You’ve got a great list of books there Chris. (Not that I am looking too closely at any list of books you put together, it’s really not safe for my wishlist!)

    Hope you have a great 2010 Chris!

  3. Great list of books, and I love long posts so I’m not complaining. Heck, I think both my round-up posts managed to be longer than this. I’m such a loser. πŸ˜€

    I can’t WAIT to get my hands on the Red Tree. I followed your advice and got it from the Book Depository after Borders canceled my order.

  4. I love the idea of keeping track of all the little happy things that happen each day. You had a fabulous reading year and I hope 2010 is even better! Happy New Year, Chris! Thanks for being a part of my little blogging world πŸ˜€

  5. I need to see if I can get a used hardback copy of Fingersmith..after all..what’s one more on the tbr pile right?

    I’m surprised you stopped at 18 lol could have sworn you would have a list of 96 best liked books! *grin*
    love you!
    I hope 2010 is a fabulous year for you baby boy!

  6. That’s a great list, Chris. Lots of things there I’d like to read! I wish you a happy and healthy New Year, with lots of time to read and blog and enjoy all those little happy things. And may there be lots of them!

  7. Happy New Year Chris! I do hope that 2010 is a wonderful year for you – I know that “I” miss you when you are not around.

    Thanks to you I read and loved THE HORSE BOY; I even chose it as one of the best book club books of 2009 (http://age30books.blogspot.com/2009/12/best-book-club-books-of-2009.html).

    I’ve read and loved 2 other Sarah Waters books this past month but FINGERSMITH hasn’t really attracted my attention … maybe I should reconsider? Capote is on my list for the coming year; I hope I’ll get a chance to read some of his stories.

  8. Care, Awesome that you just finished Her Fearful Symmetry πŸ™‚ I loved that one! And Never Let Me Go was SOOO good πŸ™‚ I’m thrilled to hear that you put Atlas on your wishlist! It’s so damn good. Happy new year to you!!

    Darren, Put them all on your wishlist!! LOL…Happy New Year Darren πŸ™‚

    Amanda, I always think that everyone is going to hate my posts when they get long like this :p Glad you didn’t πŸ™‚ I saw that you ordered The Red Tree from TBD! I’m so glad!! Hope you love it πŸ™‚

    Lu, I thought it was a good idea. Thank you for being a part of MY blogging world πŸ™‚ It makes me happy! Happy New Year to you!!

    Deslily, You really do need to find yourself a copy! You’re right…what’s one more book :p I was very tempted to have a list of the best 96 books of the year :p Love you too and I hope that you have a fantastic 2010 as well Pat!!

    Robin, thanks so much πŸ˜€ I hope that you have a wonderful 2010 as well filled with happy things!!

    Heather, Happy New Year to you too! Thanks πŸ™‚ I’m so glad you loved The Horse Boy as much as I did. It was just amazing. Oh, you really have to read Fingersmith! It’s so good. I’ve yet to read anything else of hers, but I can’t wait to!

  9. Why does it make me so dang happy that we have the same favorite book of 2009?!! πŸ˜€

    You know, some friends skip right to being family…yeah, you! Total 2009 highlight…meeting you! But you knew that already, didn’t you?

  10. I think this is a fabulous post. I love the idea of tracking the best / worst reading months.

  11. Happy New Year, Chris! I loved reading your list. I was happy to see Marcelo on it too πŸ™‚ There are several on your list that I would love to read if my local library has them.

  12. Oooh, great list! This reminds me that I need to read A Fearful Symmetry and The Knife of Never Letting Go. I loved Never let me Go, too, and I do even more as time goes by.

  13. Great list!! I loved Fingersmith and Let The Right One In, too. I’m definitely going to refer to your list when I need to update my TBR list! Hang in there.

  14. Dang, I thought I was geeking out with my wrap-up post stats, but you put me to shame! In a good way. πŸ™‚

    I love the idea (Debi!) of keeping a little journal about the good things that happen. I’m the type of person who’s always moving to the next to-do item, the next task, and I rarely stop to realize how much I’ve accomplished already. I just get down on myself for what’s left.

    Anyhoo, all that to say I love the idea and I might try it too. πŸ™‚

    p.s. Also, I need to read KNIFE! Argh. I just can’t gear myself up to read a series right now…

  15. Good list! I think A Fine and Private Place is going to be my first read of 2010 after getting it as a gift for xmas. Got to start the year off well!

  16. Soooooo many of these books are on my wishlist! I’m trying really, really hard to resist THE KNIFE OF NEVER LETTING GO until all three books are out, but I think I’m going to fail.

    Good luck with all your goals this year! The journal sounds like a great idea.

  17. I just finished Never Let Me Go this morning, and I know what you mean about not being able to say much about it!

    That’s a great idea for journaling about the good things…it’s so easy to focus on the bad that the good deserves its moments, too!

    Happy New Year…may 2010 be a wonderful year for you!

  18. You know it’s funny, I have read none of your favourite books of 2009! I hope to read the Scott Pilgrim books and a couple of others in 2010 so will hopefully love them as much as you have. Keeping a journal of the good things is a great idea and something I do from time to time. I started it when I went through a particularly bad break up and it really helped to see the good that I had in my life. Hope to see you around more in 2010 and I hope to be around more myself too!

  19. Great list of books. I read 50 books by men and 51 by women last year — totally by chance. I guess I’m well balanced.

  20. I think I need to read more male authors, Chris…hmmm maybe we balance each other out. πŸ˜‰

    Great list of a bunch of books I still need to read!

  21. “And I need to make time for myself.”

    Yes, you do, Chris. I hope 2010 will be filled with many such moments and instances! Happy new year! ^-^

  22. Are you reading Tender Morsels? If you are send me an email… Maybe it could be our first buddy review of 2010? Nymeth really wants me to read it and I think I ran out of renewals at the library… πŸ™‚

    Great post! You had a great reading year, but I hope you will be around more in 2010. We didn’t really run into each other very much the last few months and I miss talking to you!

    Here’s to a great reading year in 2010!

  23. Debi, because we’re both AWESOME!! And I think it’s probably going to be lots of people’s favorite books of 2009 :p My 2009 highlight was meeting you too Debi. It was just one of the most special couple of days of my life and on some days I still just can’t believe that it actually happened!! You’ve definitely skipped right to family with me too πŸ™‚

    Amanda A, I’ve always done that…though it can be a bit depressing to see just how bad your worst reading months are :p

    Becky, You should totally do a Read Chris’ Favorite Books of 2010 Reading Challenge :p I think you’d love all of them. And thanks again for recommending Marcelo!! I loved it so much!!!

    Kay, Ooooh, if you read all of those, you have some EXCELLENT reading ahead of you πŸ˜€

    Daphne, Awesome! I hope you do decide to read some of these! I’m glad to find someone else who’s read Let The Right One In!! Not many people have, but I thought it was just an incredible book!!

    Kelly, Uh, yeah…I’m a total stats nerd :p I’m loving my good things journal already!! It’s just so much fun to keep notice of all of the wonderful things that happen during a day be they little or small. I’m really enjoying it already. Yes!! You do need to read Knife!!

    Mariel, I’m THRILLED to hear that you’re starting off the year with A Fine and Private Place πŸ˜€ I read that at the beginning of last year and it is indeed the perfect time of year for that one. Enjoy!

    Memory, And you totally should fail on that goal because you should read Knife right away :p It’s an incredible book! Thanks! The journal is turning out to be a fantastic idea!

    Softdrink, Yeah, you can’t talk about that one very much without giving the whole thing away. Except it’s an emotional upheaval of a book! The good is indeed a wonderful thing to journal about :)Happy New Year to you too Jill and right back atcha!

    Rhinoa, OMG, You will absolutely LOVE the Scott Pilgrim books!! They’re right up your alley. Such fantastic GNs. Glad to hear you’ve done the good stuff journal too. It does seem like it will be extra helpful during those really hard times this year…I’m sure there’ll be some. I hope to be around more this year too Rhinoa!! Sorry I haven’t been 😦

    Beth, I’m totally impressed by that balance!!! I wish I was more balanced in my reading. Good thing is, my first read of the year was by a male, and now I’m reading a book by a female…so I’m off to a good start πŸ˜‰

    Amy, I like the idea of the two of us balancing each other out πŸ™‚ We should do a personal challenge where you recommend some female authored books to me and I recommend some male authored books to you :p

    Shanra, I promise that I shall try!!! Happy new year to you too my friend!!

    Kelly, I am, I am!! But very slowly…I’m glad I didn’t choose to read this during the readathon because it would’ve been a bad pick for that…I’ll email you soon! You had a much better reading year than me :p And I promise I’ll be around more in 2010…it’s one of my personal goals to give me a little more happiness. 2009 was just emotionally rough! Happy new year to you Kelly!

  24. I have added The Knife of Never Letting Go to my TBR list, I have A Fine and Private place on my shelf (still to be read….) and I actually own Let the Right One In because of another bad blogger, Bride of the Book God! It’s on my TBR shelf to be read shortly…….so now you’ve added it up further, since I am sick of teenage angst ‘oh bite me please’ teen vamp books. Well put, and well done, Chris! Reading 96 books in a year is still amazing. Happy New Year and lots of reading wishes for you, Chris!

  25. I felt the same way about my year of reading – I had great stats but the quality of the books was depressing. Really like your top 18 list, I’m reading Fearful Symmetry now (almost done it) and I think it will rate higher than Time Travelers Wife – which I had not expected! Hope 2010 is a wonderful year for you, personally and readerly πŸ™‚

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