After much agonizing and indecision, I've created a list of my favorite ten books I read this year. I've listed them in order, but with the exception of Hunger Games, the order is only mildly meaningful.
My top 10 books read in 2009:
1. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
2. Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
3. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
4. Graceling by Kristin Cashore
5. Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
6. Going Bovine by Libba Bray
7. The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
8. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
9. March by Geraldine Brooks
10 Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh
Total books read and reviewed: 82
Yup, I reviewed every single book I read this year. Sometimes I was so excited about blogging, I raced through the end of the book (oops). Sometimes I had nothing to say and only got out a paragraph or two. But they all got reviewed. Considering I probably read about six books in 2008, this is a great improvement. I've been thinking over whether I wanted to set a higher to-read goal for 2009, but I'm actually really happy with my current number. I'll set 80 books as my goal for the next year.
Reviewing has really been a pleasure, as it has allowed me to think more critically about what I'm reading before, during, and after I read. I've been proudest of those books that I've approached with an eye toward literary analysis (rather than "Ooh, I really liked/hated it").
Fiction read: 72
Nonfiction read: 10
I'm obviously partial to fiction, but I've been making decent inroads into nonfiction. I still think I'll stay mostly in the fiction arena, but I'm looking to make about 15-20% of my books nonfiction in 2010.
Adult (meaning non-YA) read: 56
Young adult read: 26
I didn't read much YA when I was younger, so it's been exciting to read some new YA books this year. I'm having a lot of fun with the fast-paced storylines and interesting scenarios. I know I don't want to become only a YA reader, though. There's too many interesting and important things going on in "serious" (I use this term very loosely and with no insult intended) adult literature. For 2010, I want YA to make up no more than one third of my read books.
On a random note...
I always get excited when someone with more clout than I agrees with something I've said. I was reading a New York Times article ("Books You Can Live Without," Room for Debate, 12/27/09) on how to get rid of excessive books (a problem I'm discovering, for the first time, that I have). Anyway, the author David Matthews had this to say about the books he's getting rid of:
On to fiction. Delillo’s “Underworld” can go, because a book can be long, or it can be boring, but it shouldn’t be both. Marquez’s “A Hundred Years of Solitude” makes the scrap heap, because it would take precisely that combination of circumstances before I could be bothered to finish it. Bye, bye Jamaica Kincaid — assigned 20 years ago by a comparative lit professor — you will always be homework to me. Soon, my bookshelf is lean. All muscle and bone.See posts on A Hundred Years of Solitude and Annie John. Happy New Year.