Thursday, December 31, 2009

I so hate playing favorites...

...but I'm going to try it anyway. My favorite reads of the year, that is. I wasn't even going to do a year-end wrap-up this year, but I so love reading everyone else's...and well, after all that fun, I just couldn't resist any longer. My numbers are nowhere near as large as many, but I'm not complaining. I read as much as I could, and I read a lot of books that truly touched me. What more can I ask?

Total books read: 113
--This is actually a very high number for me. But!!! While it doesn't include picture books, it does include several middle grade books that I read aloud to the boys and several non-fiction middle grade/YA books that I read for homeschooling. Also, I read a TON of graphic novels this year...and while I don't consider them any less worthwhile than a picture-free novel, they obviously are faster to read. I also should note that I read a number of books that contained more than one book, and I counted the books within the books separately (for example, I counted The Complete Polysyllabic Spree as two books because it contains both The Polysyllabic Spree and Housekeeping vs. the Dirt). Again, this makes my numbers seem larger than they really are.

The breakdown:
Adult novels: 10
YA novels: 16
Middle grade novels: 8
Fictional graphic novels: 37
Plays: 2 (I actually read an additional 4 full-length plays but they were included in a larger collection which I didn't finish, so I didn't count them)
Short story collections: 1 (that sounds like a horrible number, but I did read quite a few short stories on-line and in anthologies/collections that I haven't yet finished)
Fairy tale/folktale collections: 1
Poetry collections: 1
Adult non-fiction: 14
YA/middle grade non-fiction: 13
Essay collections: 4

Additional info:
Classics: 8
Rereads: 6
Worst reading months: July and December, each with only 4 books
Best reading month: August, with 18 books

Okay, so on to my favorites. This is so ridiculously hard, but here we go...

1 and 2. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness just barely edged out Nation by Terry Pratchett. I have never had as an emotional experience reading a book as I did with TKONLG. Not even close. That being said, Nation is such a special, special book that it's hard to believe that it's not favorite read of the year.

Yeah, well now is when I sort of don't know how to choose. No real order here. Other YA novels I really loved: Missing Juan Angel by Francesca Lia Block, Green Angel by Alice Hoffman, and The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett. I'm tempted to add The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins here, too, because although it didn't touch me in the way the others did, it most definitely was a compelling read that was nearly impossible to put down.

I think the only adult novel that I'd list among my favorites would be All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque. Without question, there were others I enjoyed, but this is the one that stands out above the others.

And I'd like to throw in The Crucible by Arthur Miller here. (The only reread to make my favorites list.)

As for middle grade fiction...what can I say, I love it! And this year's favorites would have to be The Letter, the Witch, and the Ring by John Bellairs and The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo. And I'm sort of tempted to add The Garden of Eve by K.L. Going here, was such a sweet, quiet book, and I really did adore it.

I enjoyed nearly all of the non-fiction I read, but these are likely my favorites: Normal by Amy Bloom, House of Stone by Christina Lamb, and Shakespeare Wrote for Money, The Polysyllabic Spree, and Housekeeping vs. the Dirt, all by Nick Hornby (sorry, I could pick just one).

And graphic novels...oh my, these may be the hardest of all to pick my favorites from because I read sooooo many good ones! But I think I will have to say Castle Waiting by Linda Medley was my absolute positively charmed me! And very, very, very closely following that would have to be Fables by Bill Willingham (I read books 2-6 this year). And closely following that series are The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For by Alison Bechdel, Bone by Jeff Smith, The Sandman by Neil Gaiman (I read books 2-5 this year), American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang, and Blankets by Craig Thompson.

Other notes:
As is quite obvious, I've fallen madly in love with stories, both fiction and non-fiction, told through the medium of comics. I strongly suspect this trend of reading so many of them will continue through 2010.
I tried my first manga this year. I'm not giving up on them completely yet, but I fear they're not really for me. They seem to lack depth...but that honestly might just be the few I've read, or it might simply be me missing something.
I had a couple of surprises this year...a couple of books I enjoyed far more than I thought I was going to. That's always a wonderful thing, isn't it? While neither Dramacon Ultimate Edition by Svetlana Chmakova nor Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte made my favorites of the year list, I honestly loved them both...expecting, in the case of Dramacon, to just like it, and in the case of Jane Eyre, to possibly dislike it.

Whew...another year gone already...

December 30th "Good Stuff" (I'll keep it to just one since this post is so long already)

*This view of Annie. It just totally made me smile...she just looked so sweet curled up in the chair reading. Not that it's an unusual sight, as you can find her that way on a daily basis. But I don't know, there was just something that really warmed my heart. Maybe part of it is that the view made me think of two young ladies I adore...Annie (obviously) and Eva. Why Eva? Well, first because that totally adorable headband that Annie is wearing was made by the talented Ms. Eva. And second, because Annie's reading Pride and Prejudice. Yeah, 'nuff said.


  1. I think it's funny she's reading the Twilight-cover edition of P&P. :D I'm glad you decided to make a favorites post, because I really do love reading them. :)

  2. What?!?!? 113 books?!?! I thought I was really kicking butt by squeezing in 65 books this year after reading only 55 last year! Looks like I have a long way to go to catch up with all of you real readers out there! :)

  3. What a great year in books for you Debi :D So many fantastic things read!!! I absolutely love the picture of Annie!! *right click, save* :D Happy New Year my friend!!

  4. Then there are those of us who don't count the number of books read. I don't want to know just how low the number might be. I do know that I worked out an amazing number of times, created a worthy number of worthwhile things, and probably didn't waste as much time as I feel I did. It was a good year, as I hope the coming year will be. Happy New Year!

  5. well it sounds like you had a good reading year to me!

    that IS a cute pic of Annie!

    Happy New Year Debi!! I hope this is a great year for you and your whole family!

  6. Amanda,
    As goofy as remarketing those classics with those covers seems, I honestly think it made Annie pick up P&P sooner than she might have otherwise. She does love classics, but she also loves Twilight...that seeming combination was irresistible to her. :)

    I'd be willing to bet, my dear, that if you counted "words read" you'd probably have a higher count. Over a third of my reads were graphic novels, after all. Besides, quality is the only thing that really matters anyway, right?

    I have to admit that I am pretty happy with my 2009 reading. I mean, the numbers don't mean shit. But I read sooooo many books that I truly can one argue with that, right? And I know I told you before, but I still love it that we had the same favorite book for the year. :D

    Oh, I highly doubt you had much wasted time at all!!! And thankfully, I don't think I did either. Read some awesome books, spent time with some awesome people, saw some awesome new places, made some awesome creations, cooked some awesome foods... Yeah, I'm going to call 2009 a pretty damn fine year in my book, too. Here's hoping 2010 brings us at least as much fulfillment as 2009 did!

    And may this year bring you much joy! You're due, lady!

  7. Your list of books is fantastic...I found myself nodding yes yes yes as I recognized some that I had read and loved too! How can that picture of your daughter not warm the heart? I love kids that read!!

  8. You had a great year in books. Happy new year to you and your family.

  9. I LOVE All Quiet on the Western Front! I hope to reread that one this year, perhaps. I read it in high school and it had this shattering impact on me, of making me realize there is really no "good vs. bad" in war, and certainly not in WWI.