Saturday, January 2, 2010

Best of the Decade

Have I ever read some fantastic books this decade?!

I didn't start reviewing and keeping track of all my reads until 2003, so the early years are a bit of a blur. Let's just say I read 50 books for each of those years...that's a low estimate, I'm quite sure. And I lost half my book log in 2004 (it only goes up to the end of July and I was at 126 then) so I'll have to estimate 175. So here are my numbers:


That gives me a total of 1538 books in the last ten years, an average of about 150 a year! Whew! That's a lot of books. It certainly helped that I gave up tv in 2003. And moving to a K-2 school has definitely pushed up my numbers since I read lots and lots of children's picture books now.

The highlights:

2000...A complete blur. This was when I was reading on my own, whatever I could find at the public library that looked interesting. No online reading groups. No place to see reviews of books except the Houston paper.

2001...I joined bookgrouplist online and the companion group All_Nonfiction and my reading choices soared. I still hadn't started reviewing my books, but I definitely remember reading many good books with the groups: The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, Norwegian Wood, The Red Tent, and Girl With a Pearl Necklace.

2002...I continued reading with my online groups but still hadn't started keeping records. I remember reading and loving Bowling Alone, Fast Food Nation, Founding Brothers, John Adams, My Own Country, Nickel and Dimed, Paris to the Moon, River Town, Seabiscuit, The Tipping Point, Traveling Mercies, all nonfiction choices, along with The Stone Diaries and A Fine Balance, choices from bookgrouplist.

2003...I joined Book-a-Week and set a goal of reading and reviewing 52 books in a year. No problem! I ended up with 250 books read. Favorites were Reading Lolita in Tehran, Speak, A Short History of Nearly Everything, Lord of the Flies, Easter Parade, Fahrenheit 451, Sloppy Firsts, The Color of Magic, Shooting the Boh, The Monk Downstairs, The Center of Everything, My Name is Asher Lev, The Hours, Civility, The Phantom Tollbooth, Mrs. Bridge, Woman: An Intimate Biography, Dreamers, Good Poems, A Child's Christmas in Wales, No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, and Independent People.

2004...I read so many books that I was asked to join a 100+ group that, sadly, disbanded after the first year....Thus, I have a book log that only goes to the end of July. I also benefited from joining bookrings and bookrays for fantastic books at Bookcrossing. I'll say I read 175 in 2004 and the ones I loved were: Namesake, The Death of Vishnu, How to Read Literature Like a Professor, My Family and Other Animals, You Are Not a Stranger Here, The Kite Runner, Brideshead Revisited, Family Matters, So Many Books So Little Time, Stiff: The Curious History of Cadavers, Blue Latitudes, Ex Libris, and Eats Shoots and Leaves.

2005...I began to actively give up on books that didn't grab me and ended up reading fewer but better books. Total for 2005: 158. Here's a list of memorable reads: An Invitation to Poetry, Truth and Beauty, Sahara Special, Oryx and Crake, Gilead, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life, Little Guide to Your Well-Read Life, 1776, No Country for Old Men, English Passengers, Mountains Beyond Mountains, Freakonomics, Kafka on the Shore, The Ginger Man, and A Christmas Memory.

2006...First year I read all twenty of the Texas Bluebonnets, a nice new tradition. A grand total of 175, with these I loved: The Photograph, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Garlic and Sapphires, Dark Star Safari, The Accidental, Suite Francaise, Small Island, Night, The Lightning Thief, Eat Pray Love, Encyclopedia Prehistorica, If the World Were a Village, Criss Cross, Black Swan Green, Half of a Yellow Sun, If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things, Special Topics in Calamity Physics, and Yoon and the Christmas Mitten.

2007...Moved to a new school library and only read 125 books. I also did not have as many memorable reads: Invention of Hugo Cabret, entire Harry Potter series, Then We Came to the End, Grace (Eventually), We Need to Talk About Kevin, Bless Me Ultima, and Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont.

2008...Year of the Newbery as I read all 72 Newbery winners. Read 197 books, with favorites: Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You, Olive Kitteridge, The Giver, Out of the Dust, Sounder, Last Night at the Lobster, A Single Shard, A Wrinkle in Time, Bud Not Buddy, A House for Mr. Biswas, The Great Gatsby, My Mistress's Sparrow is Dead: Great Love Stories from Chekhov to Munro, Holes, Unaccustomed Earth, The Westing Game, Because of Winn-Dixie, A Voyage Long and Strange, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, a Death in the Family, The Things They Carried, Adam of the Road, and Crispin.

2009...Ridiculous total of 357 books. And what a year! Best reading year yet: Bend in the River, Member of the Wedding, Streetcar Named Desire, Blind Willow Sleeping Woman, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sleep, Great Expectations, Gulliver's Travels, 14 Cows for America,Home, Little Women, Of Mice and Men, Rabbit Run, Tales from Outer Suburbia, The 13 Clocks, Elegance of the Hedgehog, Redwoods, Hunger Games, The Once and Future King, Moonshot, Eleanor Quiet No More, Gertrude is Gertrude is Gertrude, Whatever It Takes, Zeitoun, Touchstone Anthology of Contemporary Creative Nonfiction, and Columbine.

Mercy! Have I left anything out?


  1. Oh dear. I was so clever, I thought, by writing this post last week and setting it where it would automatically appear on Sunday. Only I accidentally set it to automatically appear on Saturday.

  2. Incredible upward trajectory there Debbie. Makes you wonder how this year can possibly better last year! I'm very impressed with you reading ALL of the Newberry winners in 2008. Fantastic effort. I've read some of the titles you've listed for the years, but of course, many make me go "oh I must read that and that, oh and that one I'd forgotten about that..."

  3. Over 350 books in 2009! Over twice what I read! I'm greatly impressed. Hope you'll visit my Sunday Salon, which I recently joined.

  4. Wow, Debbie, just discovered your blog from your Christmas letter. How on earth did you manage to read that many books in 2009. That is so far above what is possible for me that I'm not even going to try. I'll just curtsey in your direction.

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  6. Wow, Debbie, just discovered your blog from your Christmas letter. How on earth did you manage to read that many books in 2009. That is so far above what is possible for me that I'm not even going to try. I'll just curtsey in your direction.

  7. Please delete those duplicate comments ... the little pop up didn't show me they were being posted so my trigger finger kept a-triggerin'

  8. Please delete those duplicate comments ... the little pop up didn't show me they were being posted so my trigger finger kept a-triggerin'

  9. I just love this walk down your memory lane!
    How inspiring it is. I haven't kept track that long, but you give me hope. LOL
    I plan on reading Zeitoun this year so I'm glad it was one of your highlights. I love Dickens and Great Expectations is one of my favorites.
    Thanks for your amazing post.

  10. AWESOME! so many titles I have read and want to read, too.

  11. I'm impressed that you kept track of your reading for so many years! I finally started keeping a journal/list of what I read about four years ago when I realized that my memories of what I had read were fading faster than they used to, and I was forgetting about entire books that I had read. Blogging seems like a natural extension of that.

  12. My online bookgroups led me so many good places in the last ten years. I still love the bookgroups, but bloggers are increasingly taking me to the good spots these days.

  13. I'm envious of the fact that you've got so many years of stats for your reading. 2009 was the first year I ever kept track. And also: 357 books for 2009?? Wow.

  14. It amazes me that you read so many books, but also that you were able to keep track of them. I'm organized about some things, but unfortunately, not books! I'm the librarian with two or three things overdue on any given day. :)

  15. Overdue books? Who, me?! Why, of course, that is me, too.

    I do review every book I read. Faithfully. It's a habit. I like it.

  16. What a neat history! Thanks for sharing.


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