This has been an incredible year of reading. When I started this blog, I wanted to become a bit more goal-oriented in my reading, and rather than just reading off the bestseller lists, I was aiming to experience a wide variety of genres. I also hoped to read 50 books, about one per week. How did I do?
Well to start with, I ended up reading 71 books (I might finish #72, but I am not hell-bent on it). I also discovered a community of lit-bloggers who enjoy Reading Challenges. The first challenge I came across was LiveJournal’s 50 Book Challenge, which set a quantitative goal for the year. Then I learned about the New York Times Notable Books challenge, and signed up to read about a dozen from the 2006 Notable Books list. And then, well, I was hooked. I completed 9 challenges in all, including the Spring Reading Thing, the Summer Reading Challenge, Maggie’s Southern Reading Challenge, Joy’s Non-Fiction 5 Challenge, Kathrin’sClassics Challenge, 2nds Challenge (also from Joy), and a personal Reading Across Borders Challenge. Through the Reading Across Borders challenge I “visited” 20 new countries in 2007. This has inspired me to read authors from as many of the world’s 192 countries as I can find; in 2008 this will continue as one of my long-term projects. This year, I also began projects to read all of the Booker, Pulitzer, and Nobel winners. The real fun of Reading Challenges has been choosing the books that would meet the challenge requirements. I enjoyed knocking things off my TBR pile, and the many different challenge themes gave me the genre diversity I was looking for.
Along with blogging and Reading Challenges, 2007 was also “the year of LibraryThing”. I discovered the LibraryThing community late in 2006, and as this year progressed I went from simply cataloguing my books, to becoming an active member of several discussion groups. At one point, I was making note of “books I learned about on LibraryThing,” but I quickly gave up because I realized almost everything I read, I’ve heard about from someone on that site. I’ve also been fortunate enough to form friendships on LT, and even meet a few of my friends in person. It is the most remarkable experience I’ve ever had, and all the more surprising to me because it’s entirely online.
So now, I’ll close this year in review with a list: my Top 5 for 2007, in the order I read them:
The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
Suite Francaise, by Irene Nemirovsky
Half of a Yellow Sun, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Interpreter of Maladies, by Jhumpa Lahiri
A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khaled Hosseini
And as I look at my TBR pile, I can see 2008 is shaping up to be another great reading year!