December 31st, 2009

2009: A Reading Year in Review

It's time to sum up the year, which was a good one!  I just love doing my year-end stats; it's fun to look back on the year that was and see what's been accomplished (or not!).  In 2009, I read 80 books, totaling 24,535 pages.  Two-thirds of my reads were written by women.  In a typical month I read 6-7 books of roughly 200-400 pages, and my average rating was 3.5 on a scale of 1 to 5.  The pace and quality have been pretty consistent since I began keeping track in 2007.  Here's a graphical view of my 2009 reading:

My reading is pretty goal-oriented, with a number of targets and perpetual challenges.  I'm reasonably happy with my progress:
  • Complete Booker:  achieved my goal of reading 12 winners
  • Orange Prize Project: achieved my goal to complete the winners list (8 books), and also read 2 shortlisted works
  • Pulitzer Project:  achieved my goal of reading 6 winners
  • Virago Modern Classics:  achieved my goal (10 books) ... enough to justify my obsessive collecting, I think!
  • Reading Across Borders :  I lost steam on this one.  I intended to "visit" 10 new countries during the year.  I read books from 6 new countries, and as I began finding it more difficult to locate books that interested me, I set this goal aside.  But I have a plan to revive my global reading in 2010!
  • Just for fun:  this was a great new category for me.  In previous years I had become so locked into challenges that my reading was planned months in advance.  I had no flexibility!  So for 2009, I vowed to read at least 20 books that I would choose on the spur of the moment, not related to any other challenge.  I actually read 30 books "just for fun," and loved it.  I cleared a few things off my TBR pile, joined some group reads on LibraryThing, and read books that others had recommended highly.
I signed up for fewer time-based challenges in 2009, but still completed four:
I participated in two other challenges, and failed .... awww!  I'm OK with it though, really, I am ;-)  My "failures" were:
  • Lost in Translation Challenge, a full-year challenge to read 6 books in translation.  I read 4. 
  • Support your Local Library Challenge, another full-year challenge where I committed to read 50 books from my local library.  This was twice the amount of 2008 library reads, so I knew achieving this was both ambitious and unlikely.  I'm satisified that I improved on 2008, reading 32 books (40%) from my local library.
So now it's time for my Top 5 list.  Choosing my Top 5 wasn't as difficult as I expected; only 7 books received the "coveted" 5-star rating.  So without further ado, the best of the best were:
  • Angle of Repose, by Wallace Stegner (review)
  • The Snow Geese, by William Fiennes (review)
  • Home, by Marilynne Robinson (review)
  • Sorry, by Gail Jones (review)
  • The Remains of the Day, by Kazuo Ishiguro (review)
And with that, another great reading year draws to a close.  It's been fabulous and fun, and there's no end in sight -- my 2010 reading plans are shaping up to be just as interesting, thanks to all the great literature out there, and thanks to all my reading friends who keep recommending wonderful books. 

P.S.  Beginning January 1, you can find me at my new blog home on Wordpress.  See you there!