2010 Books in Review

It’s hard to believe that it’s January 1st already.  I honestly can’t quite figure out what happened to 2010.  What a year!  I ended my 5th/6th year in the classroom.  I started taking classes towards a Master’s in School Librarianship.  I spent 6 months on a home assignment in the US to begin preparing myself for my next role…the school librarian.  But this is about my reading…and how impressed I am with myself.  That sounds more than a little vain.  This is the first year that I made a reading goal for myself.  And while I didn’t reach my goal, I am proud of what I did read and how I expanded my horizons this year.

The goal: 78 books in one year.  52 young adult books + 26 adult books.

The result: 75 books in one year.  50 young adult books + 25 adult books.

So a few thoughts on the year of reading.  I’m borrowing the questions from Jennifer Rummel at YABookNerd.  The full list of my 2010 Books can be found here.

1. Best Book of 2010

  • There were so many!  Why do I have to pick one?!  How about one YA and one adult?
  • My YA pick: All the Broken Pieces by Ann E. Burg.  Loved everything about it: the major topics of adoption, the Vietnam War, baseball, and the narrative verse that it was written in.
  • My Adult pick: The Good Soldiers by David Finkel.  This non-fiction piece by an embedded journalist gave me a small glimpse of the Iraq that my brother-in-law saw during his 15-month deployment.

2. Worst Book of 2010

  • Can we change this to the “Guilty Pleasure of 2010?”  Okay, after reading all 4 Twilight books last year, it felt necessary to round out the mix with Book #5 – The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephanie Meyer.

3. Most Disappointing Book of 2010

  • I wanted more from Julie Powell’s second memoir Cleaving.  Lots of whining.  Lots of cursing.  And a general feeling of unhappiness and dissatisfaction with life made it the hardest book of the year to complete.

4. Most Surprising (in a good way!) Book of 2010

  • Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese.  I first made an attempt at this book mid-summer but it wasn’t until downloading the audiobook on my iPod that I really sunk into the expansive story.  I’ll definitely be adding this book to the Grade 12 World Literature classroom library.

5. Most Recommended-to-Others Book of 2010

  • I’m rather obsessed with Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay. They definitely made the rounds to not only my Grade 7 students but also high schoolers, as well as any adults I came into contact with.

6. Best Series You Discovered in 2010

  • Perhaps another guilty pleasure.  Along with half of America, I read Steig Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.  And I heard that he had 10 books mapped out for the series?!  I definitely know that I could not have read the 7 remaining books on my iPod as I did with the first three.  Perhaps a Kindle, Nook, or iPad would have been easier on my eyes.

7. Favorite New Authors Discovered in 2010

  • John Green.  So witty.  And fantastic writing.
  • Gordon Korman.  My Grade 7’s just find him hilarious.
  • Jennifer Brown.  She tugged at the heartstrings.  Looking forward to reading her second book The Bitter End due out in May.

8. Most Hilarious Book of 2010

  • Hands down, Kucklehead by Jon Scieskza.  Laugh-out-loud funny.  Laughing so hard that I was crying.

9. Most Thrilling, Unputdownable Book of 2010

  • This Gorgeous Game by Donna Freitas.  I shared the sentiments of a reviewer on Amazon who said that she didn’t want to leave the main character alone.  I stayed up far past when I usually go to bed so that I could protect her in some way.

10. Most Anticipated Book of 2010

  • Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins.  I was camping.  At midnight, I went down to picnic tables outside of the snack shack where I could pick up on a wi-fi signal and downloaded my pre-ordered copy of Mockingjay on to my iPod.  Yeah, I was that girl.

11. Favorite Cover of a Book You Read in 2010

  • It’s a tie between Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson and Anything but Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin.  I really loved reading Laurie Halse Anderson’s blog and seeing some of the paperback covers for Wintergirls outside of the USA.  What a difference marketing plays in book covers!

12. Most Memorable Character in 2010

  • I still find myself thinking about Melinda in Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson.  She has followed me for many of the almost 7 years since I first read her story.

13. Most Beautifully Written Book of 2010

  • I’m changing this to Most Uniquely Written Book of 2010.  And that goes to Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn.  It takes some talent to write without many of the letters of the alphabet.  Some serious word choice in that book.
  • Oh, and another one for this category: Pyongyang by Guy Delisle.  A stark and moving graphic novel about a foreigner in North Korea.

14. Book That Had the Greatest Impact on You in 2010

  • Silence by Shusaku Endo.  I’m not teaching it this semester but it keeps popping up in conversations with former students, on Donald Miller’s blog, and other random places.  I still think about Rodrigues and Kichijiro often.

15. Book You Can’t Believe You Waited Until 2010 To Read

  • I’ve said for years that I wanted to read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver but it never happened.  This was the year.

16. New Favorite Book Blog You Discovered in 2010

17. Favorite Review that You Wrote in 2010

  • I didn’t write it…but I did record it.  My first-ever podcast was a review of John Green’s An Abundance of Katherines.

18. Most Thought-Provoking Review or Discussion on Another Blog in 2010

  • Repetitive, I’m sure, but the #speakloudly conversation, discussion, and subsequent campaign against banned books was inspiring and a challenge to many of us.

19. Best Event You Participated in During 2010

  • I participated occasionally in #bookaday but not formally.

20. Best Moment of Book Blogging in 2010

  • I have not yet done a lot of book blogging…something I hope to change with the new year.  I’d like to keep better track of what I read and my reactions to what I read.  I think I’ll be doing that on GoodReads.

21. Best Bookish Discovery of 2010

  • A wonderful Twitter community that has been so helpful with their book recommendations.  They have kept my TBR continually growing.  I am so thankful for their influence in this past year despite having never met most of them.  Specifically check out the hashtags #bookaday, #yalitchat, #titletalk, and #speakloudly.
  • And even though I failed miserably (let’s not even talk about how miserably), I was enthralled by NaNoWriMo and would like to make another attempt next November…and will have a plot outline set before November 1.

I’m proud of myself for what I did accomplish this year.  I don’t know what my goal will be for this next year…100 books, perhaps?  I’m going to give myself a little bit of time to think about it.


About msbecs

An incomplete but alphabetical list: Believer. Daughter. Friend. Learner. Librarian. Sister. TCK. Teacher. YA Literature Devotee.

Posted on 01.02.2011, in Goals, Reading. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Wow, thanks for the shout-out! I was frantically scribbling titles I need to check out when I came across my name!
    I can’t wait to read Pyongyang; living in Korea this is on my mind all the time!
    Happy 2011!

    • I’m glad that you saw your name! I’ve appreciated your book blog so much this past year. I think we’ve had some similar student populations. It makes it hard to find quality books that will be well-accepted but you’ve made that a little easier with your reviews. Have a blessed 2011!

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