2010 books: the best of the best, the worst of the worst

Now that I’ve gone through all the books I read in 2010, it’s time for a roundup of those I enjoyed the most and those I enjoyed the least. At the end of the post I’ll have some stats on how many books I read total and how I did on meeting my goals for the year. But first, in no particular order, my top five new reads. For those of you that saw my list on Bark, I’m aware that this probably doesn’t match. Different day, different state of mind, different thoughts.

5 Favorite Books of 2010

1. Towers of Midnight, by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson
2. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins (though to be honest I have a very difficult time picking a favorite in this trilogy; I sort of picked this, the first book, by default)
3. The Virgin Suicides, by Jeffrey Eugenides
4. The Namesake, by Jhumpa Lahiri
5. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie

4 Most Disappointing Books of 2010

1. Dragonspell, by Donita K. Paul
2. Travels in the Scriptorium, by Paul Auster
3. Wittgenstein’s Mistress, by David Markson
4. Girl Trouble, by Holly Goddard Jones

Favorite Books by Genre

Literary fiction: The Virgin Suicides, by Jeffrey Euginedes
Adult fantasy: Towers of Midnight, by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson
Story collection: Love in Infant Monkeys, by Lydia Millet
Young adult fantasy: The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
Nonfiction: Half the Sky, by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
Shorts collection: Wolf Parts, by Matt Bell (the only collection of shorts I read, but I’m including this because it was phenomenal)

Rediscovery of Note

The Awakening, by Kate Chopin

I fell quite a bit short of my goals for 2010, mostly due to a slow fall (and a horrible March, during which I read ONE book). I set myself the goal of one book per week, so 52 for the year. I ended with 43. I guess it isn’t so bad when you consider all the thesis writing, my trip to Europe, job hunt, then adaptation to being a 40-hour-per-week working professional (hint: I found it much easier to be a 40-plus-hour student than I’m finding it to be a 40-hour worker). Below are the official stats for my 2010 reading.

Total books: 43
Total pages: 19931
Average days it took me to read a book: 8.5
Average pages per book: 463.5
Books read percent to goal: 82.7
Pages read percent to goal: 99.7 (yup, that’s right, I missed my goal by 69 pages)

I have set myself the same goals for 2011: 52 books and 20,000 pages, though I’m starting to think that those two numbers might not go so well together. If I read a lot of big fantasy novels I’ll be fine, but if I branch out more in my reading, as I intend to do, I won’t be so fine. Still, it’s something to shoot for. Who knows, maybe this year I’ll actually beat my reading goal, which I haven’t done since 2006 (when I, ahem, read 51 books with a goal of 50). Still, I’m on track. We’re three weeks into the year and I’m through 5 books already. Plus, I’m hoping to finish another two or three this weekend. Yeah, I’m a nerd. I love it.

Currently reading: The Gremlins of Grammar, by Toni Boyle and K.D. Sullivan; Cleopatra: A Life, by Stacy Schiff; and Jesus’ Son, by Denis Johnson. Next up: A Thousand Sisters, by Lisa Shannon

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