Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2010 Retrospective

I found this last year on Savidge Reads and it quickly became my favorite end-of-the-year meme. It also inspired me to track my 2010 reading, which you can find here, along with links to all my reviews.

How many books read in 2010?

54 total.

How many works of fiction and non-fiction?

All fiction (plays and novels) except for Zora Neale Hurston's autobiography Dust Tracks on a Road.

Male/Female author ratio?

Uh, only 16, plus one anthology (Beirut39) that was mixed. CRAP. And reading more female authors was one of last year's resolutions! Oh well, I only read 14 in 2009 so I guess that's sort of an improvement.

Favorite books of 2010?

Here. And women are well-represented! 5 out of 12 isn't too shabby.

Least favorite?

Oh gawd, GLENN BECK, with L.A. Candy coming in second, although they were also read for a Horrible Dare Challenge. For books I actually had expectations for: Quim Monzó's Gasoline (what was the point? am I missing something?) Octavia Butler's Fledgling (lame prose, vampire pedophilia), and Rouse Up O Young Men of the New Age! by Nobel Laureate Kenzaburo Ōe (just plain didn't like it). Compared to the rest, Tender Morsels wasn't that bad (had some great passages) but . . . let's not go through that again.

Any that you simply couldn't finish and why?

Andreas Maier's Klausen. Nothing but dry recitation going on and on and on and on. . . Ended up giving it away to Sandra of Fresh Ink Books.

Oldest book read?

Dante's Purgatorio and Paradiso. 14th century! I am quite confident the memory of Glenn Beck will not last seven hundred years.


The English translation of Mathias Énard's Zone was released December 14, 2010 but the French original was published in 2008. Newest book period goes to Karen Tei Yamashita's I Hotel, which came out in May 2010.

Longest and shortest book titles?

Ntozake Shange's For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf. Several one-worders tie for shortest: Purgatorio, Paradiso, Zone, Antwerp, Fledgling, Gasoline, Shiver. Narrowing that down by letters: Zone.

Longest and shortest books?

If you count Lord of the Rings as one big novel (as I believe Tolkien intended it to be), then that's 1,031 pages. I Hotel was 592 but that's also multiple novellas. For longest unified novel, Jesse Kellerman's The Genius clocks in at 548 pages.

For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf was the shortest book at only 64 pages. (It's a play, or "choreopoem" as she calls it.) Short Title winner Zone was also fourth longest at 517 pages.

How many from the library?

15 as opposed to only about 4 last year. Of course, I actually work in a library now!

Any translated books?

Only 25 books read in English. 6 of those were British, 1 was Australian, and 1 was Kenyan.

Most-read author this year, and how many books by that author?

If you count Lord of the Rings as 3 separate novels, then Tolkien wins. If not, then Dante, Naguib Mahfouz, Roberto Bolaño, Tennessee Williams, and Virginia Woolf all tie with 2 each.

Any re-reads?

No. There's just too much new stuff out there I haven't read yet.

Favorite character of the year?

I can't say I have any, probably because I tend to bond with books as a whole instead of particular individuals. I had to think pretty hard to come up with that list of Top 10 Characters I'd Like to be Best Friends With.

What countries did you end up visiting?

So many! My authors hailed from Italy, Egypt, Argentina, Japan, Iceland, Colombia, Germany, France, Finland, Chile, Spain, Poland, Kenya, Lithuania, South Africa, Great Britain, Saudi Arabia, and the Czech Republic. The Beirut39 anthology featured Arab writers from all over Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East.

What books wouldn't you have read without someone's specific recommendation?

I'm guessing anything read solely for a Horrible Dare Challenge doesn't count, although Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver wasn't all that bad as far as YA paranormal romance goes. There was also Tender Morsels but we all know how that one turned out.

What authors were new to you in 2010 and you now want to read more works of?

Michal Ajvaz, definitely. Monika Fagerholm has a sequel to The American Girl called The Glitter Scene, I believe. Naguib Mahfouz is a given, since I'm participating in a Cairo Trilogy read-along.

What books are you annoyed you didn't read?

I am very annoyed that Barnes & Noble did not carry a single book on my Christmas list which means I will not be reading any of them anytime soon. SERIOUSLY? But I did get Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (reading now) so that wasn't a total bust.

Did you read any books you have always been meaning to read?

I finally got Laurel K. Hamilton's Guilty Pleasures read. It's the first book of the Anita Blake series and I'm waiting to read more before I do any reviewing. I also finished Purgatorio and read Paradiso thanks to another read-along hosted by Richard.

Photo by James Merrell.


Emily said...

I really like this meme. Considered doing it again myself but then opted for pie charts. It's cool that your reading this year has been spread out through such a wide range of countries! And maybe the fact that the Wolves list for this year is more gender-balanced will help with your 2011 numbers overall.

But seriously, I did not think your Xmas list was that obscure - B&N didn't have ANY of them? Tsk, tsk.

E. L. Fay said...

They're not big on translated fiction, that's for sure. They don't even carry Open Letter Press! I figured they'd at least have a Bolaño I haven't read but it looks like I was expecting too much.

I was especially surprised they didn't have 30 Days of Night. That's a really popular American graphic novel made into a movie.

Am very glad the Wolves have more women this year! Margo Lanagan did not represent.

Short Story Slore said...

Glenn Beck and L.A. Candy for a Horrible Dare Challenge is priceless! I visted a friend and stayed in the roommate's room while she was away and her bookshelf contained Glenn Beck and Nicholas Sparks. My boyfriend said it was the worst book collection he's ever seen.

E. L. Fay said...

Oh no! She didn't have Twilight too, did she?

Anonymous said...

great meme I ve a terrible memorey thou I know I read 127 books this year that is about it oh and from 61 countries ,all the best for the coming year stu

Amy said...

Great wrap-up. I'm loving reading everyone's answers in this meme. Aren't bookstores the WORST?! Mine doesn't carry anything good either. *sulks*

Anonymous said...

I really liked reading your wrap-up, is it weird that I laughed a couple of times?


"I am very annoyed that Barnes & Noble did not carry a single book on my Christmas list which means I will not be reading any of them anytime soon."

I went through that over here, my parents and sister called a day before Christmas because the bookshop told them I was "too difficult".

E. L. Fay said...

Happy New Year, everyone!

Winstonsdad: I had that problem last year too. I remedied it by using Google Documents to create a spreadsheet.

Amy: It's the big chain bookstores. Independent ones are great!

Iris: A bookstore said that? Sadly, that doesn't surprise me. My brother said they looked at him funny when he went to B&N with my list.

Amy said...

Unfortunately in my small town... my indie is even worse than the chain store! Isn't that crazy??

E. L. Fay said...

You still HAVE an indie?! Ours closed after B&N opened in our area (the same one that didn't have my books!).

Amy said...

Oh that is sad. Yes we have an indie - they have a store in Charlottetown and one in Halifax. We also have the big Indigo chain store. The indie just moved to a bigger location but after the move they now carry just bleh popular stuff where they used to have more random and interesting stuff. They do have more local at least though...

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