Thursday, 23 December 2010

2010 revisited

At the end of 2009, I did a great meme to look at the books which I'd read during the year. I was quite excited to reread this meme, and particularly the comment from Paperback Reader Claire where she said it was unlikely that I would ever surpass the numbers of books read/acquired in 2009 (701/400+). I'm happy to report that I have very much exceeded the numbers of books read then (currently at 810ish), partly, this was a result of continuing illness, and partly this was due to medication frying my brain so that I spent a LOT of time reading children's books, particularly the Babysitters Club series (however, even if you discount the nearly 100 BSC books that I read this year, I still beat the 701 books I read in 2009!). I would probably have read far more this year, had it not been for taking up cross stitch and other crafty things, which I think have proved to be a fun extra element to my blog this year. Embarassingly, despite cutting down on book expenditure I have also acquired far more books than I did in 2009 - 504 if my librarything account is correct. I have more bookshelves than I did in 2009, but I HAVE dispensed with some books. I have also worked out that 1500 books is really all that my flat can hold, which means that at 1550+ books I am far over the limit until we acquire a house, so in the New Year I need to either clear out some more books or put some into storage.

Anyway, back to end of year memes, and this year I'm doing a slightly different one, gleaned from Stacy at Stories and Stitches.

1. Best Book of 2010: It's difficult to say as I have read some extremely good books this year, but I think I will single out The pastor's wife by Elizabeth von Arnim because it was a fantastic book that introducted me to a wonderful author. And with perhaps a special mention for Still missing by Beth Gutcheon, and Bake and decorate by Fiona Cairns. I also loved so much to tell

2. Worst Book of 2010: I struggled through several of the VMCs for my Virago Venture, the most recent one was Keynotes and Dischords by George Egerton.

3. Most Disappointing Book of 2010: It's difficult to say, some of the VMCs that I have read this year have been disappointing, perhaps because I anticipate hopefully that every VMC that I read will be wonderful, but I (and K) were a bit disappointed by The secret life of Bletchley Park which could have been so much more.

4. Most Surprising (in a good way) Book of 2010: The hopkins manuscript by R.C. Sherriff - this was the last Persephone book that I had left to read, but had delayed it, because although I'd greatly enjoyed Sherriff's Fortnight in September, I was dubious about it because it was science fiction. In the end, it gripped me completely. I read it as part of Persephone Reading Week, and am very much looking forward to the Persephone weekend that Claire and I have planned for the end of February.

5. Book Recommended Most in 2010: Probably Hearts and Minds by Amanda Craig, Orange longlisted. Was very disappointed that this didn't make it onto the shortlist - I loved it and recommended it to everyone! The other Orange longlisted book that I recommended widely was a birthday present from Paperback Reader Claire, The still point.

6. Best Series You Discovered in 2010: I rediscovered the Babysitters Club series and had fun reading my way through lots of those; I also discovered the Little Black Dress imprint and found those great guilty pleasures.

7. Favorite New Authors in 2010: Authors new to me this year included Wilkie Collins (see below also!), and Elizabeth Von Arnim - both highly recommended!

8. Most Hilarious Read in 2010: Sophie Kinsella's Mini shopaholic had me giggling for an entire evening shortly after recovering from the worst cold I've ever had.

9. Most Thrilling, Unputdownable Book of 2010: The dead secret which was my first Wilkie Collins or perhaps Still missing .

10. Book Most Anticipated in 2010:I didn't read too many new books but at the time of writing (I'm filling this out 10 days ahead of posting...) I'm anxiously awaiting my copy of Wait for me: the memoirs of the Duchess of Devonshire, which sounded so good when I read about it on Darlene's blog.

11. Favorite Cover of a Book in 2010: Probably one of the beautiful original green Elizabeth Taylor novel covers, The blush, was particularly lovely.

12. Most Memorable Character in 2010: Not hugely sure about this one - perhaps the real life Kaye Webb in her biography by Valerie Grove, So much to tell.

13. Most Beautifully Written Book in 2010: I loved Jane Brocket's The gentle art of domesticity with its blend of pictures and writing about all things crafty and domestic.

14. Book That Had the Greatest Impact on You in 2010: Teach us to sit still - I wrote about it here so won't repeat myself again, but it really made me think about whether the way I pack my days with so many things that I sometimes forget to breathe has an impact on my wellbeing.

15. Book You Can't Believe You Waited until 2010 to Read: All of the Wilkie Collins books I read this year - can't believe it took me 26 years to discover him!

Obviously a year of Wilkie Collins! All in all, I've really enjoyed reading and blogging this year, and big thanks to all of you who visit my blog and inspire me to keep reading and blogging with your comments, suggestions and your own blog posts.


  1. A good way to sum up your reading. And there was me proud that I had nearly read 80 books by the end of the year.

  2. The nice thing about reading so many books is not having to feel guilty about acquiring so many! :) Now you need a house with an extra room solely for lots of bookcases and a cushy chair! I love Wilkie Collins--he is one of my favorite authors and I try and read at least one of his books every year. At the moment I'm working on No Name. I've got Hearts and Minds on my pile and am adding Still Point as I keep hearing how good it is, too. I wish I could say my stitching got in the way of my reading, but the reverse seems to be true this year. Have a very Happy Holiday and Best Wishes for 2011!

  3. Elizabeth von Arnim was a great discovery for me as well. I need to read more of her stuff, including The Pastor's Wife.

  4. It's a pleasure to read your blog - Merry Christmas! If 2010 was the year of Wilkie Collins what author will captivate you in 2011?

  5. I feel like I've been reading your blog for most of 2010 so how did I miss The Pastor's Wife? Elizabeth von Arnim is one of my favourite authors. There's a book for 2011.
    Happy Christmas to you and Ken.

  6. I, too, discovered Wilkie Collins this year and have enjoyed him very much. I'm going to have to get a hold of The Pastor's Wife (since that's one of my "real-life" roles) just for fun -- hopefully, she isn't a villain! :)
    Loved reading your list. Thank you so much for sharing it with us.

  7. I am now kicking myself for donating my copy of The Pastor's Wife to the library. My sister loved The Babysitter's Club series...those books were always all over the house when we growing up. I have yet to read Collins but I hope to in 2011. Happy reading in the new year:)

  8. It is unlikely you will ever surpass the number of books read/acquired in 2010 ;) Quite the feat- well done!!

    Still Missing was such a highlight for me as was The Still Point (something to do with the word "still"). I am annoyed with myself that I haven't read Hearts and Minds yet and must do soon; I also fully intend to read more Elizabeth Von Arnim.

  9. Jo - I speed read I'm afraid - don't be disheartened!

    Danielle - now that it is holiday time and I have time to read, the stitching isn't happening here! I definitely need a house with a library now.

    Nymeth - EvA has a number of books so you've got plenty to discover - I do recommend the Pastor's Wife!

    Anbolyn - I wait and see! Will be interesting to see who I discover.

    Joan - I Would have written about it on my other Virago blog I think.

    Stacy - oooohhh noo - go and buy it back!!

    Susan - what fun to read another take on your role! I doubt you ran away to get married though - perhaps you did?!

    Claire - please don't make remarks like that...I really need to implement a one book out rule for each book that comes in.... I wonder if there are other good books with Still in the title?


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