About the 62 books I read in 2009

My friend Trisha wrote a fantastic blog post on the books she read in 2009. See for yourself: http://lookinginalltherightplaces.blogspot.com/2010/01/years-worth-of-reading-2009.html?spref=fb

So it gave me the idea to try and do something similar: here it is, with some different categories sometime.

Books read in 2009: 62. This is an average of 5.16/month, my highest number of books read in a year since 2001.
Among these 62, 16 were Audiobooks: I try to paint my rocks (www.rocksbyemmanuelle.com) every morning, and I discovered that I could listen to books at the same time! It took me a while to dare the plunge, as I first could not consider an Audiobook as a real book, shame on me again, but my library (http://www.elmhurstpubliclibrary.org/) has an amazing collection of audiobooks and MP3. I have never been disappointed: the readers are excellent, and I even listened to several books read by the author himself/herself.
I also listen to audiobooks when I do my ironing!

Books started and abandoned:  I don’t keep track of those usually, and actually there are very few – still under St Benedict’s injunction to read a book from A to Z, so when I start, I always have a hard time to stop, unless it’s a real bore, or totally against my deep principles, or I just don’t get it, or so very poorly written that I really think I’m losing my time, and as I would need at least 3 lives to read all I want to read, better stick to the best!
But I do remember I had to stop Neal Stephenson‘s Baroque Cycle, to my total shame, because I really wanted to discover the baroque style. It was a bit too confusing for me.
As for Joyce Carol Oates, I tried several books of hers, as she was invited by Elmhurst Public Library for the Elmhurst Read Program, but I just couldn’t go further than a few pages – I did read We Were the Mulvaneys in 2008.

Fiction/Non-Fiction ratio: 39/23
I’m surprised, I thought I had read many more Fiction books than Non-Fiction.

Male/Female authors ratio: 26/18

Books by the same author:20! wow! When I love a writer I keep going back to him/her

  • Ellis Peters: the last 7 books of the Brother Cadfael series – and I was so disappointed when I reached the last one and there was no more to come!
  • David Sedaris: 5. The funniest writer, even better if you are French/American. This year I read/listened to When You are Engulfed in Flames, Naked, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, Live at Carnegie Hall, Holidays on Ice
  • Archimandrite Vasileios: 5, that I had to review for a monastic spirituality periodical to which I regularly have to send reviews. These were 5 short books on spiritual matters related to monastic life written by a very famous Elder of Mount Athos
  • Sigrid Undset: 3, the 3 books constituting Kristin Lavransdatter

Re-Reads: 3, all books I had read in French only, a looooooooooooong time ago, and that I listened to this time in English:

  • Wuthering Heights, The Scarlet Letter, Moby Dick – as you see, I try to go back to the big classics I read in French a long time ago – these audiobooks were AWESOME

Oldest: I had to research to fill this one in!: Wuthering Heights (1847)

Newest: The Lacuna, by Barbara Kingsolver, probably my favorite female writer. Just published a few months ago (2009).

Best title: Born on a Blue Day, by Daniel Tammet. The subtitle tells you about the book: “Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Autistic Savant”. VERY interesting

In translation: 9

Set in other countries: 20

Set in the Middle-Ages: 13 – yes this is my favorite period

Favorite:  this is soooo difficult to choose!

                     – Finding George Orwell in Burma by Emma Larkin
                     – Life List: a woman’s quest for the world’s most amazing birds, by Olivia Gentile – that’s the biography of bird enthusiast Phoebe Snetsinger
                     – Shadow Divers: The True Adventure of Two Americans Who Risked Everything to Solve One of the Last Mysteries of World War II by Robert Kurson. About John Chatterton and Rich Kohler, two deep-sea wreck divers who in 1991 dove to a mysterious wreck lying at the perilous depth of 230 feet, off the coast of New Jersey, and found out it was a German U-boat. They spend years to identify what U-boat in was. The author will come in 2010 to Elmhurst, for the program Elmhurst reads

Shortest: Grendel, by John Gardner

Funniest: Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris

Best spiritual reading: B. Cooke, Royal Monastic: Princess Ileana of Romania

And finally:

  • books from my personal bookshelf: 1
  • books received for review: 9
  • books from Elmhurst Public Library: 52! Am I supporting enough my library?

I hope you enjoyed this post and I encourage you to do the same: it’s fun and you may find some surprises.
I started listing the books I read every year many years ago, but at some important transition in my life, I stupidly got rid of the list!!
I restarted listing my reads in March 2001, when I arrived in the US. Between March 2001-2009, I read: 433 books, which is an average of 48.1/year, but actually 4.08/month (as I started counting only starting in March 2001).