Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Year in Review

The Year of Reading in Review

Inspired by the movie Julie and Julia, and a couple of blogs that I had read--including 100 Memoirs ( and Read All Day ( – I decided that in 2010 I would read a book a week in four genres, Fiction, Non-Fiction, Spiritual, and Memoir and blog about them. It was an exercise in self-discipline at the beginning. I realized that I felt guilty when I spent time reading; I should be doing something more productive. If I had a purpose for my reading, I could read more, and if I had people who read my blog, then I would be productive. Well, I began reading, and by June, I noticed that I was reading automatically every day, that I loved every minute of it, and that people were beginning to read my blog. Now, I can’t quit; I have too many readers, and I am addicted.

Next year, I am planning to continue reading and blogging. I will migrate to a website in February; one that will be easier for friends to join, make suggestions about their favorite books, and comment on my blog entries. Right now I have a huge stack of books to read, many of them given to me by friends or book agents. I will be very busy reading in 2011.

Here are the guidelines that I have operated under and will continue to utilize:

• All books must have favorable reviews. I read BookMarks monthly, and New York Review of Books and The New Yorker weekly. I try to also read the New York Times Sunday book reviews and the review magazine from the library.

• I try to get as many books as possible from the library.

• I try to accommodate book agents and friends as best I can.

• At least one book a month must be one from the church library, or have been bought for the church library.

• The books must be challenging intellectually; in other words, no romances (which has never been a genre I liked anyway) or other fluffy-type books.

If I think up any other rules, I will post them.

So, here is my year in review. I read 21 fiction books and 12 each of non-fiction, spiritual, and memoir—57 books in all.

Books Read in 2010


1) Shantaram 1/8 Gregory David Roberts

2) American Salvage 1/23 Bonnie Jo Campbell

3) Snow Falling on Cedars 2/5 David Guterson

4) Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet 2/26 Jamie Ford

5) Shutter Island 3/26 Dennis LeHane

6) Tea Time for the Traditionally Built 4/15 Alexander McCall Smith

7) The Information Officer 5/1 Mark Mills

8) The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo 5/22 Stieg Larsson

9) The Girl who Played with Fire 5/22 Stieg Larsson

10) The Help 6/4 Kathryn Stockett

11) The Lincoln Lawyer 6/15 Michael Connelly

12) Portuguese Irregular Verbs 6/15 Alexander McCall Smith

13) The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest 6/26 Stieg Larsson

14) I See You Everywhere 7/25 Julia Glass

15) The Elegance of the Hedgehog 8/14 Muriel Barbery

16) The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott 9/15 Kelly O’Connor McNees

17) A Visit from the Goon Squad 9/21 Jennifer Egan

18) My Name is Mary Sutter 10/14 Robin Oliveira

19) Love and Summer 11/12 William Trevor

20) Case Histories 11/14 Kate Atkinson

21) Lord of Misrule 12/17 Jaimy Gordon


1) Things Seen and Unseen 1/15 Nora Gallagher

2) A Year of Living Biblically 2/12 A.J. Jacobs

3) If the Church were Christian 3/5 Philip Gulley

4) Holy Stuff of Life 3/30 Heather Murray Elkins

5) Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith 4/2 Anne Lamott

6) Peacework: Prayer, Resistance, Community 4/26 Henri Nouwen

7) The Cloister Walk 6/11 Kathleen Norris

8) Sacred Contracts: Awakening Your Divine Potential 7/16 Caroline Myss

9) Women, Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything 8/20 Geneen Roth

10) Gilead 9/3 Marilynne Robinson

11) Kitchen Table Wisdom: Stories that Heal 10/28 Rachel Naomi Remen

12) America’s Prophet: Moses and the American Story 12/5 Bruce Feiler


1) The Sisters of Sinal 1/22 Janet Soskice

2) The City of Falling Angels 2/15 John Berendt

3) Three Cups of Tea 2/22 Greg Mortenson

4) I Sold Andy Warhol (Too Soon) 3/12 Richard Polsky

5) Bright Sided 4/8 Barbara Ehrenreich

6) In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto 5/14 Michael Pollan

7) This Book is Overdue: How Librarians and Cybrarians can Save US All 7/1 Marilyn Johnson

8) The World in Six Songs: How the Musical Brain Created Human Nature 7/31 Daniel Levitin

9) Cradle of Gold: The Story of Hiram Bingham 8/26 Christopher Heaney

10) The Ninth: Beethoven and the World in 1824 10/1 Harvey Sachs

11) Red-Tails in Love: A Wildlife Drama in Central Park 10/21 Marie Winn

12) The Harvard Psychedelic Club 11/27 Don Lattin


1) The Complete Persepolis 1/29 Marjane Satrapi

2) An Unquiet Mind 2/22 Kay Redford Jamison

3) Hiding in the Spotlight 3/22 Greg Dawson

4) The Liar’s Club 4/22 Mary Karr

5) The Happiness Project 5/30 Gretchen Rubin

6) The Summer of the Great-Grandmother 7/7 Madeleine L’Engle

7) Mennonite in a Little Black Dress 7/29 Rhoda Janzen

8) Jesus Freak: Feeding, Healing, Raising the Dead 9/17 Sara Miles

9) Losing Mum and Pup 10/8 Christopher Buckley

10) Stitches: A Memoir 11/9 David Small

11) Finding Oz: How L Frank Baum Discovered the Great American Story 12/11 Evan I. Schwartz

12) The Diving Bell and the Butterfly 12/24 Jean-Dominique Bauby

The Best books of 2010


1) The Elegance of the Hedgehog, Muriel Barbery

2) A Visit from the Goon Squad, Jennifer Egan

3) Love and Summer, William Trevor

4) “The Girl” Trilogy, Stieg Larsson


1) America’s Prophet: Moses and the American Story, Bruce Feiler

2) Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith, Anne LaMott

3) If the Church were Christian, Philip Gulley


1 The Sisters of Sinai, Janet Soskice

2) Bright Sided, Barbara Ehrenreich

3) In Defense of Food, Michael Pollen


1) Mennonite in a Little Black Dress, Rhoda Janzen

2) Jesus Freak, Sarah Miles

3) Complete Persepolis (Santrape)/ Stitches (Small)

Three Books I didn’t particularly like

1) Sacred Contracts (The only book I didn’t finish), Caroline Myss

2) I Sold Andy Warhol (Too Soon), Richard Polsky

3) Shutter Island, Dennis LeHane

Top number of blog views
1) A Visit from the Goon Squad

2) Kitchen Table Wisdom: Stories That Heal

3) Jesus Freak: Feeding, Healing, Raising the Dead

4) This Book is Overdue! How Librarians and Cybrarians will Save Us All

5) Cradle of Gold: The Story of Hiram Bingham

6) The Harvard Psychedelic Club

7) Finding Oz: How L. Frank Baum Discovered the Great American Novel

8) The Ninth: Beethoven and the World in 1824

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