Last January on this blog I started a “Currently Reading” page (it’s now under the “About Me” tab). And it’s turned out to be an enlightening thing.
Before that, I’d never made a list of all the books I’d read in a year, so I didn’t realize I read fewer books than I’d supposed. (!) And I had the perception I read as much literary as romance, but clearly I’m heavy on the romance. (At least I was this year.) It’s also strange to think I read Outlander this year when it seems like such a long time ago, or to remember that I read The Namesake this year and not last.
Do you keep a list of all the books you’ve read each year? If not on a blog, then in a journal book or notepad? I highly recommend it — you might find a few surprises of your own.
(So go get a piece of paper — Start your list for 2010, and then this time next year we’ll talk about how cool it is, okay?)
In the meantime, what’s the best book you read this year?
As I scan my list of everything I read in 2009, I realize I have a hard time selecting one favorite. I’ll have to narrow it down to maybe three. …
Here are all the books I read in 2009 (in order):
- To Kill a Mockingbird — Harper Lee. Looooved it. Absolutely. I’ve never met anyone who didn’t love this book. Atticus Finch is an amazing character, and hearing the story told from the perspective of his little girl, Scout, is a treat. This book is all about integrity — and how much courage it takes to have it.
- Holly — Jude Deveraux. Okay, I finally finished this one. I’m usually a Jude Deveraux fan, but this one was just so-so.
- I Was Told There’d Be Cake — Sloane Crosley. These were really funny essays about being a young single woman in NYC. It got a lot of criticism about her seemingly-conjured-up complaints (about a life that, truly, isn’t much to complain about. She’s very young, and seems to have led a rather priveleged life in NYC.). But I still enjoyed it. Writing humor is hard, but Crosley makes it look easy. And I laughed out loud several times — I would definitely re-read these essays for a quick pick-me-up, so this book will probably reside on my nightstand.
- Things That Make Us [Sic] — Martha Brockenbrough. Funny book on grammar. I recommend if you’re a grammar nerd like me.
- The Namesake — Jhumpa Lahiri. Beautiful, beautiful language — I love Lahiri’s lyrical style. But I never liked the protagonist — I found myself feeling rather irritated with him — so the plot started to feel a little long to me. I will definitely read more Lahiri, though. I’ll follow a great writer to the ends of the earth. …
- Glitter Baby — Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Early work of SEP. Not my fave, but it was fun to see her writing in the “early days.” Missing the quirky humor that came to mark her later work, so she may not have been as comfortable with it here.
- Outlander — Diana Gabaldon. Whew! What a great book. This a Romancelandia classic — always somewhere in the Top 10 of the “Top 100 Romances” list — and now I see why. It’s a historical time-travel, set in the early 1700s in Scotland, and Gabaldon shares a lot of fun historical elements about that time period. The characters are so well drawn — we really “get” Clare, and we truly fall in love with Jamie, with his Scottish Highlander brutality that softens when it comes to loving Clare. It’s verra sexy. … I look forward to reading the next in the series, and Gabaldon has the sixth (or is it 7th?) coming out this fall 2009.
- What I Did for Love — Susan Elizabeth Phillips. This is her latest release, following the re-release of “Glitter Baby” (and with an appearance by some of “Glitter Baby”s characters). I wasn’t quite as fond of this one (felt the same way about “Glitter Baby,” actually). It’s a theme she’s done in the past — Hollywood, actors, child actors, paparazzi, etc. — and it might be lovely to some, but just isn’t a theme I’m interested in. I had a hard time liking this particular hero and caring much about the heroine. But I love SEP’s writing style, so I had fun reading it anyway.
- Hell-Heaven — Jhumpa Lahiri. A short story from DailyLit (you can download for free here. DailyLit has other writers you can purchase, but they offered Pulitzer-Prize winner Lahiri for free, which I snapped up, being a new fan of hers and all.) As usual, Lahiri told this tale beautifully — I love her way with words.
- Blogging for Dummies (2nd Edition) — Susannah Gardner, Shane Birley. OUTSTANDING book to help you if you’re just getting started blogging. It’s basic enough to be easy to follow but with loads and loads of excellent “hot tips” and so many examples of good blogs that I’ll be researching them all year! For those of you just getting going, you must read this book!
- Much Ado About You /Kiss Me, Annabel/ The Taming of the Duke — Eloisa James. I read these stories in rapid succession. They’re a series about the Essex sisters: Tess, Annabel and Imogen. I couldn’t find the fourth book, which is about the fourth sister Josie, so haven’t read that one yet. These books sort of reminded me of “Little Women” … only a bit sexier. 🙂 I enjoyed Eloisa James’ style immensely. Here’s an interesting article about her here in USA Today. I really like her website, too, which is here.
- Enchanting Pleasures — Eloisa James. Started this one when I couldn’t find Josie’s story above, and … I think I liked it even better! This story about “Gabby” and Quill was really cute, and is also part of a series — but it’s an older series, so the other two books are part of a rerelease. Of course, now I’ll have to go track those other two down!
- Midsummer Moon — Laura Kinsdale. Love Laura Kinsdale!!! This woman writes lovely sentences! I also love her tortured heroes. This book, however (Merlin and Ransom Falconer), wasn’t my favorite. Ransom wasn’t a sufficiently tortured hero, and I couldn’t get into Merlin at all. But I still love LK and am looking forward to the next one. I plan to work my way through her entire backlist.
- Santa, Honey — Kate Angell, Sandra Hill, Joy Nash. I’m a big sucker for Christmas anthologies. I like the novella format: They’re super fast to read, so I can cover a lot of stories and a lot of authors in a short period. Plus I love Christmas stories to get me in a Christmas mood. Plus I wanted to read another contemporary (after a few historicals in a row) and I needed something fast and light while I worked on editing my own manuscript. … These fit the bill.
As for my favorites? I’d have to say, in order:
1. To Kill a Mockingbird (Heartstrings. All tugged. I just loved Atticus, and I loved Scout’s perspective telling this story.)
2. Hell-Heaven (I think the full book of Lahiri’s stories will be the first thing I buy with my Christmas gift card. Her writing is so lyrical. Hard to find writers with such a constant rhythm to their words. …)
3. Outlander (Every romance reader loves Outlander! Now I see why. …)
What about you? I can’t wait to hear your favorites!