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What I read in 2009

I decided to keep track of the books I read this year, just to see if I read as much as I think I do. I did not count books that I read aloud to the kids, though I did count picture books that I read to myself for research. I also didn't count any book I started but didn't finish, or merely skimmed.

Favorites

Top recommended reads:

  • The Obesity Myth by Paul Campos--everyone in America should read this book about how weight and health have very little to do with each other.

  • World War Z: an oral history of the zombie wars by Max Brooks--I'm not that into zombies, yet this was absolutely fascinating

  • Simply Love by Mary Balogh--complex and compelling characters, realistic without being gritty

  • Free-Range Kids by Lenore Skenazy--a peek at the insanity of the current parenting climate


Best Series:

  • The Sharing Knife by Lois McMaster Bujold

  • Fables by Bill Willingham


Best Author Discovered:
  • Mary Balogh

  • Bill Willingham

I'm also very excited about Jessa Slade's next book. She's a debut author this year though, so I wasn't able to go on a Jessa Slade binge, which is the true test of a great new discovery.

Totals

Graphic Novels: 6
Traditional Novels: 33
Picture books: 7
Adult Non-fiction: 4

50 books read all together

Lightest month: 1(February)
Heaviest month: 6 (April and July)

Details

I've broken these down by month more to keep a record for myself than anything. Included are title, author, and my two second impression of the book. I might do a rating system of some kind next year.

December

Fables .05 The Mean Season
Bill Willingham
Comic book collection. Quick read about fairy tale characters living in NYC. Fairly dark.

Fables .04 The March of the Wooden Soldiers
Bill Willingham
Comic book collection. Quick read about fairy tale characters living in NYC. Fairly dark.

November

Free-Range Kids
Lenore Skenazy
Non-fiction book about the hyper-vigilant mode of parenting common in the US today, and how it isn't actually good for kids or parents. Interesting, but I don't think I'm really the target audience.

Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm
David Wenzel and Douglas Wheeler
Graphic novel retelling of a few fairy tales. As quick to read as a picture book. Didn't really add anything new to the cannon, though did cover a fairy tale (the three sluggards) that I hadn't encountered before.

Daughter of the Forest
Juliet Marillier
Re-telling of the swan princes. Pretty slow at times and definitely had the feel of deus ex machina occasionally

Between Barack and a Hard Place
Tim Wise
Non-fiction book about racism and white-denial in modern America. Good, but short and a little simplistic. Talked mostly about the reality of racism without discussing the causes, which made the solutions offered unsatisfying.

October

Seduced By Shadows
Jessa Slade
Contemporary Paranormal Romance. Main characters are humans possessed by demons. Edgy and dark but I enjoyed it. The author is a member of RCRW, and it was weird to recognize her voice.

Reptile Keeper's Guide: Garter and Ribbon Snakes
RD Bartlett and Patricia Bartlett
Short but detailed guide to keeping a garter snake as a pet.

Horizon
Lois McMaster Bujold
Fourth book in Sharing Knife series. Pretty purely fantasy, rather than a romance, did a good job tying up the series

Loving a Lost Lord
Mary Jo Putney
New historical romance. Pretty good. Romance was little too pat.

September

Fortune and Fate
Sharon Shinn
Fantasy romance, though the romance part is a little weak, again lacked the hero's POV. A novel of the Twelve Houses

A Summer to Remember
Mary Balogh
Another solid historical by Balogh

Dragon Heat
Allyson James
Contemporary Paranormal Romance. Very good, very hot. Dragons as protagonists.

The Secret Diary of Miss Miranda Chever
Julia Quinn
Nice Historic Romance. Better than her most recent books.

August

The Fire Opal
Catherine Asaro
Romantic fantasy:nothing from the hero's POV, makes it hard to be memorable

Fables .03 Storybook Love
Bill Willingham
Comic book collection. Quick read that leaves me begging for more.

Passage
Lois McMaster Bujold
Third book in Sharing Knife series. Pretty purely fantasy, rather than a romance.

White Star
Elizabeth Vaughan
Fantasy romance: not high art but just my style

Tempted Tigress
Jade Lee
Historical romance set in China, fairly erotic.

July

Simply Love
Mary Balogh
Another solid historical romance, a very gripping character driven story.

The Healer
Sharon Sala
Paranormal Romance: totally over powered and melodramatic

Mine Till Midnight
Lisa Kleypas
Historical romance with a ghost. Interesting Gypsy hero. Feels like beginning of series but her next book is a contemporary???

Reader and Raelynx
Sharon Shinn
Conclusion for her Twelve Houses quartet. Good but not as good as Dark Moon Defender (but what is really?)

Simply Magic
Mary Balogh
Very good historic romance

Tumbling Through Time
Gwyn Cready
Light chick-lit type time travel novel. Not terrible plausible and a lame ending.

June

The Obesity Myth
Paul Campos
Non-fiction book about how obesity is more of a cultural obsession than a health concern

Sunshine
Robin McKinley
Urban fantasy: realistic vampires for once

A Duke to Die For
Amelia Grey
Pretty flat regency romance-no real conflict

The Sandalwood Princess
Loretta Chase
Good story, with refreshingly long time line—over a year passes, most of it with the protagonists together.

Drums
Pamela Harris
Short kids book on drums—pretty limited

May

World War Z: an oral history of the zombie wars
Max Brooks
A story told in vignettes. Interesting and engaging which is surprising given its lack of character development.

Night Dance
Suzanne Weyn
YA retelling of “Twelve Dancing Princess” Pretty light.

Capybaras
Alexandria Manera
In the same series as Okapis

Fables. 02, Animal Farm
Bill Willingham
Next installment of the graphic novel series. The series is pretty dark, but also pure crack.

April

Eloisa James
Fun new author, nice sex scenes, great characters, had a very odd disconnected subplot—perhaps related to a different book? Later note: I tried reading another book by her and couldn't get past the first three chapters

Satisfaction Guaranteed
Lucy Monroe
Contemporary romance with a little bit of a thriller/action subplot and a whole lot of sex.

Wild Orchid
Cameron Dokey
Retelling of “the Ballad of Mulan” part of a YA series. Cute but not particularly moving.

The Time Traveler's Wife
Audrey Niffenegger
On the literary side, though also a story of love. Interesting premise well executed.

Fables. 01, Legends in exile
Bill Willingham
Graphic novels about various story book people exiled in NYC—fun and amazingly quick to read.

Okapis
Christy Steele
Kids book about Okapis—nicely informative

March

Bet Me
Jennifer Crusie
Romantic Comedy—very fun

Rainforest Food Chains
Bobbie Kalman
Children's book on Asia rain-forests. Pretty basic information

Beguilement
Lois McMaster Bujold
Fantasy Romance—seriously 99% romance story line, but the first in a series--uggh

Legend
Lois McMaster Bujold
Fantasy Romance—the second in the series with slightly more fantasy type concerns

Hush:an Irish princess' tale
Donna Jo Napoli
Historic Fiction—detailed world building that felt very realistic/vivid

February

Getting Rid Of Bradley
Jennifer Crusie
Romantic comedy with some mystery

January

Knave's Wager
Loretta Chase
Very good, almost a tear jerker, understand what “classic Loretta Chase” means

The People of Sparks
Jeanne DuPrau
Pretty good, too tame for post-Apocalypse, not as good as City of Ember

Ancient Civilizations: Maya
Tami Deedrick
Children's book on Mayan culture. A little too light.

A Walk Though a Rain Forest
David Jenike and Mark Jenike
Children's book on the Ituri Forest (African rain-forest) Interesting, heavy on human inhabitants.

The Unthinkable
Amanda Ripley
Non-fiction book about disasters and how people really act and why

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
pants_of_doom
Jan. 3rd, 2010 01:54 am (UTC)
I'm glad you liked Fables!
janellelohr
Jan. 3rd, 2010 04:03 am (UTC)
Fables is the best! I've never really read graphic novels before, but I've really enjoyed this series, and it has tempted me to branch out more.
pants_of_doom
Jan. 3rd, 2010 03:15 pm (UTC)
If you want talk to me a little bit about what you're looking for, I can make recommendations.
janellelohr
Jan. 7th, 2010 04:56 am (UTC)
Recommendations would be awesome but where to start with what I'm interested in?

I think standard comic books are too short for me to find satisfying (just like I'm not a fan of short stories) so I'd want something that has been gathered together in collections, or is longer to begin with. (I also use our awesome public library for most of my bibliophile needs, and they are more likely to own collections)

The fairy tale aspect of Fables is totally awesome, and was the reason I checked it out to begin with. I *love* twists on fairy tales, but I don't think it's a necessary element for my enjoyment. I also read Elfquest an age and a half ago, and really liked it, so fantasy elements are a definite plus.

I like the relationship between Snow and Bigly, and would probably prefer something with a romantic plot thread, though it doesn't need to be the central story.

Fables is probably about my limit on the sex and violence scale, just because they are already a little dicey to read in front of Raine, and I'd rather not worry about leaving it where curious eyes can find it.

I'm trying to think what else to say. I could probably rant for a while like a wild fan girl about Fables, but I'm not sure how productive that is ;)
pants_of_doom
Jan. 8th, 2010 12:05 am (UTC)
I always appreciate a good comics rant, but at your discretion ;)

Sandman

Books of Magic, at least the first graphic novel - I like it through the whole thing, but it's slow and the book changes writers partway through (I know way too much about what was going on with this so I will stop here). There are a couple of romance storylines as it goes on.

Finder, which I am always on about because it's really amazing. There's some violence and some stuff that's just kind of weird, though.

Some of the superhero titles are doing long stories and have some serious romance plots, Bendis's Ultimate Spiderman is the most obvious example with Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson's ongoing high school romance. I'm not sure how violent it is comparatively - the others I can vouch for as not very violent, but Spiderman fights people. I can say that it's well done and it's mostly about the pressures of being a teenager in a weird situation, but it may not be what you're looking for or what you want around where Raine can get into it.

Scott Pilgrim is about a guy who has to fight the evil ex-boyfriends of the girl he likes in order to go out with her, so it's mostly a romance and there's not a ton of fighting but it's more of an indie-rock, video game kind of thing than a fantasy title. It's being made into a movie, so you can likely get this at the library.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )