My reading stats this year won’t break any records. The reading slump months, i.e. the months I read only one book, are especially conspicuous. The thing is, I’ve changed. Whereas in the past years my focus was on quantity (I wanted to read X amount of books and beat some invisible record), this year I find myself slowing down and savoring the story. I guess after two years of speeding I finally realized that reading shouldn’t be rushed. It’s not like I have a stagecoach to catch of anything.
December is conspicuously, shamefully missing. I was lead astray by all these holiday shenanigans and have not managed to finish a single book, though, it should be noted that I am currently reading Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King and enjoying every gruesome moment of it.
My moods seemed to swing from the big sweeping epics at the beginning of the year and whittle down to a slew of retro Christopher Pikes, a result of scavenging my local dollar bookstore in search of those sentimental ’90’s reading days.
The Best of 2010 (in no particular order). Prepare thyself for a lot of nonsensical gushing and uncontrollably sobbing:
The Thornbirds by Colleen McCullough: Oh sweet Jesus, I love this book so much I could fall on my knees and say a thousand ‘Hail Marys’ to the author and even that wouldn’t be enough to express my pure devotion to the awesomeness of this book. Reading this tome took the entire month of January and carting it around was like tucking an especially heavy brick under my arm. I’ve never been to Australia but when I finished I felt like I could claim citizenship. This is the epic star-crossed love story between a Catholic priest and the spunky young woman he sort of helped raised. Gross, right? Oh but it is so romantic, not in the slushy way, but a surprisingly esoteric way that makes absolutely no sense unless you’ve read the book and fawned over the prose. Okay, I totally dogearred a few parts of this book for future re-reads. My favorite part: when Father Ralph was all “Tonight there is only Meggie. I have wanted her. She too is a sacrament.” *Descends into uncontrollably sobbing because the simile is so on the nose.* WHAT DOES IT MEAN?!!! *Sobs like the Double Rainbow guy on YouTube* What does it mean????????????????
The Secret Year by Jennifer R. Hubbard: When I mini-reviewed this book earlier this year, I gave it a B. As time progressed and the story had like time to age like a bottle of fine wine in the cellar of my mind (don’t puke, I’m listening to Phantom of the Opera on a continuous loop as I’m writing this), it dawned on me that I might have been too hasty in my grading. I claimed this book was sad, bordering on depressing. Now it is sad, bordering on bittersweet. This YA is about the secret affair between a boy from the wrong side of the tracks and a country club princess. Then she dies and her brother hands him her diary which he reads and weeps over because SOB!!!!!!! she really loves him but never officially told him and now she’s dead and he has to DEAL! This isn’t some paranormal romance where dead means zombie. This is real life where dead means dead and the survivors take long meaningful walks in the snow DEALING.
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell: This is another historical epic that monopolized a month out of my year. As a loyal fan of the movie, I’ve always been meaning to tackle the book but never got around to it. Boy am I glad I did. Upon finishing, I slammed the book down and sort of had a religious experience. I even managed to squeeze out a few tears. “Wow,” I said. Just wow. I am also extremely jealous of Margaret Mitchell’s novel writing prowness. From a technical perspective, GWTW has the perfect balance between beautiful prose, compelling storytelling, and deep characterization. Also, Scarlett O’Hara is my hero. In the league of resourceful heroines, I think she’s even cooler than Claire from Outlander. It’s a close race, but Scarlett has that extra ounce of bitchness that speaks to the Melrose Place (circa ’90’s) fan in me.
The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls: This is the surprise of 2010. I checked this out from the library for lack of anything better to read. I’m not a big memoir reader and I approached Glass Castle with low expectations. Then the story, which reminded me of a more intense, modern day version of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, blew me away. I am such a sucker for coming-of-age!
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins: While I did not find this book as exhilarating as Hunger Games and Catching Fire, the end (minus the epilogue) was so perfect that it almost made me change teams. I remember reading the last paragraph over and over again and sighing.
I Capture the Castle by Doddie Smith: This book has that jolly ole tone that Americans like me find so hilarious. Oh the Brits and their understated witticisms! No seriously, this book, it done warmed my heart and challenged my mind. Plus, it lends itself to quotes.
Books Read in 2010
The Thornbirds—Colleen McCullough
1. The Secret Year—Jennifer R. Hubbard
2. Thirst No. 2—Christopher Pike
3. A Woman of Substance—Barbara Taylor Bradford
4. The Sartorialist—Scott Schuman
5. Blankets—Craig Thompson
1. Alfred Hitchcock and Francois Truffaut interview
2. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
3. The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen
1. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
- Story by Robert McKnee
- Monster by Christopher Pike
- The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
- L.A. Candy by Lauren Conrad
- Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
1. The Stand by Stephen King (not finished)
2. Remember Me by Christopher Pike (Reissued trilogy includes Remember Me, The Return, The Last Story)
1. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
1. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
2. See You Later by Christopher Pike
3. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
4. The Secret of Ka by Christopher Pike
5. The Fire in Fiction by Donald Maass
6. How to Write a Damn Good Thriller by James N. Frey
1. Bury Me Deep by Christopher Pike
2. Spellbound by Christopher Pike
3. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
4. Witch by Christopher Pike
1. Dream Man by Linda Howard
2. Thirst No. 3 by Christopher Pike
3. The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
4. I Capture the Castle by Doddie Smith
5. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein