100 Book Challenge Update

Last January I joined the 100 Book Challenge at J. Kaye's website. I ended up reading 115 books, but that's counting children's books and I'm an elementary librarian, so I get paid to read them! Here's a breakdown of what I read:

32 Novels for adults or older teens (the large majority were adult books)
10 Novels for children (helps with my job so I can recommend books to kids)
72 Picture books (again, for my job, but I looooooove picture books!)

And that adds up to 114. Hmmm. I probably read 73 picture books.

I'm disappointed that I only read 32 "real" books. I really thought I could read one a week, but I also moved to a new country, got a new job and dealt with the decline and death of my father. Not exactly good reading situations. Thirty two books is a lot more than most Americans. According to an article in the Washington Post (2007), 25% of Americans didn't read a book at all the previous year. (Yikes!) The typical person read 4 books. Well, I have most of America beat!!!

I read a lot of great stuff. If you want to see the full list, go back to my original post. The fun aspect of the challenge is that it forces you to keep track of what you've read during the year and your list is in chronological order. I also subscribe to librarything.com (it's free!) and that let's me see all the books I've read. Well, the ones I can remember anyway. That's where I get that cool widget on the right side of my blog that shows random covers of books I've read. Very visual! Very fun!

I didn't write any book reviews or anything. No interest in that. But my favorite books of 2009 were:

  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. It won the national book award for teen literature and boy did it deserve it. Amazing story. Great writing. Terrific book.
  • The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga. I read a lot of literature set in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and that region of the world. I'm finding really great literature coming out of there right now. The White Tiger is an amazing novel about a taxi driver in modern India. 
  • The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child by Donalyn Miller. I don't like nonfiction because I'm all about characters, but this is a terrific book for teachers and librarians. I had to talk myself through it because nonfiction just shuts my brain off. I would say, "Read 1 chapter of this and then read as much of your novel as you want." It worked! That makes it sound like a bad book, but it's excellent, I'm just a bad NF reader. Her ideas about turning kids on to reading made me re-think how I run my library and present myself to my students. If you're a teacher or have children, read this.
  • Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout. Won the Pulitzer and rightly so. The writing is amazing. It's a collection of 13 short stories that are somehow connected to the main character, Olive Kitteridge. Olive isn't your typical protaganist that you fall in love with. She has short comings. Many, frustrating short comings. I often confuse my opinions about a book with my opinions about the characters. For example, I used to say that I didn't like The Corrections, but in reality I didn't like the characters. It was so well written that I transferred my dislike for the characters to the book. Same with Olive Kitteridge. I wanted to shake her at times to open her eyes. The author said she wrote it in 13 short stories where Olive is sometimes in the background because she didn't think the reader could take a full novel centered around her. That sums it up for me. That being said, Olive has some very good qualities, as well. She's not all bad. She's human.
  • A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. I know I'm a little behind the ball on this one. I loved The Kite Runner and this is another amazing novel by Hosseini. 
I read other good ones, too, but those are my stand outs. I'm going to do the 100 Book Challenge for 2010, too. It starts tomorrow. My goal is to read more than 32 adult books and to read more than 10 children's novels. I encourage you to sign up. If you read more than 4 books, you're doing better than most Americans!

I have a pile of books next to my bed for my vacation. I wonder what I'll start with.


Kimbra December 31, 2009 at 7:37 PM  

We are working on the 100 blog post/facebook/iphone app/6 macs at a counter top/tech-head/2 itouches per child/no child left without a mac challenge over here....
take that!!!
Happy New Year luscious lips...

Tara December 31, 2009 at 9:26 PM  

ok, i'm in! already linked in right after you and then blogged after you and linked to your blog. thanks for sharing.

ok that i linked to your family blog? other blog you want instead?

Colleen December 31, 2009 at 9:32 PM  

Kim - good luck with that challenge! We're doing the no iPod left behind in our house. I think we have 1.8 iPod to person ratio in our family! Ha!

Tara - I'm glad you're doing it! It's fun to keep track of everything and it's so easy. Thanks for linking to my blog. I like having an audience. :o)

Jenners January 2, 2010 at 10:34 AM  

OK ... I feel slightly better than you read 115 books but a lot of them were picture books! But, then I realize you get paid to read them. seriously I want your life!!!!

And I have Olive Kittredge .. now I'm going to bump it up and add it to my list. I almost picked it for my "read a book with food in the title" for a challenge so I might substitute it.

J. Kaye January 4, 2010 at 10:29 AM  

Welcome to the 100+ Reading Challenge. This is going to be a fun reading year. Happy New Year!!

Current Time in Saigon, Vietnam

About Me

My name is Colleen and I currently live in Saigon, Vietnam. (aka Ho Chi Minh City) I have a husband, Mike, and 2 children. Our son Aidan is 14 and our daughter Brenna is 11. I am the elementary librarian at Saigon South International School. I love to read, be outside, play any sport that's going on, hang out with friends, and laugh.

What I'm Reading Now:

  • Picture Perfect by Jodie Picoult
  • Buddhism for Beginners by Thubet Chodron