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