Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Books of 2010

It's hard to count exactly how many books I've read this year, because I started some of them in 2009, but I think substantially more than last year — approximately 20. Wow! Instead of just listing them in order, I've put my 2010 reads into categories to share.

Books that totally drew me in (4 or 5 stars): The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Vulcan! (an old Star Trek fan-fic paperback), Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (yes, I am an Outlander newbie), The Snake, the Crocodile and the Dog by Elizabeth Peters

Books I read part of and probably won't finish (more for reference): Get a Freelance Life, Great Private Collections, Start Your Own Retail Business

Children's books: Stuart Little: Stuart at the Library (got great reviews from my nephew), Llama Llama Holiday Drama

 (reviews pending)

Books I enjoyed (3 stars): The Bourne Legacy, The Exile by Diana Gabaldon (the new graphic novel), The Hippopotamus Pool by Elizabeth Peters, The Day the Falls Stood Still, SOS by Barbara Arntsen (a mystery set in the shagging subculture of Carolina beaches), Books of the Century by N.Y. Public Library, Scratch Beginnings

History, historical fiction and research for my writing: The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory, Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, My Folks Don't Want Me To Talk About Slavery (oral history from former slaves, recorded in the 1930s), The Peaceable Kingdom by Jan de Hartog, Roots by Alex Haley, The Last Days of Black Beard the Pirate. Most of these were excellent. I read The Peaceable Kingdom, about early Quakers, as research for my historical novel. It was much more of a page-turner than I had expected — and there wasn't anything peaceable about it. Roots was also for research. I read Haley's work for the first time, but with a writer's eyes. Black Beard was an example of what not to do as a genealogical writer. The author put a lot of work and research into the book — and made it as boring and confusing as possible. He seemed to be trying to write a Discovery Channel special, where you try to stall your audience until the end and drag in every useless bit of information as you stall them. It took me all year to plow through this frustrating, but pretty, book.

Books that made me think, a lot: The Last Lecture, Mutant Message Down Under

Books for encouragement: Peaks and Valleys, Fearless by Max Lucado (almost finished)

Books I read and wished I hadn't: The Penwyth Curse. I picked up this audio fantasy for my trip to New York and I was stuck with it during the long drive. It was basically porn. I won't be choosing any more of Catherine Coulter's books.

Books I've started (you may hear more about these later): Arctic Ireland, This Book Collecting Game (1928), Deep River Quarterly Meeting (1919 history)

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