It’s the time of the year where Top 10 lists and Favorite lists are popping up, and this is certainly true in the blogosphere. In many ways, this will look very similar to any other favorite list you may look at, but this is the only one that reflects my personal opinion.
I thought I read more books than I did during this past year. In total I’ve read 55 books, but there may be some that I have forgotten, as I didn’t start my list until halfway through the year. I did not include a few books in my stats (children’s books). If you’re interested in the complete breakdown of data and to see every book I’ve read this year, follow the link here. Otherwise, the data in this post may suffice for general perusal.
Oldest Story: The Shadow Over Innsmouth, by H.P. Lovecraft, published in 1936
Number of Audio Books Read: 7
Number of Library Books Read: 33
Number of Read Books Published in 2009: 8
Number of Books Forsaken: 1 (Dan Simmons The Terror)
Number of Different Series: 15
Number of Different Series Finished: 6
Total Number of Books Provided by Publishers: 7
Most Popular Author: Brian Vaughan (Y: The Last Man series)
Most Popular Publisher Read: Vertigo
As you can tell, I’ve read quite a few graphic novels. I’m not really sure how to approach this method of storytelling. Graphic novels aren’t technically a genre, but a medium. So If I charted the technical genre breakdown it would look something like this. While I really enjoy graphic novels, are they on the same level as a traditional novel? Furthermore, how many reads do they count as, especially if they’re a collection of trade collections (I’m looking at you Absolute Sandman)? For me and for my data, I counted one book as having one cover and back, regardless of how many individual comics were inside.
Even this second graph isn’t without flaws. It’s too difficult to keep books restricted to one genre, as many of them cross several genres. Is Star Wars fantasy or sci-fi, or is it simply a genre by itself? Is an alternate history book with magic fantasy, historical fiction, or mystery? There are too many discrepancies with limiting myself to one genre, but I have tried to appropriate my reads the best way I could.
Below are my favorite ten reads from the past year, with links to my reviews. They aren't really in order of my liking, as each one has its own merits and awesomeness. Some reviews are combined for the entire series (Mistborn, Sandman), while others are typical reviews. All are spoiler-free.
1. Mistborn: Hero of Ages, by Brandon Sanderson
2. Absolute Sandman Volume 4, by Neil Gaiman
3. Mistborn: The Final Empire, by Brandon Sanderson
4. The First Law: Last Argument of Kings, by Joe Abercrombie
5. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke
6. The Book Thief, by Mark Zusak
7. Mistborn: Well of Ascension, by Brandon Sanderson
8. The First Law: Before They Are Hanged, by Joe Abercrombie
9. The First Law: The Blade Itself, by Joe Abercrombie
10. Warbreaker, by Brandon Sanderson
Out of these books listed, only one of them was actually published in 2009. While I’m sure there were a lot of new and exciting books released this past year, I spent much of the year reading older books and finishing college. I did want to read Best Served Cold, by Joe Abercrombie, but I didn’t get around to it. I also intended to read Bill Willingham’s Peter & Max, as well as Fables Volume 12, neither of which made it onto my reading pile this year. And I have Ken Scholes Lamentation (thanks Krista) to read, but no time for it, either. I started Cherie Priest’s Boneshaker just a few days ago, but I won’t have it done before the end of the year. Once again, to see all the books I read this year, follow this link to the Google Document.
Overall I felt that this was a great reading year for me. I discovered both Brandon Sanderson and Joe Abercrombie, two bright and shining voices for the world of fantasy. Mistborn was hands-down the most exciting fantasy book series I read, and I’ve found myself recommending it to many different people. I literally tore through the concluding volume of the series. And Abercormbie’s First Law books were fast-paced and terribly fun. Two books outside the typical genre—Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell and The Book Thief—even made it onto my top ten favorite reads, and both of them were superb. I’m still excited about Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, and I hope to see more from Susanna Clarke on this story. The Book Thief was definitely the most emotional, heartfelt story I read, and I likely will revisit those pages, too, one day.
For 2010 I’m looking forward to another good year of reading. I fully intend on reading through the Wheel of Time novels, hopefully getting caught up before Sanderson & Jordan’s next installment comes out. I hope The Wise Man’s Fear, by Patrick Rothfuss, comes out next year, as well as George R. R. Martin’s antepenultimate ASOIAF novel, A Dance With Dragons. Who knows, maybe Sanderson will release his new work, too, and my brain will explode. I hope to read some more steampunk books, and maybe find another alternate history or two, as well. I also plan on reading The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky, and hopefully a few other “Classics,” like 100 Years of Solitude, Crime & Punishment, and Alice in Wonderland. And there’s still Jim Butcher to get into… Sigh. Too many books to read.
Writing Wednesdays tomorrow. Another sort of year end conclusion post coming Thursday. Remember to visit your public library and to frequent local used bookstores. Just give ‘em a wink and tell ‘em I sent ya.