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2010 Book Summary

Books read in their entirety

  1. Meredith, Martin — The State of Africa: A History of Fifty Years of Independence (736 pages)
  2. Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o — Wizard of the Crow (766 pages)
  3. Coetzee, J.M. — Life & Times of Michael K (182 pages)
  4. Saint-Exupery, Antoine de — The Little Prince (101 pages)
  5. Brunner, John — Stand on Zanzibar (661 pages)
  6. Dahl, Roald — Fantastic Mr Fox (79 pages)
  7. Walker, Barbara — TEENY-TINY and the Witch-Woman (29 pages)
  8. Shakespeare, William — A Midsummer Night's Dream (23 pages)
  9. Powers, Richard — The Time of Our Singing (631 pages)
  10. McEwan, Ian — In Between the Sheets (134 pages)
  11. Ishiguro, Kazuo — A Pale View of Hills (182 pages)
  12. Niven, Larry — Ringworld (284 pages)
  13. Anderson, Poul — Tau Zero (184 pages)
  14. Eisenberg, Bryan & Jeffrey, with Lisa T. Davis — Call to Action: Secret Formulas to Improve Online Results (273 pages)
  15. Andrews, Stephen E. and Nick Rennison — 100 Must-Read Science Fiction Novels (205 pages)
  16. Andrews, Stephen E. and Nick Rennison — 100 Must-Read Fantasy Novels (197 pages)
  17. Niles, Steve and Ben Templesmith — 30 Days of Night (103 pages)
  18. Terkel, Studs — And They All Sang: Great Musicians Talk about Their Music (321 pages)
  19. Andrews, Stephen E. and Duncan Bowis — 100 Must-Read Books for Men (200 pages)
  20. Dahl, Roald — The Witches (202 pages)
  21. Millar, Mark and J.G. Jones and Paul Mounts — Wanted (192 pages)
  22. Hoban, Russell — Riddley Walker (240 pages)
  23. Perkins, E.J. — American English English American (47 pages)
  24. Stevenson, Robert Louis — A Child's Garden of Verses (109 pages)
  25. Hart, Johnny — B.C. Strikes Back (156 pages)
  26. Neruda, Pablo — Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair (62 pages)

Page count: 6296.

Partially-read books

  • Armstrong, Karen — A History of God (97 pages)
  • Chekhov, Anton — Anton Chekhov's Selected Plays [A Norton Critical Edition, translated and edited by Laurence Senelick] (218 pages, which included The Bear, The Wedding, The Celebration, and Uncle Vanya)
  • Crockford, Douglas — JavaScript: The Good Parts (28 pages)
  • Le Guin, Ursula K. — The Birthday of the World (29 pages, namely the story "Coming of Age in Karhide")
  • Poe, Edgar Allen — The Masque of the Red Death and Other Stories (95 pages, which included "The Fall of the House of Usher," "Ligeia," "The Oval Portrait," "Eleonora," "The Masque of the Red Death," "The Pit and the Pendulum," and "The Tell-Tale Heart")
  • Rengers, Fr. Christopher, O.F.M. Cap. — The 33 Doctors of the Church (100 pages)
  • Sassoon, Siegfried — The War Poems (80 pages)

Page count: 647.

Total page count: 6943.

Summary

My goal for 2010 was to read 10,000 pages. I fell woefully short. Over 3000 pages short. And more when you consider how many pages consisted of comics or children's literature or poetry. (Although a page of poetry maybe ought to count for more, as I tend to read poems multiple times.) The reasons for falling short were various: much more time had to be spent learning and memorizing music, spare time was often spent with the girlfriend rather than reading, and many commutes were spent cubing.

The reason for setting a page-number goal instead of a number-of-books goal was so that I could read longer books without feeling as if I were hurting my book count. (Silly, I know.) I did read four such books and made a small dent on a couple others.

It's difficult to say which book was my favorite of the year, as I read several great books. If you held a gun to my head and demanded an answer, though, I might have to say Wizard of the Crow. It was sheer joy to read, and I was sad when it finally finished. My least favorite wasn't so difficult to choose: although I read a couple of real duds, none left me with such a bad taste as In Between the Sheets. For most influential read, I think I have to call a tie between The State of Africa and The Time of Our Singing.

I read 34 unique authors (an interesting total, given there were only 33 books and some repeated authors), of which 25 were new to me. The longest book was 766 pages; the shortest, 23 pages (although that was an excerpt from my volume of complete Shakespeare). The average book length (counting only completed books) was 242 pages.

As I've said, the reason I changed my book goal in 2010 to target a number of pages instead of books is because I felt a compulsion to read shorter books in order to reach the goal and largely ignored the longer books on my shelves. However, I found that having a goal of any sort influenced my reading, especially towards the end of the year. I found myself drawn to books I thought would be quicker reads so that I could pad my page count. (Ah, the curse of the ultra-competitive personality!) I also found myself, especially during November, trying to finish partially-read books instead of starting new ones that particularly interested me at the time. I only gave up this silly goal in December, because I realized I wasn't looking forward to reading, and what's the point of reading if I only feel stressed about inconsequential, self-imposed goals!

I'm not going to set any goals of any sort in 2011. I will continue tracking the books here in LiveJournal, because I (mostly) enjoy doing so and because it gives me a handy reference on books I've read. But whether I read 15 or 50 books, 5000 or 10,000 pages, will not matter, as long as I enjoy and make the most of my reading time.

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