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2011 Book Summary

It feels odd to write my 2011 book summary towards the end of March, but so be it. I've finally caught up on my book posts from last year.

  1. Portis, Charles — True Grit (215 pages)
  2. Simpson, Joe — Touching the Void (210 pages)
  3. Bardin, John Franklin — The Last of Philip Banter (207 pages)
  4. Millar, Martin — The Good Fairies of New York (278 pages)
  5. Millar, Mark — Kick-Ass (190 pages)
  6. Sachar, Louis — Holes (225 pages)
  7. Baxter, Stephen — Moonseed (523 pages)
  8. Buchan, John — The Thirty-Nine Steps (152 pages)
  9. Bukowski, Charles — Post Office (167 pages)
  10. Palahniuk, Chuck — Fight Club (211 pages)
  11. Bemelmans, Ludwig — Madeline's Rescue (50 pages)
  12. Rennison, Nick — Bloomsbury Good Reading Guide, Eighth Edition (508 pages)
  13. Rucka, Greg & Steve Lieber — Whiteout (120 pages)
  14. Rucka, Greg & Steve Lieber — Whiteout: Melt (106 pages)
  15. Orwell, George — Homage to Catalonia (267 pages)
  16. Moore, Brian — Catholics (87 pages)
  17. Chatwin, Bruce — The Songlines (296 pages)
  18. Funke, Cornelia — Inkheart (555 pages)
  19. Eddison, E.R. — The Worm Ouroboros (521 pages)
  20. Milligan, Spike — Puckoon (152 pages)
  21. Jones, Diana Wynne — Power of Three (293 pages)
  22. Juster, Norton — The Phantom Tollbooth (264 pages)
  23. Jeffreys, Daniel — America's Back Porch (286 pages)
  24. Robinson, Marilynne — Housekeeping (217 pages)
  25. Stevenson, Robert Louis — Treasure Island (212 pages)
  26. Bissinger, Buzz — 3 Nights in August (296 pages)
  27. Rennison, Nick & Ed Wood — 100 Must-Read American Novels (185 pages)
  28. Cassar, Vincent & Nik Kalinowski — Bloomsbury Good Reading Guide: World Fiction (351 pages)
  29. Williams, Niall — Four Letters of Love (340 pages)
  30. Maxwell, Virginia & Duncan Garwood — Lonely Planet: Sicily (349 pages)
  31. Dumas, Alexandre (Robin Buss, transl.) — The Count of Monte Cristo (1117 pages)
  32. Straub, Peter — Ghost Story (497 pages)
  33. Crockford, Douglas — JavaScript: The Good Parts (149 pages)
  34. Brontë, Emily — Wuthering Heights (316 pages)
  35. Foreman, Michael — Cat in the Manger (24 pages)
  36. Peterson, Robert W. — Pigskin: The Early Years of Pro Football (216 pages)

Page count: 10,152.

I am pleased with the amount and quality of reading I did in 2011. I set myself no goals for the year, for I found that 2010 goals were subtly influencing my reading choices in an attempt to reach my goal. Ironically, without setting goals, in 2011 I met my 2010 goal of reading at least 10,000 pages. I averaged 3 books a month which, given I was only reading 1-2 books a month when I was running a book club in the States, is pretty good. And almost everything I read was of decent quality, which I can't say about previous years.

With so many good reads, it's hard to pick a favourite, but pressed to the task I would probably say— You know, I can't make up my mind. It's probably one from amongst True Grit, The Songlines, and The Count of Monte Cristo, and I am tempted to expand this group to include more titles. My least favourite title is easier to pick: I'd have to say The Worm Ouroboros. The most influential book would have to be JavaScript: The Good Parts.

The 36 books were by 37 unique authors, three of them appearing on a second of the 36. Of the 37 authors, all but 5 (Crockford, Orwell, Rennison, Robinson, Stevenson) were new to me. The longest book (The Count of Monte Cristo) was 1,117 pages long, the shortest (Cat in the Manger) 24 pages, with an average length per book of 282 pages.

I wasn't going to set a goal for 2012, but goals are fun and keep me motivated (not that I need any motivation to read). Rather than set a target for number of books or pages, though, I thought I would have a bit more fun with this year's goal. Initially, I decided that for each letter of the alphabet I would read a book whose author's surname began with that letter. To that end, my first book of the year was by Martin Amis. But after some thought I decided that such a goal would affect my reading choices in ways I didn't like. I would be skipping lots of A, B, and M, etc., authors I wanted to read, and forcing myself to read an X or Y I might not be in the mood for, and never mind the fact that I'd have to go out and buy a Q author (and I don't mean Luther Blissett, the author of Q). So, I changed my goal, and it's one which will leave lots of options open while forcing me to expand my literary horizons: with the exception of the 100 Must-Read… book I'd already started before defining my goal, in 2012 I will aim to read only books by authors whose work I've never read before. There's certainly no shortage of those in my personal library. (But it begs the question: Must I count Ian (M.) Banks as one author or can I count him as two?)

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
am0
Mar. 26th, 2012 02:25 am (UTC)
Selecting Reading Material
Throwing darts is a traditional, time-honored way to select almost anything from a large field of possibilities. I know there are authors whose names begin with 'Q' but offhand the only 'X' I can think of is Xenophon.

One good reason for establishing a plan of attack is the fun you can have by breaking the rules you've just established.
spwebdesign
Apr. 13th, 2013 12:24 pm (UTC)
Re: Selecting Reading Material
I must have missed this comment last year. Anyway, the only author I can think of off the top of my head whose surname begins with Q is Raymond Queneau, but there must be many others. There are Chinese authors whose surnames begin with X.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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