Reading

Completed: 2010. Happy to meet 2011.

Happy (belated) New Year! I’m not sure I’ve ever been so happy to see an old year end. There were some highs last year, but most, if not all, were in the first half of the year–it seems as if it peaked in May and then took a steady downhill slide. I’m ready for a much-improved 2011.

On the other hand, 2010 was the best year I’ve had in reading for at least 3 years. After two years of not making it to even 20 books read (I can’t believe it myself), I managed 31 books this year, sneaking one last book across the finish line on December 31.

The highlights of my 2010 in reading:

  • Richard’s Dante readalong. I dragged a little at the finish, but The Divine Comedy was hands down my favorite read of 2010. The payoff was worth the work in the end.
  • Finishing my re-read of The Chronicles of Narnia. These were “in-between” books, and I think I loved them as much as I did when I first read them as a child. Reading them as an adult, I was able to recognize the surprising depth Lewis included in the books, but still be charmed by the magic. Inspired both by this re-read and Eva’s review, I would really like to read The Magician’s Book by Laura Miller.
  • Beowulf on the Beach and Reading Like a Writer, two books about books and about reading them, both made me re-think the way I approach my reading.
  • Santa Evita – the first book I’ve read by an Argentine writer. I loved it. I consider it the best book I’ve read, at least recently, that’s been written in the past 20 years.  (Note, I’ve not read all that many books from the last 20 years!)

As for 2011, I’m hoping to read between 20-30 books. Not all that many, but I’ve decided that 2011 is the year of the Architectural Registration Exam, a seven-part test. I can spread it out over up to five years, but I’m mentally ready to just.get.it.over.with. Needless to say, this could hamper my reading time, which is the number one reason I didn’t sign up for any challenges, although I did see several I was intrigued by. (On the other hand, I could see myself curled up for hours on end with such delightful texts as The Architect’s Handbook of Professional Practice, or Steel Buildings: Analysis and Design.)

I did sign up for the TBR Dare, which doesn’t ask for a certain number of books read, just that they be off our own bookshelves. Not a problem! I’d been thinking about doing so anyway, especially when I realized that I have some books that I really want to read but have been gathering dust for as much as 10 years. Time to fix that!

I would also like to keep creating and posting my mini-lists. I had hoped to have these finished in December, but December proved elusive. Once these are “finished”–my intention is that these are lists that can continually be added to–I would like to focus my reading on what is on my lists. I also want to really focus (with my lists as well) on “Great Books.” I’m a bit tired of reading the mediocre, especially when my time is limited.

Now I just need to decide what to read first….What are you reading?

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6 thoughts on “Completed: 2010. Happy to meet 2011.

    1. Although what I knew about both works going into them was enough to intrigue me, it was still a pleasant surprise how much I enjoyed both. Definitely highlights of my year.

  1. I think one of the first things we need to do as readers is to not chasitse ourselves for what we have, or haven’t read. It’s one area of my life I can truly say is in progress. 20 books read, 120 books read, what matters is that we read.

    I love the Narnia books. Like Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books, I never tire of reading them, and do on practically a yearly basis (as I read them to my class). They are always refreshing, always full of insight and a strong foundation for me.

    I’ve joined the TBR Dare as well, wondering if I can split hairs and count books I picked up at the library. Probably not. Better just to pick from my shef (ves). 😉

    I hope 2011 is a spectacular one for you in every way. It’s great to blog together!

    1. Thank you! I didn’t mean to imply that I was berating myself for the number of books read or not–no, I’m more dismayed by the fact that I wasn’t really reading! (And slightly depressed that my reading this year may be more dull textbooks than fun novels…)

      As for the TBR Dare, I’ve been wondering about re-reads from my shelves…but really, I think it’s better if I stick with the books I still haven’t read–especially since I actually really want to read them!

  2. Ohhh: I hope you love The Magician’s Book! 🙂 And I definitely intend to try Santa Evita.

    Good luck with your architecture exams!

    I just finished Favela by Janice Perlman and Kokoro by Natsume Soseki. I’m in the middle of In the Woods by Tana French and Mad, Bad, and Sad by Lisa Appelgini. And I’m about to start A Border Passage by Leila Ahmed and Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler (I always have 4 print books going at once). I’m also listening to Nine Tailors by Dorothy Sayers, and I really need to start on Vindication of the Rights of Women, which I have on my Nook. Obviously, I’m a polygamous reader! ;0

    1. Thank you (re: exams)!

      I used to be a polygamous reader, but that hasn’t really worked for me so much lately. Just not enough time to keep up with multiple books! I do tend to sample multiple books before settling on one, though, so I guess I haven’t entirely kicked the habit. Maybe after the ARE is over, I can return to my extravagant ways. 😀

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