Saturday, December 26, 2009

the year of blogging successfully

I started this blog exactly one year ago today as a Christmas present to myself. And so today, I quietly roll into my second year of book blogging. I started this a year ago on the assumption that I might read more if I recorded it somehow, and I was inspired to share the books I read with the blogosphere by (especially) Nymeth and Darla.

More often than not, I've accomplished my book a week goal, with its accompanying review -- but more than that, I've found myself floating out here in the blogosphere, surrounded by a world of book bloggers I never knew existed. I now have a veritable mountain on the TBR list (and I know what TBR means!) and it's all thanks to the book bloggers out there who share their love of reading with the world. Things like Book Blogger Appreciation Week and, most recently, the Virtual Advent Tour have seen the number of blogs regularly reporting to my reader go up from around 30 (which I thought was a lot) to almost 200. Which really is a lot for someone like me.

So, because I'm curious, let's look at some of the numbers.

Books read in the past year: 95
Fiction read: 80
Nonfiction read: 15
Adult books read: 61
Young adult books read: 21
Children's books read: 13
Canadian books read: 22
Graphic novels/manga read: 33

Favourite reads of the past year in no particular order:
  • Graceling by Kristin Cashore - Hands down my favourite of the year. I know not everyone will love this one as much as I did, but I was blown away.
  • The Frozen Thames by Helen Humphreys - This was a stunning and unusual winter read and I will likely pick it up again soon, my own copy this time.
  • The Wee Free Men by Sir Terry Pratchett - This book started me on the journey to read everything Pratchett has written, which excellent results so far. This one is still my favourite of his though.
  • Lost at Sea by Bryan Lee O'Malley - The lone graphic novel representing on this list, I absolutely fell in love with this book and would like everyone in the world to read it.
  • Airborn by Kenneth Oppel - Such a great adventure, very well written, and now a permanent fixture on my shelf.
  • The Books of Pellinor by Alison Croggon, and particularly The Crow - I loved this series, even if the ending wasn't exactly the emotional punch I'd hoped; The Crow is one of the most moving and grueling fantasy books I've ever read.
  • An Ecology of Enchantment by Des Kennedy - Brilliantly funny and insightful ruminations on a year in a west-coast Canadian garden; you don't have to be a gardener to enjoy Kennedy's beautiful writing.
  • Island of the Blessed by Harry Thurston - This book took me nearly a month to read, but it was well worth it; Thurston's prose is very accessible and the tales and facts he exposes in this book on an Egyptian oasis are all engaging and fascinating.

Upcoming books to be read (as my mood allows):
  • Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
  • Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett
  • The Broken Thread by Linda Smith
  • Fire: Tales of Elemental Spirits by Robin McKinley and Peter Dickinson
  • The Secret Ministry of Frost by Nick Lake
  • Popular Music from Vittula by Mikael Niemi

An interesting thing I noted when compiling these stats: most of my nonfiction reads are Canadian. I didn't plan it that way, but apparently I prefer to read Canadian nonfiction; it's not necessarily about Canada, but it's mostly written by Canadians. Also, I note that Canadian authors are disproportionately represented on my favourites list, and that's a curious thing too.

It's been an education, and it's been a lot of fun. Thank you to the other bloggers out there, for inspiring me and for keeping me up to date on what's out there to read. And a huge thank you to everyone who follows me, in a reader, by Google, or by clicking over here every once in a while. Thank you for your comments, and thank you for your support! I'll be honest: I'd do it with or without anyone reading, but having people who read and enjoy what I write, and who share their own thoughts and experiences here, is fantastic and adds a wonderful dimension to what I do here. So thank you all.

Looking ahead -- I can't say that my goal has changed much. I plan to read, preferably a book a week, and write a review of everything I read (as long as I finish it). I'll continue with FreeVerse and probably an occasional Tuesday teaser. I'm amazed at how diverse my reading has become with the blog incentive; I intend to continue to broaden my horizons, but I'm also going to stick to reading things I want to read, things I buy for myself or get as gifts or take out of the library. I'm not joining challenges (because for me, that way lies madness) and I'm not going to be accepting ARCs from publishers (because that way also lies madness). Low pressure reading and reviewing, that's what it's about for me.

So onward we go, reading all the way! Thanks again everyone, and I hope you are all having a wonderful holiday.


Anonymous said...

Congratulations are in order! You have completed a whole year of blogging and have done an excellent job! You have a way with words/writing skill that is clearly just one of your gifts/talents! You have done an awesome job of writing about books in such a way that your reader's interest is definitely piqued! Well-done!
One of the books you mentioned is on my TBR list and so I will have to pick it up at the library next week!
Helen Humphreys book:
The Frozen Thames
I have read her book, Lost Garden, and really enjoyed it. I am also partial to Canadian authors and am very pleased to see new releases by so many!
Three Cheers for Canada!
Congratulations again and savour your success!
Joanne, your fellow librarian

Anonymous said...

Congrats! What a wonderful accomplishment!

Marg said...

Happy Blogiversary!

I want to read the Helen Humphreys books and I have Graceling out from the library at the moment.

Felicity Grace Terry said...

Happy first birthday to your blog. Heres to many more years.

Court said...

Oooh, Happy Blogiversary!!

I'm happy to hear that it's been a fun year with the blog. :)

Cecelia said...

Congrats on one year of blogging! I like your favorites list (Graceling!), and I definitely suggest Little Brother and Fire: Tales of Elemental Spirits. Both stellar reads in their own way. Good luck and best wishes for another successful year!

Nan said...

And what a joy for me to read your words! I love this:

"I'm also going to stick to reading things I want to read, things I buy for myself or get as gifts or take out of the library. I'm not joining challenges (because for me, that way lies madness) and I'm not going to be accepting ARCs from publishers (because that way also lies madness). Low pressure reading and reviewing, that's what it's about for me."

This is my book reading philosophy, too. I love the 'madness' parts. :<)

Anyhow, I'm glad you are blogging. Your choices are most often completely new to me, and I so enjoy reading about them. Congrats!

Kristen said...

Congratulations on your first year of blogging. Fun to read your best of the year of reading. I still need to do that myself.

Unknown said...

Joanne, you are a gem. Thanks so much for your kind words! I hope you enjoy the Humphreys.

J. Kaye - Thank you!

Marg - I'm curious to know what you think of Graceling, and the Humphreys (which are two very, very different books!)

Petty Witter - Thank you! I'll drink to that ;)

Court - I really have. Thanks!

celi.a - I'm actually just over halfway through Little Brother now, and I bought Fire when it came out and have been waiting for an opportune time. Looking forward to it!

Nan - Thank you, you're so kind :) I'm really glad you enjoy reading. I am all about the reading being relaxing, not stressful!

Kristen - Thank you! I'll be interested to see what your favourite reads of the year were.

Book Dilettante said...

Congrats on your year of blogging. You certainly did a good job!

Ana S. said...

Congratulations on one year of blogging! Thank you for all the great recommendations (I wouldn't have discovered Lost at Sea if not for you, and I must read Graceling and The Frozen Thames!) and for just being such a pleasure to get to know :) Here's so many more years!

Unknown said...

Book Dilettante - Thank you! (This is the first time I've seen you here with that name, isn't it? It took me a moment!)

Nymeth - Thanks so much. I'm really glad you enjoy, and hopefully this next year will bring a few more good books to everyone's attention. :) *raises a glass*

John Mutford said...

Whenever I read others' year end totals, I hang my head in shame. Very impressive, indeed.

Felicity Grace Terry said...

Just dropping by to wish you all the very best for 2010.

Unknown said...

John - I'll freely admit that some of them were very short and quick reads! The manga I can whip through two in a day, if I'm on my game...

Petty Witter - Thank you very much!

Jill said...

Hooray for a successful - and fun! - year of book blogging. I am so glad you are here! Thanks for reviewing all the wonderful books you have inspired me to read (and add to my list). Here's to another wonderful year - and a longer list! And I really have to get to that next Croggon book soon...

Unknown said...

Darla - Thank you! Tit for tat, I say -- my list is crazy-long because of you ;) I hope next year's list can be longer, too. Aiming for... 100! It's a good round number.