Dec 29, 2007

2007 in Review, and Reading Goals for 2008

2007 was a good reading year for me. I read a total of 128 books, which is quite an increase compared with the past few years. Out of those, 88 were novels, 19 were collections of short stories, folk and fairy tales, or myths, 16 were comics and graphic novels, and 5 were non-fiction (I really have to work on reading more non-fiction). Only 8 of these books were re-reads (I also want to re-read more old favourites in 2008).

I think that the fact that I started blogging has everything to do with this increase. Reading challenges, getting so many great recommendations from fellow bloggers, getting to discuss the books I finish with you, and all the other ways in which our little community celebrates its love for books acted as reinforcers and made me even more motivated to read.

And among those books which ones were my favourites? Let me start by saying that, try as I might, I couldn't come up with an absolute favourite. After a while, I just gave up trying to order the list altogether, because even if I did come up with an order, it wouldn't mean much. 2007 was also a great reading year also in the sense that I read a lot of memorable books. I had to make an effort to keep this list from being huge. And here is the list:
  • Thud! by Terry Pratchett - This was one of my first reads of the year. Unfortunately I hadn't started blogging yet then, so there is no review that I can link you to. I'll just say that this is one of my favourite books by one of my favourite authors, and I often find myself thinking about it. It has everything I love about the Discworld series. It's dark, it's funny, it's wise, it's moving and it's insightful.
  • The Good Fairies of New York by Martin Millar - Unfortunately I also don't have a review of this one to link you to. I think I might read it again for the next Once Upon a Time Challenge, because even though it's been less than a year, I already miss it. It's such a sweet and tender and funny and heart-warming book.
  • The God of Small Things by Arundathi Roy - It's been months since I've read this one, but thinking of the ending still brings tears to my eyes. Those who've read it surely know what I mean. Those who haven't... what are you waiting for?
  • Gifts by Ursula Le Guin - This is one of those books that make me fall completely and utterly in love with them. I can't wait to read the rest of this series.
In 2007, I participated in and completed a total of six challenges: Once Upon a Time, Reading Across Borders, Southern Reading Challenge, Book to Movie Challenge, Seconds Challenge and RIP II Challenge. There are two that will continue in the new year (Book Awards Reading Challenge and Four-Legged Friends Challenge) and an ungodly number of them starting on the first of January. Well, actually, it's only six of them. There, it doesn't sound so crazy when I say it aloud. That's the same number I completed this year, so perhaps this is doable after all.

Finally, inspired by Dark Orpheus, I want to post a list of books I'd like to read in 2008. But because I'm not as brave, I'll go with 25 instead of a hundred. This list is merely aspirational - I don't think I could complete both that and all the challenge books I've already committed to reading. But it's nice to have a goal towards which to work, and it'll be interesting to see how many I've completed at the end of 2008. To make things easier for myself, I'll try to have this list in mind when picking books for challenges I might join in 2008. The list has some classics that I have not yet read for some reason or other, some children's classics that I missed when growing up, and some more recent books that some of you have really made me want to read. Here it is:
  1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  2. Lady Chatterley's Lover by D.H. Lawrence
  3. The Complete Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm
  4. The Metamorphosis by Ovid
  5. Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott
  6. The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
  7. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
  8. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  9. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
  10. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
  11. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  12. Father Brown Stories by G.K. Chesterton
  13. Macbeth by William Shakespeare
  14. The Virgin in the Garden by A. S. Byatt
  15. Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne
  16. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  17. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
  18. Geek Love by Katherine Dunn
  19. Gormenghast Series by Mervyn Peake
  20. The Enchanted Castle by E. Nesbit
  21. The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
  22. Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter
  23. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
  24. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
  25. The Thirteenth Tale Diane Setterfield

15 comments:

  1. I want to read Thud!, The Good Fairies of New York, Love in the Time of Cholera, The God of Small Things and The Book of Lost Things next year. I really enjoyed To Kill a Mockingbird and Alex says Kavalier and Clay was his favourite of the year which I bought him after reading your review (and will read at some point hopefully too).

    Seems like you have done really well with your challenges for last year and you have signed up for a few good ones next year :) I want to read some of your list as well over the next couple of years (Grimm, Sherlock Holmes, Winnie-The-Pooh, Gormenghast, Nights at the Circus, The Historian and The Thirteenth Tale).

    I know what you mean about blogging helping you read more, I have definitely found that as well although I haven't read quite as much as you but not too far off...

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  2. I just realised you've only been blogging less than a year - but it sure feels like you've been doing this forever! :)

    I love your 25 books for 2008. I need to get around to reading more Vonnegut myself, not to mention Ovid, more Carter, more Chesterton.

    OMG, Gormenghast - that book totaly intimidates me! But I love how you really feel the heavy, oppressive mood of Gormenghast in the language itself.

    "The Remains of the Day" is one of those books that lingered with me, more beautiful because of its sense of regret. "To Kill a mockingbird" has to be the book that defined my childhood, so I'm glad you lke it.

    I hope Arundhati Roy's new novel gets published soon. I loved Gods of Small things - but then, I said that already, right? ;p

    Look forward to more of your bookish posts in 2008. :)

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  3. Great post! I have Thud!, The Good Fairies of New York, and Lud-in-the-Mist all in to be read piles as well as the first book in the Gormengast trilogy. I love the idea of posting books one wants to read in 2008. I may just do that myself sometime soon for the fun of it.

    You've read alot of great books. So glad this year saw you joining the blogging community, you've been a terrific addition!

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  4. this is my first year in a "reading rage" too.. but you far outdid my number of books! I think the books stores and amazon should automatically let us select a free book for every 5 we buy don't you?! lol

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  5. I loved this post Nymeth! I should just bookmark it as a list of books I want to read. Seriously...the ones on your list that I haven't read are all ones that I want to read! I'm definitely putting The Good Fairies of New York on my OUaT list this year :) Can't wait to finally read that one!

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  6. What a great reading year you had! I loved reading your list of favorites. I have come away from your blog over the past several months with many promising recommendations and I look forward to the many more you add to my wish list. :-)

    I think if I were to make a list of books I plan to read for the year, they would all be challenge books. :-)

    Happy reading in 2008!

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  7. That's such a good list to aspire to. I've read several of them this year and enjoyed them, so good luck. Look forward to reading your reviews. :-)

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  8. Geek Love is such a strange book, but I liked it. I hope you will, too! And several of the books you want to read are books I want to read, too.

    I like what you did with this post. I have a similar one brewing, but since I started my blog in April, I won't be able to do an all-year breakdown of what type of books I read, and that was really interesting to read here. I also liked hearing how many challenges you completed. I have no idea about mine, and maybe I should count them up.

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  9. I could swear I commented on this post yesterday...where is my brain?!!

    I can't believe how many books you got read! I didn't read even half that many :(
    But the more you read, the better for us, since we get to read your reviews, which frankly, I think are works of art all on their own!

    I'm really looking forward to reading several from your best of list, especially The Good Fairies of New York and The Book of Lost Things. And it sure looks like you've got a nice list that you want to get to this year. I have a few of those on some of my challenge lists.

    I really think you'll love Slaughterhouse-Five. (That's one of my husband's all-time favorite books.) I got on a real Vonnegut kick one time, but that was 20 years ago...think it's time I revisit some of them.

    Anyway, happy reading, and everything else as well, in 2008!

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  10. Just stoped by to say Happy New Year and Happy Reading in 2008! ;D

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  11. Rhinoa: I really hope you enjoy those books when you get to them! And I'm very glad Alex liked Kavalier & Clay so much!

    Dark Orpheus: Gormenghast intimidates me a little too - especially because I was told that the story is never quite completed, as Peake wasn't doing very well when writing the last book, and as a result it doesn't always make much sense. But I still really want to read it. I would love a new novel by Arundhati Roy! Maybe we'll get lucky and see it in the new year.

    Carl: I hope you enjoy all of those books. And I'd love to see a list of your reading goals for 2008! And thank you, and everyone else, for having welcomed me so kindly and warmly into the blogging community. I am very glad to have joined!

    Deslily: lol, that would be great, wouldn't it?

    Chris: I can say the same about your list! And I can't wait to see how you like The Good Fairies of New York!

    Literary Feline: I can say the exact same about your blog. Happy Reading in 2008 for you too :)

    Cath: Thank you! A lot of those books have been highly recommended to me.. I really look forward to reading them all.

    Dewey: I only started blogging in March, but fortunately I have been keeping more or less detailed records of what I read since 2002. It's really interesting to look at the numbers at the end of the year. They are often surprising. And as for counting your challenges, the best part about it it's that it's reassuring when it comes to all the upcoming 2008 challenges!

    Debi: You really are too nice to me :P I do think you'll enjoy both The Good Fairies of New York and The Book of Lost Things. And you're not the first person to tell me I'll love Slaughterhouse-Five! I really hope I get to it sooner rather than later. Come to think of it, it would fit the Sci-Fi Experience, wouldn't it? Hmmm..
    A very happy 2008 for you too!

    Maggie: Thank you! And the same for you :)

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  12. Ooh there are some books on your 2008 list that I want to read too. But I am so thrilled you loved Love in the Time of Cholera - I agree, it seems that those of us who love it, really love it :)
    You've had a great reading year and hope this one will be fantastic too!

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  13. 128 books? Man, I wish I could read that many in a year. But I am happy with my 50+. You have some wonderful books listed, both for 07 and 08.

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  14. Iliana: I really hope 2008 turns out to be as good as 2007. It was my best year in reading ever!

    Petunia: What matters most is that you are happy with what you've read, especially in quality, and that's why I consider 2007 such a success. There were only 2 or 3 books all year that disappointed me (and I know you agree with me on one of them - Pinocchio)

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  15. Congrats on a phenomenal year! Your 2008 list looks great--a lot of classics I've noticed. The last three I really enjoyed, the last being one of my favorites for this year.

    I agree that bookblogging has created incredible results for me--even if it was just a little extra support sometimes.

    Best wishes for the new year!

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Thank you so much for taking the time to comment - interaction is one of my favourite things about blogging and a huge part of what keeps me going.