Dec 28, 2009

2009: The Year in Review

End of the Year

I can't believe it's time for an end of the year post again. It feels like I was writing last year's just a couple of months ago. Before I tell you what my 28 favourite reads of the year were*, a few words about my giveaway: first of all, a big thank you to everyone who played along. Secondly, after the post was up and a few of you had already guessed, I realised that I had forgotten to tell you about a very important rule: my end of the year list would only include one book per author. And obviously, if I left a comment clarifying that so late in the game, I'd be rigging future guesses, and it wouldn't be fair to people who had already tried to guess.

I felt really bad for those who guessed two books by the same author, especially when they'd definitely be on my list if not for the rule. So in the end, what I did was put the names of everyone who got at least four books right in the hat. Which was pretty much everyone who tried. I remember that last year I was a bit surprised that so few of you got all five books, or even just four books, right. But this year everyone did guess. I suspect it's because I was quite a bit more shameless about unleashing by inner gushing fangirl in 2009.

Anyway, without further ado, the winner is:

Priscilla at The Evening Reader - congratulations, Priscilla! Just e-mail me your address and your book of choice, and it shall be yours. And now on to my favourite reads of 2009, not necessarily in order (except for number one):


Best Reads of 2009 - Fiction


Best Reads of 2009 - Non-Fiction

Honourable mentions: Galápagos by Kurt Vonnegut, Old Man's War by John Scalzi, Emma by Kaoru Mori, Flora Segunda by Ysabeau S. Wilce, Lost at Sea by Bryan Lee O'Malley, The Savage by David Almond & Dave McKean, How to be Good by Nick Hornby, Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, Cheek by Jowl by Ursula Le Guin, Palimpsest by Catherynne M. Valente, Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Bayou by Jeremy Love, Dramacon by Svetlana Chmakova, My Most Excellent Year by Steve Kluger, The Brontës Went to Woolworths by Rachel Ferguson, Dangerous Angels by Francesca Lia Block, Howards End by E.M. Forster, Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons, Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, and I'll shut up now.

Reading Stats

I hesitated about whether to include these or not - I'm a bit wary of numbers and of anything that makes reading seem like a competitive sport. I don't think numbers mean very much at all, I hate comparisons, I'd take quality over quantity any day, and I don't think more of people or their intelligence the more or the faster they read.

Stiil, in the end I decided to include these because I did in previous years, and because stats can be fun. But please please please don't congratulate me for having read a lot (relatively speaking of course), because it's not necessarily a good thing, even for a voracious bookworm. If given the choice, I'd have done other things with my time too.

Total: 262 books
Novels: 145
Short Story collections/Anthologies: 6 (A noticeable decrease from last year's 17. Please read more short stories, self.)
Comics aka Graphic Novels: 56
Non-Fiction: 42
Poetry: 1 (Boooo. Bad Ana. Well, to be fair, I read this one book - Atlas by Katrina Vandenberg, which has been on my nightstand since February - like 15 times, but it's still just one book.)
Plays: 12
In Translation: 21 (Almost all from Japanese, and Manga inflated the number.)
By women: 138
By men: 124
By people of colour: 41
By new to me authors: 136 - which is far too much. I need to devote more of my time to reading authors I already love.
Classics: 24 (Not that bad a year for classics, it turns out.)
Re-reads: Only one, Pobby and Dingan. How can this be?! Thank goodness for the Flashback challenge. I need it.
Chunksters (450+ pages): 17
Favourite authors discovered this year: Easy - Margo Lanagan, Kij Johnson and Sarah Waters. I honestly can no longer imagine my reading life without them. Also Patrick Ness, Meg Rosoff, David Almond and Wilkie Collins.
Least favourite book: The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton. Apologies to any Kate Morton fans, but I honestly hadn't hated a book this passionately in a long, long time.
Best reading month: February (30. The explanation is that I read two Manga series. Also, it was a month off between the end of the first and the start of the second school semester, so other than working part time, all I did was read.)
Worst reading month: December (15)

* Why the weird number? Well, I could say "my blog, my rules", but the truth is that while I meant to make it 25 - 20 fiction and 5 non-fiction - I just couldn't leave any of these books out. I tried!


  1. It would be nice (or bad, depending on one's perspective) if one could just upload your favorites list right into one's Amazon Wishlist list. Like other bloggers, I find that your lists generally make very good reading! Well, it's hard not to comment on your stats, but if you read less, you would help the rest of us control our book acquisition habits! :--)

  2. Jill, the good news is that if my Life Plans for 2010 go well, I'll actually be reading a lot less :P

  3. 267! I am absolutely gobsmacked. I realised you read alot of books, but didn't realise it was that many. I am only jealous, LOL. Good luck with you plans for next year, you sound as though you will be busy if you have less time to read.
    I loved reading your list and realising there were quite a few of your top books that I haven't read,so I will definitely add them to my TBR list.

  4. Well at least 2 of your books of the year appear on my list as well, bet you can't guess which two?

    If you're having trouble just ask your avatar! ;) #teamconfusingtwitteracronymoftheyear

  5. Yay for John Green. *swoon*

    And thank you for linking the playlist; I didn't realize there was one. I'm totally stoked because Paper Towns is such a perfect re-read.

    There's a couple of your books that I have on my shelf but I haven't read yet (Tender Morsels, etc.) 2010 will be a great year. :)


  6. Well, you asked us not to gush over the number of books you read in one year, so I will respect that (although secretly I am saying WOW --- 262 books! That is amazing!) BUT....I did want to comment on the the thoroughness of this year end review. I have added new books to my list, and moved several books that I currently own but have not read up to the top of the TBR list.

    OH --- and I have just started the last section of The Children's Book and plan to finish it today. I am glad that you have prepared me in advance so that I can have the box of tissues nearby.

    I wish you a GREAT 2010, Nymeth!!

  7. I love these posts. Somehow, you make it all so much more succinct than I can. I'm having to split mine up. I just can't do it all in one. :D

    Hm, I didn't include a People of Color section in my stats...I do my stats all year long as I go, so it would be miserable to try to go back and do it now, but I think I might include that for next year.

  8. You had a great reading year. I'm glad to see 84 Charing Cross Road made it on your list. That book is really beautiful.

  9. Holy Cow Ana! lol.. you are outstanding! Congratulations on another fine read of reading!

    ohhh, glad to hear about moonstone! I did read woman in white but Moonstone is still in my tbr pile for this year!!

  10. I love that you have My Top 28 List, instead of My Top 10! Now that's a bibliophile! I'm still working on mine; the rough draft had way too many stats for a girl who loves reading more than math.

  11. Those are some good books there. I just put them on my to read list. Congrats on a wonderful year of reading.

  12. Can I just say that I'm glad you posted your stats?!! I absolutely love reading them, because they're just so darn fun!!! (And anyone who knows you at all KNOWS you are NOT a competitive reader! So fret not on that front.)

    I can sooooo understand why you've read Atlas 15 times! I've still only read the first three poems since I opened it on Christmas, but I've read those three at least five times each. They are truly meant to be savored if you ask me.

    And you know, how cool is it that you couldn't narrow your list any smaller than 28?!! :D

  13. Yea! Yea! Wow! I knew I should have guessed The Secret History, though, because then it would be five! Yea! Thanks very much Ana!

    You have definitely been an influence on my reading this year, and a big influence on my TBR list. I always look forward to your reviews because you are so thoughtful about everything you read, and you make interesting and varied choices in your books.

  14. Love your post! Love everything about it, including the stats. :) More just for yourself than anything. I don't really keep track of them anywhere else other than my blog, so it's nice to have for me. I didn't try to guess your favorites this year, because I really wasn't sure! I think I could have gotten 4 or even 5 now that I see the list, but at the time I was overwhelmed ;)

    Congratulations on a fabulous year, and I hope 2010 is even better :D

  15. Sounds like a good year! Also, this post makes me excited, as I've got several of these books on my TBR pile, and one or two of them coming in at the library. Yay!

  16. Congratulations to Priscilla!

    Such a wonderful list, Nymeth! I would like to get to Fingersmith this next year and perhaps maybe read a John Green book (it was his blog that finally pushed me over the edge and made me want to try something by him).

    You read quite a variety this year, didn't you, Nymeth? Always a good thing!

    I like what you said about the numbers. I've considered not posting any stats this year because I read so few books, especially compared to other bloggers. As much as I believe in quality over quantity, sometimes it is hard not to feel a bit inadequate--no matter how hard I try not to compare myself to other bloggers.

  17. An amazing list, an amazing year!! I'm so glad to have discovered your blog this year... and the local B&N is pretty happy I did, too!

  18. my friend are a "reading machine". I loved The Secret History and Fingersmith. There are so many more from you fav list that I want to read as well. I was SHOCKED to see the most disappointing book was : Forgotten Garden ( i was planning on enjoying that one....grinnnnnn

    Have a great reading year in 2010

  19. Grin:) There are 5 or 6 on this list that I haven't read yet so they are going to the top of my stack. And I have to find a copy of Bad Science!

  20. I shall have to add all of these to my TBR, as you have impeccable taste and I love reading your reviews (despite hardly commenting).

  21. Yeah, like Jill said, you need to work on a way to upload this list into Amazon. I really cannot even CONCEIVE of reading this many books in a year. Holy shit. I am a self-proclaimed fangirl of Waters. I am in the middle of my third Waters read, Fingersmith and I can barely stand it, it is so totally wonderful.

  22. Wow, you had a busy year reading-wise. And thanks for all the book recommendations!

    Diary of an Eccentric

  23. Sometimes you've just gotta have a weird number of favourites. I try to keep my yearly Best Of lists to 5, but last year I couldn't get it any lower than 7.

    Soooo many of your top reads are now on my wishlist, and they're all your fault!

  24. I loved Shakespeare Wrote for Money as well. And 84 Charing Cross Road is one of those you just hug to yourself when you turn the last page and want to weep a bit that you'll never experience it for the first time again.

  25. Wow...262 ROCK! Thank you for sharing your favorites with all of us. I've read very few of the ones you list here and although many are already on my TBR list, several others are not. I'm so excited to put my list of books to read in 2010 together now!

  26. I can't believe you have read so many books this year! A great amount of graphic novels and manga yay. Also a fab year for discovering new authors. I read something by Kate Morton and wasn't impressed either, pretty dull and I certainly wouldn't bother reading anything else by her. Glad to see I am not the only one who doesn't get her.

  27. Have to agree about both the Kij Johnson & the Margo Lanagan books. Loved both of them. The Time Traveller's Wife I read a few years back so that won't be making my top of 2009 list :) I have the first Patrick Ness upstairs so I'll have to get stuck in to that next.

  28. Yay for your year-end wrap-up! I realized just now that many of the books on my wish list are due to your reviews. Yay for quality reading and reviews, provided by Ana :-)

    Glad you had a good reading year, even if Kate Morton caused a slight hiccup.

  29. What a great reading year for you, Ana! I was thinking along the same lines in putting up my favourites for the year.. is it okay if I copy your stats outline? It's only because I like how you did it and that I don't have time to think them up, with all the holiday stuff going on and everything. Hope you don't mind?? :D

    I've only read a few of the books on your list but already I feel like I know them as your reviews stick to me like glue! :)

  30. Yeah so. um. I don't think we share any of the same books on our lists, but yet I still greedily read every word you write. Why is that? :) And I love how you say reading a lot isn't necessarily a good thing, I am finding this to be uncomfortably true and I hope to bring more balance to my life in the coming year.

  31. I want to be able to print out your list and tack it to my wall--there are so many wonderful books on it (even a couple that I've actually read!) Keep reading, and writing about your reading because you do it so very very well, but live first. Happy New Year!

  32. Wonderful summary. Maybe I'll do mine tonight as well. I wish I had loved the Fox Woman... actually, I think I would have, but my life was just too sad at the time I was reading it and I couldn't take any more tragedy. But it was beautiful. I totally agree about Fingersmith -- fantastic! So glad you liked Alias Grace and The Secret History -- two of my favorites. I WISH I could have read as many book as you did, but what with full-time job and full-time life, I feel I did pretty good, especially since this felt like an off year for reading. Thanks so much for being here! I've gotten so many great book ideas from your blog! (and will be listening to new tunes tomorrow at work! Yay! Will report back about faves...)

  33. Vivienne: Let's hope things go well so that I am indeed busy :P

    Darren: lol :P

    Christina: The playlist is so awesome! And yes, I can't wait to read Paper Towns again :)

    Molly, thank you so much for the kind words! I'm looking forward to your thoughts on The Children's Book :)

    Amanda: lol, and I thought I'd go on forever :P And you know, I forgot to keep track of glbtq authors, but definitely will next year.

    Bella: It really is. It made me so happy :)

    DesLily: The Woman in White is more Gothic, which is always a plus, but I just loved the narrators of The Moonstone so much!

    Bellezza: lol yeah, I can't overdo the stats either :P Though I love looking at other people's detailed ones, preferably with percentages!

    Sherry, thank you!

    Debi: I understand getting stuck (in a good way!) in the first few pages of Atlas, but you need to skip ahead and read Tulipomania. seriously. That poem just kills me <3

    Priscilla: Aw, thank you for the kind words! Will e-mail you back in a second :D

    Lu: lol, there's always next year :P And thanks!

    Fyrefly: I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

    Wendy: That's another reason why I hesitated :( I know the feeling, and I don't want to make anyone feel inadequate. There are so many reason and personal circumstances that influence how much we read.

    JoAnn: lol :P I'm very glad I discovered yours too!

    Diane: My reaction to The Forgotten Garden was very personal, I think...I know of several others who enjoyed it a lot, so please don't let me discourage you!

    Gavin: Btw, I finished Cold yesterday and it was AMAZING! Thank you for another great recommendation :D

    April: Awww, thank you so much!

    Sandy: "So wonderful I can barely stand it" is the perfect catchphrase for Sarah Waters :D

    Anna, you're most welcome :D

  34. Memory: Yep, sometimes there's nothing you can do :P

    Kristen, so true!

    Kathleen: I hope you read lots of great books in 2010 :D

    Rhinoa: Yeah, I definitely don't get what it is about her either :P I was surprised with my GN totals this year! yay.

    Fence: Looking forward to hearing what you think of it! It's such an amazing series.

    Aarti: I guess bad books make us appreciate the good ones more, so yay for them too :P

    Claire: I wouldn't mind at all! Feel free to use it :D

    Amy: There are actually quite a few blogs I feel that way about...more than the books, it's about the person's voices. If I love it, I stick around <3 Yours included, of course!

    ds: I'll definitely try to keep the living thing in mind more in 2010 ;) Happy New Year!

    Daphne: You did good! Honestly, next year I want to read LESS and do other stuff MORE :P And yay for new tunes! I hope you enjoy them :D

  35. Oh goody, I've been waiting for this post before putting in my post-Christmas Amazon order - all set now, I love these end-of-year lists!!

  36. Fingersmith made me fall in love with Sarah Waters :)

    An impressive year of reading!

  37. 262 books?! OMG. 145 novels is a lot already. And mangas/graphic novels are quick to read, I guess. But 42 non-fiction books? I don't think I've read a single non-fiction book all year.

    I must be the only John Green lover who didn't love Paper Towns (in spite of owning a copy and having read it four times). I mean, Quentin is awesome. His friends and their girlfriends are, too. But Margo?! I wanted to throttle her. Toilet papering houses? Breaking in amusement parks? Running away from home without telling anyone (not that her parents seemed to go crazy with worry, mind you)? Seriously, woman, what's WRONG with you?!

    I guess I'd better re-read Katherines and think about Lindsey Lee Wells instead. (I've discovered the Italian translation of this book in the library and I feel like reading the translation)

  38. I loved How I Live Now, so Rosoff's other title is going on my library hold list NOW.

    Thanks for the kick in the pants! :)

  39. So glad you loved Le Guin's Lavinia - I'm really looking forward to that. And I also loved Meg Rosoff's How I Live Now, which I must get hold of. Alias Grace remains my favourite Atwood and I adored Ali Smith's Girl Meets Boy.

  40. You probably won't be surprised to learn that a lot of the books on your best of list will be on mine... If I ever make mine, that is...

  41. Fantastic list! Thank you for introducing me to so many wonderful books this year. You always seem to find the great books before everyone else and make them sound so appealing. I look forward to seeing what you discover in 2010 and will ensure that I make sure I add the rest of your favourites to my wishlist.

  42. You've read such marvelous stuff this year, Ana. Such a great variety, which always makes seeing what you've read lately an adventure. I hope 2010 is an even better reading year for you than 09 was. :)

  43. You have had such a great year of reading - so many quality books on your list! I know you've added many of them to my wishlist as well.

    I know what you mean about reading too much - I'm trying for something more worthy to do with my time in 2010. I love reading but I need more.

  44. What a list. Many, many of these are on my TBR list, and I'm most of the way through Little Brother right now. The whole dystopian thing is still a bit of a hurdle for me (though as you say it's really not that far-fetched), and I have to wonder if some of my feeling that things are a little too over-the-top is more wishful thinking ("that would never happen") than reality. It's a thought-provoking one, for sure.

  45. 262 ?!?! : o

    That's all I can do! :p

  46. wow, what a great year! I have to say THANK YOU for all your reviews: you've gotten me to add to my TBR at lot this year.

  47. *makes mental note that I can now pick up to 28 books as favorites without looking ridiculous*

    What a fun fun fun fun list :D Pretty much any of those that I've read will be on my list too :p I ALMOST bought Sapling with my giftcard at the bookstore the other night, but for some reason, I put it back on the shelf :( I think I just want to order direct from Persephone so I can get the bookmark too :p Have you seen the new non-fic Chabon book? It's sort of an autobiography? It looks really good! I want to get it!

    I'm not going to congratulate you on your number of books read, but way to go! >> ok, that's kind of the same thing, huh? lol...seriously though, you deserve from freaking congratulations on that! That's awesome!! Us stats geeks love that! lol.

    I can't wait to put my post'll probably go up sometime tomorrow.

  48. Wow! It looks like you had a stellar year! I'll be taking some of these recommendations for sure.

  49. Excuse me... I gotta pick myself up off from the floor - 262 books! That's wonderful and I'm so glad you discovered Sarah Waters. She is great. I have a few of your favorite reads on my wish list - I'm sure they ended up on there originally form your wonderful reviews :)

    Wishing you a fabulous reading year in 2010!

  50. You really have read some amazing books this year and a lot of them went on my wish list after reading your reviews. I do agree that Fingersmith is an excellent read. It's one of my all time favorites. I hope you are able to read more amazing books in the upcoming year!

  51. Nymeth, you are a ravenous reader. I am just astounded at your capabilities and aweome detailed reviews. I don't know where you get the time and energy, but I do know you have an amazing intellect. Congrats and good luck in 2010.

  52. Great post, Nymeth! You had an amazing reading year! I love your list and you bet I'll be adding some of those titles on to my wishlist! :P

  53. Between you and Eva and so many other bloggers, you keep me in TBR list heaven! I've added Fingersmith finally to my to read list, and Tender Morsels, plus I'll try Patrick Ness (everyone seems to love this one). I really like the list you have, well-rounded and plus you give your reasons why you loved them so! I just posted my list, much smaller, today. I am amazed that you and Eva can read so many books in a year (and Rhinoa and Kailana.....), I struggled to get to 80! but, it wasn't the best of years personally, and I still managed one of my highest totals, so I did really well for me! The main thing is to find books we love, and enjoy what we read, and I love your blog and everyone else's for this. and you have to know that as soon as I find a copy of Mortal Love, I'll be reading it because of your review! I hope you find as many good books this year to read!!

  54. Some really great books there, you found the best of the best this year I think. You really have produced some fantastic reviews this year.


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