Dec 30, 2010

2010: The Year in Review

Year in Review

I read a lot of great books in 2010, and although I didn’t have as clear a favourite as last year, I still had a lot of trouble narrowing down my list of favourites to the one you’re about to see. Going through my reading records at the end of a year is always a bit of a strange experience. As Lu was saying yesterday, it always feels like my new favourites have been part of my life for much longer than only a year, or even only a few months – which is a sure sign that they have, in one way or another, become a part of who I am.

The following is a list of my top twenty-six reads of the year (no, I couldn’t make it 25. And trust me, it was not for any lack of trying): 21 fiction and 5 non-fiction. They’re not books published in 2010, but books I read this year, as I very rarely read books right after their publication. Without further ado, and in no particular order, they are:

Fiction

Best of 2010 fiction 1
  • Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers: I read this entire book in one single delicious Sunday afternoon, despite it being almost 600 pages long. I could not put it down for a single moment: it’s a feminist mystery, it’s a wonderful love story, and it’s a meditation on gender, relationships, writing, academia and intellectual honesty. If you’re thinking of reading it, I’ll give you the precious advice that was once given to me: please please please read the Harriet Vane books in order: Strong Poison, Have His Carcase, and only then Gaudy Night.

  • Passion by Jude Morgan: I don’t care how clichéd this sounds: Jude Morgan’s retelling of the lives of the Romantic poems from a female perspective is aptly titled, because it is indeed one of the most passionate books I read this year. My favourite thing about it, though, is that it takes the intellectual and emotional dilemmas that Mary Shelley, Augusta Leigh, Caroline Lamb and Fanny Brawne had to face absolutely seriously, instead of portraying them as victims who were dragged along. Morgan quickly became one of my favourite authors, and Passion landed a spot on my mental list of all-time favourite historical fiction.

  • Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness: The final book in the Chaos Walking Trilogy is the perfect ending to a perfect series: it’s moving, suspenseful, daring, challenging, brutally honest, and it doesn’t shy away from asking difficult questions about war, violence, idealism, and what it means to be human.

  • Alas, Poor Lady by Rachel Ferguson: My favourite Persephone to date deals with a theme that was recurrent in my reading this year: the Victorian marriage market and what happened to those who fell between its cracks. The fact that it stands above all the others is telling, as is the fact that it stands out from all the wonderful Persephones I read this year.

  • Middlemarch by George Eliot: I’m so glad I finally made time to read this. I found Eliot’s writing surprisingly accessible, her characterisation nothing short of perfect, and the novel as encompassing as life itself.

  • To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis: I was singing Connie Willis’ praise only earlier this week, and I’ll gladly do it again. To Say Nothing of the Dog is hilarious, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t deal with serious themes. It also amicably pokes fun at the Victorians, and it’s filled to the brim with literary allusions. What’s not to love?

  • Blankets by Craig Thompson: One of the most moving graphic memoirs I’ve ever come across.

  • Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster: A charming early twentieth-century epistolary novel that can be read in less than two hours. You’ll only be sorry it’s over so quickly.

  • Indigo’s Star by Hilary McKay: The whole Casson Family series brought me much joy this year, and if I’m to be honest it belongs on this list in its entirety. But Indigo’s Star does stand out: I’m not even sure why, but it’s one of those books I didn’t want to ever end.

  • Nightingale Wood by Stella Gibbons: Shockingly (to myself, at least) I prefer this to Cold Comfort Farm. It’s a 1930’s Cinderella story that becomes more and more subtly subversive as it progresses. I can’t tell you how excited I am for next year’s Stella Gibbons’ re-releases from Vintage.

  • Illyria by Elizabeth Hand: An intense love story, a story about art and the role it plays in our lives, and that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Elizabeth Hand can do no wrong.
Best of 2010 fiction 2

Non-Fiction

Best of 2010 non-fiction
  • Singled Out by Virginia Nicholson: This intimate look at the lives of the generation that was callously referred to as “surplus women” is social history at its very best.

  • Woman by Natalie Angier: A celebratory but scientifically rigorous analysis of the female body and what makes it unique. Natalie Angier manages to exalt what it means to be female without falling into a single essentialist pitfall.

  • The Letters of Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett: A collection of the letters of the two Victorian poets from their first introduction to their elopement. As exciting as a novel, and as intimate a look at the Victorians as you’re likely to get.

  • Stranger in the House by Julie Summers: Another excellent work of social history, this time about what things were like for the wives, mothers, daughters, sisters or granddaughters of the soldiers who returned from WW2.

  • The Magician’s Book by Laura Miller: A reading memoir, a literary analysis of The Chronicles of Narnia, a biography of Lewis, and an extremely insightful examination of what it means to love a story.
Honourable mentions: See my Smuggvilus post. Also: Doomsday Book, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Mrs Dalloway, Consequences, The Group, The Canon, Aurora Floyd, Yes Means Yes and Uncle Silas.

Before I share my reading stats, let me take a moment to write my usual disclaimer: I don’t much care about numbers, and in fact it makes me a bit uncomfortable to ever be congratulated for them. All over the world there are readers who read less, as much, and far more than I do, which I’m perfectly happy with. We all read at different paces and have different life commitments. Reading should never be seen as a competitive sport, and so on and so forth. I’m sure most if not all of you agree with this sentiment, but I can’t not say these things anyway.

Here goes: (Also, I do realise that these percentages don’t add up to a hundred, but that’s because some of my categories overlap.)

Total: 227 books
Novels: 140 (62%)
Short Story collections/anthologies: 8 (3.5%. I used to read a lot more short stories than this. I have no idea what happened.)
Comics aka Graphic Novels: 29 (13%)
Non-Fiction: 46 (20%)
Poetry: 4 (1.8%)
Plays: 0, as opposed to last year’s 12. I miss my Irish Drama class.
In translation: 10 (4.4%. No manga to inflate my numbers this year, I’m afraid.)
By women: 125 (55%)
By men: 96 (45%)
By people of colour: 22 (9.6% )
glbtq: 25 (11%. Pretty low on the diversity all-around :\)
By new to me authors: 109 (or 48%, which is far too much.)
Classics: 51 (22%)
Re-reads: 1 (0.4% — ha) (But at least it was a book very much worth revisiting – Michael Cunningham’s wonderful The Hours.)
Chunksters (450+ pages): 25 (11%)
Favourite authors discovered this year: Dorothy L. Sayers (I first read her last year, but it was this year that I really fell for her), Jude Morgan, Connie Willis, Hilary McKay, Virginia Woolf (I discovered that I’m not afraid of her; does that count?)
Least favourite book of the year: Gasoline by Dame Darcy
Best reading month: May (24 books, or 10.6% of my yearly reading.)
Worst reading month: September (13 books, or 5.7% of my reading.)

Here’s to a great reading year ahead for all of us. Happy New Year, everyone!

New Year's LOLcat

75 comments:

  1. Great list, Ana! I enjoyed reading your 'Best Of' list! Some of them I read, and the others I didn't I will make sure to add them onto my wishlist! :D

    Here's to another great reading year in 2011!!

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  2. A great list, as always, and so erudite! I'm glad you did the stats thing, too. I'm a stats junkie, and always find them interesting. :)

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  3. Melody: Thank you and likewise!

    Memory: I can't be erudite; I own a stuffed unicorn :P I always find other people's lists interesting to look at as well, which is why I persevered even though calculating mine took AGES (I'm terrible at keeping detailed records throughout the year, which makes it harder). I can't wait to see your list!

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  4. ...and by lists I meant stats :P

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  5. you named your Unicorn after Wilke Collins? lol.. love it! I have No Name on my wish list!! and Middlemarch..though I need a full year if I get that just to read the one book!

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  6. What a great year! So many of your favorites have been added to my wish list. Funny, I had only one reread for 2010 and it was The Hours, too! The perfect follow-up for Mrs. Dalloway. Happy 2011, Ana!

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  7. Thank you so much for your recommendations and reviews of The Magician's Book, Woman, and Passion throughout the year–I loved Woman (there's a quote from it up on my wall right now!), and I can't wait to get to the other two; Passion is on my desk right now from the library.

    Here's to a fantastic new reading year!

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  8. I think you're absolutely correct in that very few see reading as a competition. The stats aren't about that. There is just something so deliciously fun at delving into others' reading habits though, don't you think? And I think it's so fun to compare how one's own reading changes from year to year, and these stat lists certainly make that easier to do.

    And I sooooo loved reading your list of favorites--most of which you already added to my bookshelves, or at the very least my wish list! And somehow I'm quite sure that you don't feel the slightest bit guilty about that. :)

    May 2011 bring you an extraordinary amount of reading pleasure, Ana!!!! As well as pleasure of many other kinds!!!!

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  9. I am adding all of this list to my wishlist. Heh, you're that influential!

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  10. Great list, as always, as always I added many books to my list. I'll be reading Half of a Yellow Sun next year and hope to like it as much as you did. Oh and I think I'll need to do percentages in my yearly stats too, how fun!

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  11. You always make me want to read so many books!

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  12. It's really interesting to see our lists written out because there are some books we both really love, and then some books we're the exact opposite on (like Daddy Long Legs and Atonement, which made my worst-of lists this year and last year, respectively). And yet it's the same books we feel passionately about, whether by loving or hating. It's just really fascinating to me. Okay I'll go back in my hole now...

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  13. Invisible champagne? Lol!!

    I'm always a bit amused and amazed at how much book bloggers seem to love statistics and such, as I couldn't do them to save my life. Bad me.

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  14. I plan to start plowing through Dorothy Sayers this year. I hope I like them! I join Amanda in hating Atonement, but it was probably because McEwan was so good at making Briony so bad!

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  15. You've read some great books this year! I've read a few of them and will be adding most of the others to my list. I'm glad to see Alas, Poor Lady was one of your favourites. I got that one from my Persephone Secret Santa and can't wait to see if I love it as much as you did.

    I love to see other people's stats but it always seems like too much work to do my own. I'm hoping to be more organised in 2011 and start keeping a record of my stats from the first day of January - that should make it a lot easier next December!

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  16. This is a great list! I have read a few, and a lot of the others are waiting for me after having ordered them in response to your reviews! I am really glad to see that Atonement made your list this year, as well as the book by Willis. I must say that for the new year, you might consider reading Passage, by Willis. I have heard wonderful things about it, and it seems like a book that would be right up you alley!! Happy New Year, Ana!

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  17. Darren: Thank you and likewise!

    DesLily: Yep - the name is Wilkie :P And yeah, Middlemarch is not by any means a quick read, but it was also a lot easier to get through than I had imagined. It only took me most of July and August ;) I had other books on the go at the same time, though. I made it my secondary read, and before I knew it I was done.

    JoAnn: The Hours is certainly a book I'll be returning to again and again. Happy 2011 to you too!

    Clare: You're most welcome! I hope you enjoy the other two as much as Woman.

    Debi: Nope, not one bit guilty :P And yes, comparing stats to previous years is a lot of fun. Happy New Year, my dear!

    Iris: I so hope you enjoy them!

    Joanna: I hope you do as well! Looking forward to seeing your stats.

    Michelle: I never know if I should apologise when people tell me that :P

    Amanda: I think that says more about the books themselves than about our tastes - they seem to cause strong reactions one way our another!

    Alessandra: I don't love doing stats, but I love having done them in the end, if that makes sense :P

    Jill: I hope you like Sayers too! And you know, I didn't dislike Briony at all. It's funny how those things are so personal and subjective!

    Helen: I can't wait to hear what you think about Alas, Poor Lady! And I also need to be better at record keeping next year. That way it won't take me some four hours to do this post in December :P

    Zibilee: Worry not - I'm on a quest to read Willis' entire back catalogue, so Passage is on the list by default. Happy New Year, Heather!

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  18. I've only read a few from this list so I feel I should print it out and refer to it in 2011! There are many books here I'd love to read, and several that I really want to get to soon.

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  19. I always have trouble picking my favorite books of the year. I've had my year-end post written for several days but not put it up yet because of that! I might just make a list like you did- yours is excellent!

    I don't sweat off the numbers either, but I like to look at them and see how my reading has changed from year to year. And mine never add up evenly either, because there's so many books I can't decide one category for them and stick them in several.

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  20. What a wonderful list! We share a lot of book loves and you have added quite a few things to my tbr and wish lists including the Dorothy Sayers, the Stella Gibbons and the Rachel Ferguson. Hope your new reading year is just as satisfying as this one appears to have been. Happy reading!

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  21. Wow! You read a lot of books! I almost put Blankets on my best of the year list too, but I read so many good books it fell just short of making the top list.

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  22. Excellent list! So many of these are titles I added to my TBR list throughout the year after reading your reviews. Others, like Gaudy Night and North and South are old personal favourites. Here's hoping 2011 is an equally successful reading year!

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  23. I am so happy Middlemarch made your list; I remember adoring that book when I read it in college. I always look at your best of lists like a reading list for myself. :)

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  24. One day I'll read Middlemarch! But maybe not next year - I may save it up until I retire! I'm looking forward to those Stella Gibbons reprints too!

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  25. I really can't believe I've not read more Connie Willis since The Doomsday Book is one of my favorite ever books.

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  26. Sounds like a lovely year! I'm intrigued that you preferred Nightingale Wood to Cold Comfort Farm, and I too look forward to the Gibbons re-issues. And thanks for the reminder to pick up an actual volume of the Brownings' letters - I got sucked into reading them online a few months ago, and all of a sudden a whole evening had gone. It would be much more pleasant to read them in real book form, however. :-)

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  27. You have read so many books that I too love in my heart. :p I feel just the same as you about Indigo's Star, by the way -- all the books are good, but Indigo's Star is my favorite. It has a good story arc.

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  28. What a great list! I am totally with you on Monsters of Men. I plan to read (or rather, listen) to the whole series straight through in 2011. Should. Be. Intense! Blankets was fantastic as well. Both will be on my own list!

    I can't wait to read No Name. I'm listening to The Moonstone right now and am convinced. Wilkie could do no wrong! And I'm sorry, but I think there is something rather apt about naming a horned creature Wilkie. Yes, I just snorted. ;)

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  29. i've seen blankets on so many lists! i'm definitely adding that one to my wishlist. thanks for the amazing best of lists! i've added so many new books to my wishlist from it.

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  30. I want to read all of your favorites that I haven't yet - they all just sound so wonderful.

    Glad to see Half of a Yellow Sun on your list. Isn't that a wonderful book.

    wishing you another great reading year in 2011!

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  31. Ana, thank you for all of the books that you inspire me to read. My TBR list is overflowing in large part because of your blog. Did you read The Sleeping Beauty by Trina Schart Hyman? I could swear that I read about the author on your blog but couldn't find it when I searched. In any case I read it over the holidays and so enjoyed the fairy tale!

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  32. what a wonderful year I love your blog Ana you read books I would never think about and I like that ,all the best stu

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  33. Hehe I love the picture of the cat! What a fantastic year for you and a fantastic list of books. Glad to see Adichie made it :D Some books I've loved, some I look forward to reading off my tbr shelf soon, and some I want to track down eventually. Here's to a wonderful 2011!

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  34. Middlemarch and Blankets are both high on my list for 2011. I'll be reading Tender Morsels as well, can't wait! I'm so glad you loved A Room With a View. Whenever someone discovers a Forster book they love it makes my day. Howards End is still my favorite, but I love almost all of them.

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  35. Nymeth, you know the way to my heart, putting Blankets and the Browning Letters on your list of favorites! And Daddy-Long-Legs (don't forget to read its sequel!) and the Casson books...*happy sigh*

    For my part, I feel very lucky this year to have discovered your lovely blog - although, sometimes, I curse you for an evil temptress...(not really. You just make every book sound so marvelous) Happy New Year to you and yours.

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  36. I need to read Alas, Poor Lady sooner rather than later. Sounds really good!

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  37. Books are a lot like good friends in that way, aren't they? You can't remember your life without them.

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  38. Fantastic list Ana and one that I will refer back to from time to time. I've actually read a few of your picks!!

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  39. So everything that's on this list that I haven't read, I might as well put on my TBR list! ;-)

    Blankets is such an awesome book. I couldn't write a review of it because it's so indescribable. Thompson did such a great job with this book.

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  40. I'm sure I'll be revisiting your list in a few months when I have no idea what to read next!

    Glad to hear that Middlemarch and Atonement made the list. They are two of my favourite books ever.

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  41. Happy New Year, Nymeth! You definitely had a great reading year. Of course I have to add at *least* have of this list to my must-read (as-soon-as-i-get-the-time) list. :) Especially since "Woman" was one of the best books I read this year. It should be required reading for every woman (and man!).

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  42. Someone else mentioned Connie Willis this week, which is odd, as I'd never heard of her before. Strange how that works.

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  43. You know you made me read Daddy-Long-Legs, which I absolutely LOVED.

    I am going to add ALL the other titles to my list because I have a feeling I will love them all.

    And I got North and South too, need to read it next year though :)

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  44. I love visiting your blog because I never know what surprise you'll have in store! I love the way you mix it up, and review such tempting books from so many different genres. You've had a great reading year!

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  45. So many great books on your list - all the ones I've read, I've loved too. Even Monsters of Men, and I didn't go into 2010 thinking I'd be saying that. It just makes me think I should immediately acquire and read the rest of your favorites, too!

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  46. i've seen reviews for blankets all over the place--that it's really terrific--but i haven't gotten to it quite yet. maybe in 2011?? wishing you a happy and healthy new year. :)

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  47. I've seen the Magicians book mentioned several times - sounds intriguing!

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  48. I am not sure when you post your blog entries, but I think one of my new goals will be to somehow get to be the first commenter on one of your entries. By the time I get around here, I'm nearly always in the 30s or 40s :-)

    What a varied list you have! While we didn't read many of the same books this year, I think you influenced my reading a lot by motivating me to read more social history, particularly women's social history around the world wars. And just read more fiction from the intra-war period. So thank you :-)

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  49. Great list!! A few of my favorites are on there... and just a thank you to YOU for always being such a great source of reading inspiration, both in dedication and in book-recommendations. I am ENVIOUS of your bookcount! Darn day job + commute + chores. Audiobooks will save me next year.

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  50. wow! i aimed for 50 books this year and I didn't even manage that, only got to 45, but if i include all the toddler books I have read to my daughter, I'm sure I would get to 100 at least;-)
    I did, however, read Blankets and I loved it. Def one of my faves of the year.
    I think I may copy down your list though as some of those books sound intriguing.
    Here's to many more books in 2011!

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  51. Wow! Well over 200 books! That is a lot! :) Great list. I've read 3 of those you listed and 3 more of your honorary mentions. Glad to see Woolf and Sayers on your new favorites list. Harriet Vane & Lord Peter Wimsey books are some of my favorite mysteries. I read them all in a row some years ago.

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  52. Happy New Year Nymeth! It's very ture that favorite books become part of who we are.
    Wonderful post. It looks like you had a great reading year. I have Mrs Dalloway in my TBR.

    http://thebookworm07.blogspot.com/

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  53. I adored Blankets, even though it didn't make my list this year and only because there were so many other better books, not diminishing its awesomeness. I also nod Atonement being on your list, it made my list a couple years back. This year I'm looking to read A Room With a View, so good to see it on there. Happy new year again and hope to see more of you again this year!

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  54. Oh, Ana, I have so much to add to my own TBR and wishlist now. Killing me! But I love it. I hope 2011 is a wonderful year for you!

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  55. litlove: I hope you enjoy the ones you get to! Happy New Year :)

    Jeane: I always feel like my list is too long, but I have trouble narrowing it down to 25 books as it is! And yes, comparing stats to previous years is always fun! I read less this year than last year, but considering that I moved to another country and started grad school, I'm not surprised :P

    Frances: I'd love to hear your thoughts on Sayers, Gibbons and Ferguson. Happy New Year, and happy reading in 2011!

    Stefanie: There are quite a few books I could say the same about. Surely the sign of a great reading year!

    Claire: Thank you and likewise! May we both discover yet more excellent books in 2011 :)

    Trisha: There's just so much to Middlemarch! I feel like I could read it a hundred times and get something new out of it each time.

    GeraniumCut: August is going to be a happy month for Gibbons fans :)

    Lenore: I could say the same about a handful of authors. So many books...

    Emily: Nightingale Woods was more conventional in some ways, but I loved the fact that there was actually a lot that was subversive beneath the surface. I also read the Browning letters online - I'd so love to own them in book form!

    Jenny: I feel that I could rename 2010 The Year Jenny Made Me Read All Those Awesome Books :P

    Heather: Reading the whole Chaos Walking series back to back should be an amazing experience! And I'm so happy you and Kelly are both enjoying The Moonstone so much :D

    toothybooks: Enjoy Blankets!

    Iliana: Half of a Yellow Sun really is amazing. Happy New Year, and happy reading in 2011!

    Kathleen: I haven't read Sleeping Beauty, but you've made me curious!

    Stu: Aw, thank you and likewise! I love how you expose me to so much translated lit that I wouldn't even hear of otherwise.

    Amy: I hope 2011 turns out to be awesome for us both :D

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  56. Great list and a great year of reading. Happy New Year Ana and I wish you all the best in 2011!

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  57. Any year one reads Lord Peter is an awesome year. Happy new year.

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  58. I was picking the books to take back to my apartment in Penang. One of them is A Room With a View but then I put it back to my bookshelf. Going through your list made me change my mind!

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  59. A number of these books are already on my to-read list thanks to your reviews of them earlier in 2010. It's too late with me for the Sayers' advice, I'm afraid. Gaudy Night was assigned college reading and so I read it without having read a single other Wimsey book beforehand. Sad face. But now that my memory of the book is fuzzier, maybe I should try the correct order and see how it goes...

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  60. I must have missed when you read Atonement during my blogging break? So glad you loved it--it's one that still continues to tug at me several years after finishing.

    Fabulous year for you Ana!! Hope 2011 is a great one as well in terms of finding so many you loved!

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  61. I enjoy your best of lists. Thanks for the MIDDLEMARCH encouragement. I loved it to pieces too. :)

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  62. I read a Connie Willis short story recently, Fire Watch, and loved it. Cannot wait to read more of her work this year.

    I Kill Giants was fantastic, wasn't it? Such a powerful story and so well told. Who says graphic novels are for kids? :)

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  63. What a wonderful year you've had - and I'm pretty sure that I should just refer to this post as my wish list of books that I need to read in 2011.

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  64. Wow what a great list. I think I've only read two of the books on it so there are heaps of recommendations here for me to check out! Also I'm keen to read Tender Morsels now that I followed that link and found that it was your favourite book of 2009. It sounds really, really great.

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  65. I'm so glad you like Connie Willis so much. She is just one of my very very favorites. You read some awesome books last year! I've been lining up the Dorothy Sayers books to read this year. I've read a few and look forward to more.

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  66. I really must read the Patrick Ness series ... I've heard so many good things about them.

    And WOW on your reading stats. Most impressive! : )

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  67. I'm really impressed by your 200+ reading year! I can't believe I've only read one book on your list -- two, if I count the honorable mentions. But some of the others on your list are on my TBR list, so I'm excited about that!

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  68. Terrific list, Ana! Happy New Year.

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  69. I'm glad you have so many favourite books that couldn't be narrowed down.Some of those were my favourites too :)

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  70. Gaudy Night has been on my list for forever - so thanks for the advice! Great list.

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  71. I am late in commenting. Wonderful post, Ana! If Ana makes a list of her favourite books, can Dorothy Sayers not be there in the list :) I can't believe that you discovered Dorothy Sayers only last year. Really? I want to read 'Blankets' and 'Daddy Long Legs' this year.

    227 books is awesome, Ana! I know you don't want to be congratulated, but Congratulations anyway :)

    Congratulations on a wonderful reading year! Hope you have a wonderful reading year in 2011 too! Looking forward to reading your posts!

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  72. It's official, I really need to read something by Connie Willis. I also think I'd love the Sayers mystery--I'm a big mystery fan and seeing "feminist" and "mystery" together gets my heart all a-flutter.

    I really liked Blankets, and I loved The Disreputable History--such a good book for young women! I also quite enjoyed The Little Stranger...that ending had be contemplating for days.

    I love posts like this; such an excellent way to get to "know" bloggers and their tastes. I definitely need to follow your lead and read more Victorian classics. :)

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  73. What an amazing list (and lots I haven't read so they'll be additions to my wishlist!) I love Dorothy Sayers and Elizabeth Hand (although I haven't read Illyria) and I really want to read Patrick Ness. I've been too afraid of reading George Elliot but since you liked Middlemarch so much I'm tempted to give it a go:)

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  74. Several of these would be on my list too, thanks to Things Mean A Lot. A few months ago I found a $2 remaindered hardcover of The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks at a discount store in a pile of old diet books and celebrity biographies (?!) On impulse I gave it to my half-sister. Now I kind of regret the impulse, since it's one of those books I'd like to have on my shelves just to pick up and hug gleefully every now and then. It was surprisingly hard to explain to a grown woman with small children why she needs to read about a teenaged girl at posh private school. I hope she believed me, and read it!

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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.