Last year, I stumbled upon an online bookclub that is filled with a bunch of cool chicks that love to read. While I've always loved books and always seem to have a book on my nightstand, my reading time has varied greatly through the years. At the end of 2008, though, I became pretty wrapped up in the enthusiasm of the book group and jumped on the bandwagon when the girls were setting reading goals for themselves for 2009. I didn't really talk about it here, but my original goal was to read 50 books in 2009, though after a stellar month in January, I upped it to 100.
I'm happy to say that I just completed my 100th book for the year! It's crazy to me that I've read that many books this year, but it's something that really brings a smile to my face. After the crazy end to 2008, burying myself in books last winter was the perfect balm for my battered psyche and a great way to regain my footing with life. I started reading not just at night, but sometimes at lunch, when waiting for appointments, while enjoying coffee on the weekends, etc. I let my gossip and fashion magazine subscriptions lapse because I rarely made time for them anymore. I rediscovered the library and the used bookstore because when you're reading 2-3 books a week, buying them retail gets pricey.
I've obviously kept my bookclub peeps informed of my progress and my close friends and co-workers know about my reading habits, but mostly this was a personal goal, something that was just for me. And I loved having that so much. Something that I was working towards all year that had nothing to do with work or family, that was just for personal fulfillment.
One of the results of reading this much in a year is that I've learned quite a bit about my reading tastes. I stepped out of my comfort zone and read books that I normally wouldn't even give a second glance. I "don't read romance novels", but dude, Nora Roberts sure can write one heck of a good love story. I don't consider myself a fan of historical fiction, but I couldn't seem to put Sacred Hearts or The White Queen down. And I sure wish that the Young Adult category has existed in it's current form when I was in high school because so many of these books are amazing reads - for both teens and adults.
In addition to reading a ton of books, I also made time to attend local author events and get my books signed. I met Jodi Picoult with Blondie and Sporty and Megan McCafferty with Jessica. Both of these women I really admire and would love to grab a drink with them one day and chat about life and stuff.
I also attended signings by Alan Brennert and David Levithan. Alan Brennert's wife is so sweet and is still in awe of his recent success from Moloka'i and Honolulu. David Levithan is one of the few authors that puts into words the emotions that I know I have, but can't seem to formulate into a coherent thought. If you ever have a chance to hear him speak, please go!
I've chronicled all of my reading for the year on GoodReads, along with short, spoiler-free reviews of each book, so I won't list all of the books here. The link to my page is on the right side of the blog, so feel free to browse there if you so choose. However, here are my favorites from the year, in no particular order:
Moloka'i by Alan Brennert
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Hunger Games Series by Suzanne Collins
(The Hunger Games/Catching Fire)
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons by Lorna Landvik
Friday Night Lights by HG Bissinger
The Guernesy Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
Love is the Higher Law by David Levithan
The Road of Lost Innocence by Somaly Mam
The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
The Jessica Darling Series by Megan McCafferty
(Sloppy Firsts/Second Helpings/Charmed Thirds/Fourth Comings/Perfect Fifths)
Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri
Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer
I think I'll shoot for 50 books in 2010 as there are some sewing and cooking goals that I have for next year. After this year, I don't think I could go back to just reading 1 or 2 books a month - it almost feels ingrained in me now, something that both relaxes me and provides a ton of enjoyment. Here's to another good year in books!