Thursday, July 08, 2010

The Mid-Year Assessment Thingy

I knew from the moment I saw other bloggers whipping out their mid-year musings, I would have to do it, too. Call me a follower, but I'm OK with that. I'm an avid lister and reminiscer, so it seems like the right thing to do.

I've read a whopping 25 books which is about half of what I usually read, so I suppose I'm right on track. When I see other bloggers who've read 80-something books already, my butt puckers a little bit and I face the fact that I'll NEVER achieve any number like that this year. Rule #1 of good self-esteem: stop comparing self to others. *cleansing breaths*

The books I've read seem to fall into two major categories: memorable and forgettable. Here are how some of them stack up:

Memorable Fiction...
A Reliable Wife, by Robert Goolrick
The Good Earth, by Pearl S. Buck
The Girl Who Chased the Moon, by Sarah Addison Allen
The Forest of Hands and Teeth, by Carrie Ryan
The Lightning Thief, by Rick Riordan

Memorable Non-Fiction...
Keeping the Feast, by Paula Butturini
This Book is Overdue!, by Marilyn Johnson
Confections of a Closet Master Baker, by Gesine Bullock-Prado
French Milk, by Lucy Knisley

The Good Neighbors #1: Kin, by Holly Black
Home is Where the Wine Is, by Laurie Perry
Bram Stoker's Dracula (graphic novel)

When I write that something is "forgettable" I'm not trying to be a horrible, disparaging, mean blogger. Let's face it...some books stick with us for a long time and some evaporate from our minds almost immediately. For example, I had some DEFINITE problems with A Reliable Wife, but it's stayed with me in a way that some other books this year have not. It's still vivid in my mind while others have faded away.
Looking at my graphic novel choices, the only one that really impressed me so far this year was Lucy Knisley's French Milk, so I'd definitely like to pick some more significant graphic novels in the coming months.

Finally, some big changes from last year. I read ONE novel (other than YA) last year. One. The Thirteenth Tale. I'm tickled that my novel reading has picked up this year because I was feeling a hole in my readerly little heart after last year's YA and non-fiction extravaganza. This year, I have almost no appetite for YA at all. Though Heather and I were discussing this via e-mail, and I think we're both just burned out on paranormal YA.

I have a much more normal-for-me mixture of reading this year, and so far I'm feeling delightfully satisfied. Here's hoping it lasts the rest of the year!


  1. I'm bad about looking at everyone else's numbers and feeling unsatisfied as well...until I think about everything else that I do. And then I wonder how I even read at all :) Seriously though, it sounds like you've read some really good books so far so hopefully you'll continue that trend into the rest of the year. Happy reading!

  2. Considering you gave birth to a baby this year I would say your stats are phenomenal!

  3. I'm sure you already know this, but having a baby kind of puts a damper on reading for a while. If I have a good nap day, I may get some extra reading in, but only if I've already done cooking, restoring the house to some semblance of order, blogging, random web surfing, etc. I'm shooting for one book a week and that's still an iffy goal.

  4. I've read 70 books so far this year, and I get sad and jealous looking at other people's numbers. I can't remember who it was, but she's already up to 125 books this year. We all have different reading speeds, time commitments, outside interests, etc. I'm so glad you mentioned The Lightning Thief as a memorable read. I have a bit of crush on that series. I'm refusing to read the last book because I don't want it to end.

  5. Andi, don't be sad. You'll get up to 80 when you're baby is older; say high school when you're waiting all night for them to come home.

    I loved A Reliable Wife for the same reason; although I had problems with it, only a few, it stayed with me. Longing to read French Milk. I think I'll go Bookmooch it right now. Thanks! xo

  6. Sam, if I'm being realistic, I should feel the same way. For instance, I'm reading The Passage now, and I was scared it would take me forever when I started. I'm already 350 pages in, and I've been carving out time to read at lunch, breaks, and before bed.

    Kathleen, true! And thank you. :)

    I know exactly how that goes, Shannon. Early morning or late evening, laundry always takes precendence over reading. :)

    Trisha, it's just amazing how much some people can knock off, eh?? Sounds heavenly to me, though I doubt I'll ever be able to get to those numbers (unless I learn to speed read).

    LOL, Bellezza! True indeed. I keep looking at our little almost-three-month-old munchkin and telling Chuck, "He's gonna be a teenager someday and probably hell on wheels." Enjoy French Milk! It's wonderful.

  7. Nice mix of reading, it looks like. I know what you mean by "forgettable" - sometimes a book isn't bad, but it also just isn't... memorable.

  8. I'm totally burnt out on paranormal YA, too. In fact, I'd stocked up one quite a few different series last year ("Blue Bloods," "Linger," etc.) and actually wound up giving them to a coworker's teen daughter, all unread. They were taking up space and I couldn't see myself reading them anytime soon... or ever!

  9. I may skip Home is where the wine is.

    French Milk is actually nonfiction (thought you might want to know :) ).

    Looks like you had a great year with your full life. Glad to see Forest of Hands and Teeth on your memorable list.

  10. Kerry, you got it!

    Meg, I've been giving most of mine to my 13 year old stepdaughter. She's still happily on the paranormal YA train.

    Candace, oops! For some reason when I sleepily wrote this post it ended up in the fiction category when I know it's non. For some reason graphic novel registered as fiction when I was bumbling through. The irony of that is that Lucy Knisley will be doing a Q&A here soon. Oops! Need to fix that!

  11. That was fun reading! I don't know how many books I've read, this year, but my number is down from last year and I'm fine with that. I wanted to read more chunksters, this year, and I am doing a decent job of mixing them in, so I had to expect not reading as many books cover-to-cover.

    But, you . . . dude, you had a BABY! Talk about a good excuse. I felt lucky to read a book a week (sometimes half that) when I had little ones.

    As to the burnout . . . yeah. I expected that to happen to a lot of people. There's been such a huge upswing in the number of YA titles published, especially paranormal. I don't get a lot of YA offered to me, so I've bought a few and tried to space them out to prevent burnout. So far, so good.

  12. I'm just impressed that you still have so much time to read. It took me a few months to get back in there once the baby was born!

  13. Oooh, Andi, are you enjoying the Passage? I've heard mixed things about it!

  14. LOL -- that's totally why I posted a mid-year assessment thingy myself. As soon as I saw other bloggers doing it, I thought, "Hey, I wanna do that, too!" Don't feel bad about your numbers. Go for quality, not quantity. That's my goal, anyway :)

  15. No butt puckering allowed. I have a boyfriend who doesn't require a whole lot of attention (he's currently out in the garage doing something that is causing sparks to fly...I figure me and my books are much safer in the house) I have a life that lends itself to lots of reading. Also, I'm not the one resurrecting Estella!

  16. I'm pretending the middle of the year isn't happening. I completely forgot about most of my challenges, and moreover I haven't done anything exciting with the first half of my year. Whereas you had a baby that is a whole brand new person! So there's absolutely no need for butt-puckering in any measure. :p

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  18. Nancy, I guess I should give myself SOME credit/leeway for having a baby, eh? You know me...hard to sit still. lol And I'm trying to work in more chunksters myself. So far, so good. I can't believe how fast I'm reading The Passage. Somehow I think it might take longer for Vanity Fair or A Suitable Boy. hehe

    Thanks, Funky! In truth, I read during EVERY available opportunity at work. During lunch, before meetings, during dead tutoring hours, etc. I also carve out about 30 minutes every night before bed. And more in the morning when he's napping if I can stay awake.

    Christina, I LOVE IT. I can't even believe how much I love it.

    Emily, I'm trying to consistently focus on quality instead of quantity. I had a sucky reading year last year, and I don't want a repeat of that.

    LOL, Jill. He's pretty self-sufficient, eh? Sparks sound scary, though. And hurray, Estella!

    Thanks, Jenny! I'll tell my butt to calm down. I had largely forgotten about my challenges until last week. Now I'm sorta kinda going back and trying to figure out where things fit in.

    Thanks for the invite, Jen!


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