Yes, I did happen to drop off Planet Earth for a while. I didn't know where I was, exactly, until I found out I was on Planet Walking Pneumonia. Say what you will about Planet Earth (and, believe me, I've been known to say quite a lot, especially about its human inhabitants), it's far better than Planet Walking Pneumonia. I'm glad to be back, and I am back just in time to give you my 2010 reading statistics. If I'd gotten back much later, I probably would just have said, "oh, screw it."
For the past two years, I've included my favorites for each category. This year, I'm including favorites and least favorites. Yet again, I have made an effort not to repeat any titles when it comes to naming them, so nothing will show up as a favorite or least favorite in, say, both "# of books read by female authors" and "# of children's/ya books read." Even if I actually happened to like something better than what's actually in a specific category, if it's already been mentioned in another category, or I plan to mention it in another category, I have chosen something else (it's called lying with statistics, so I can give you more titles). Also, I am one of those people who calls listening to audiobooks "reading," so audiobooks are included in my grand total "read" and show up as favorites and least favorites where appropriate. Finally, I only count published books. I don't count the manuscripts I read for work (although maybe I should).
Anyway, here you go:
# of books read: 102. Just four years ago, I was reading about half that many books a year. As contradictory as it may seem, I credit blogging with the increase in number. You-all just make me want to read so much. I can also credit telecommuting. I used to spend 90 minutes a day driving to and from work (sometimes longer when Bob was in seminary). I can now spend that 90 minutes reading.
FAVORITE: The King of Elfland's Daughter - Lord Dunsany
LEAST FAVORITE: The Secret Letters of Marilyn Monroe and Jackie Kennedy - Wendy Leigh
# of pages read: 24241. That's a cool number, huh?
# of female authors read: 52. Yea! This feminist finally read more female than male authors.
FAVORITE: The Likeness - Tana French
LEAST FAVORITE: A Royal Pain - Rhys Bowen
# of male authors read: 47. Still reading plenty of male authors, though, just to prove I am not a sexist, anti-male feminist.
FAVORITE: Farewell, My Lovely - Raymond Chandler
LEAST FAVORITE: The Shack - Wm. Paul Young
# of edited collections of pieces written by both male and female authors: 2
FAVORITE: The Haunted Looking Glass: Ghost Stories Chosen by Edward Gorey - Edward Gorey, ed.
LEAST FAVORITE: To Do Justice: A Guide for Progressive Christians - Rebecca Todd Peters and Elizabeth Hanson-Hasty. Not because it was all bad. Gary Dorrien, one of the men I most admire in the world and am proud to know, contributed a chapter. But because it was uneven and because, well, I only read two such edited collections. If this one isn't my favorite, then, logically, it's my least favorite.
# of American authors: 58. Yep, it appears I am still a nationalist when it comes to reading, which is quite disappointing.
FAVORITE: American Pastoral - Philip Roth
LEAST FAVORITE: Cleaving - Julie Powell
# of non-American authors: 40
FAVORITE: Slaves of Solitude - Patrick Hamilton
LEAST FAVORITE: The Giant O'Brien - Hilary Mantel
# of non-American authors translated into English: 6. I wish I could read and understand multiple languages, so I could read everything in its original language, but I am terribly dyslexic when it comes to foreign languages, and so, I have to read everything I read written by authors from non-English-speaking countries in translation.
FAVORITE: The Elegance of the Hedgehog - Muriel Barbery
LEAST FAVORITE: Death Rites - Alicia Giminez Bartlett
# of edited collections of pieces written by both American and non-American authors: 2
Exact same favorite and least favorite as the male and female category. The only other edited collection I read in 2010 was This is Not Chick Lit: Original Stories by America's Best Women Writers - Elizabeth Merrick, ed. Obviously, it doesn't fall under either the male/female or the American/non-American collection category. It was good, but I would argue with that word "Best" in the title. Some of them couldn't possibly be among our best writers.
# of volumes of poetry: 8. I can no longer claim I don't read poetry.
FAVORITE: Begin Again: Collected Poems - Grace Paley
LEAST FAVORITE: None. I liked them all, which means I can also no longer claim that I don't read poetry because I don't really like it.
# of volumes of short stories: 6
FAVORITE: Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk - David Sedaris
LEAST FAVORITE: Again, none. Seems I also need to stop saying I don't like short stories.
# of plays: 2. Did I at some point say I was going to read more drama in 2010? Shame on me!
FAVORITE: Othello, the Moor of Venice - William Shakespeare
LEAST FAVORITE: The Effects of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds - Paul Zindel. Only by default, because there were only two. I loved, loved, loved it and wish I could see it performed (the folks who are now at The Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, CT could do a marvelous job with it, I'm sure), and I probably ought to see the movie. But, well, you know, it isn't Shakespeare...
# of graphic works: 8. (That's if you don't count all six of Nick Bantock's Griffin and Sabine books, which I don't. I don't really know how to classify them.) Okay, so maybe I read so many books this year, because so many of them were graphic or written by Nick Bantock.
FAVORITE: Believe it or not, it's a really tough call for a year in which I read 3 more of Neil Gaiman's Sandman collections (brilliant, brilliant, imaginative, creative stuff!), all three of the Persepolis books (I learned so much!), and The Complete Peanuts, 1950-1952, but for some reason Beowulf - Garth Hinds, just manages to squeak past the others. (Oh, who am I kidding? It's because Beowulf is one of my all-time favorite pieces of literature. Shhh! Don't tell me it's a poem and that I supposedly don't like poetry.)
LEAST FAVORITE: French Milk - Lucy Knisley
Not horrible; I like Knisley's drawing style. Just not great, especially when stacked up against all those others.
# of unfinished books: 4
FAVORITE: (Seems odd that there would be a favorite here, but there is.) Gulliver's Travels - Jonathan Swift. I will finish it. I'm just taking my time, and I've read it before, so I can do that.
LEAST FAVORITE: Bel Canto - Ann Patchett. I did try to understand why it's so beloved. And I read much, much more of it than I typically read when I give up on a book. In fact, I'm not really sure why I didn't finish it, because I certainly didn't hate it the way I, say, hated Cleaving, which I managed to finish, but still, it's here, unfinished and least favorite.
# of audiobooks: 5. Maybe this should really be 6 1/2 because I listened to about 1/2 of 3 others (The Haunted Bookshop, American Pastoral, and Jane Eyre) before deciding to finish them in print, but let's stick with 5, which was all I listened to from start to finish.
When You Are Engulfed in Flames - David Sedaris. The only thing better than reading David Sedaris is hearing him read his stuff.
LEAST FAVORITE: Away - Amy Bloom
# of rereads: 4
FAVORITE: My Family and Other Animals - Gerald Durrell
LEAST FAVORITE: The Murder of Roger Akroyd - Agatha Christie. Once again, only by default. Poor thing. Despite how much I enjoyed it, it just can't measure up to Jane Eyre, Othello, and My Family and Other Animals.
# of children/y.a. books: 5
FAVORITE: The Twelve and the Genii by Pauline Clarke. I won it from Ms. Musings, and it was superb (especially accompanied by English Mars Bars).
# of 21st-century books: 53. Hmmm...still reading more of those than any others, despite claiming I don't read much contemporary stuff. Chalk it up to graphic works and chick lit.
FAVORITE: Life of Pi - Yann Martel. A book about storytelling whose main character's name really does come from 3.14? How could I not love it?
LEAST FAVORITE: Wishin' and Hopin' - Wally Lamb. It's not that I disliked it so much. It's just that I read so much other stuff that was much better.
# of books written between 1950 and 1999: 33
FAVORITE: The Talented Mr. Ripley - Patricia Highsmith. Tells you how weird I am that something so creepy winds up as a favorite.
LEAST FAVORITE: A Window over the Sink - Peg Bracken. I sure chose a lot of not very good books for my 2010 TBR challenge. It wasn't that this one was really so bad, but it certainly doesn't hold a candle to Bracken's other books, and I was extremely disappointed.
# of books written between 1900 and 1949: 8. Supposedly this is my favorite literary era, and yet I only read 8?! How pathetic is that?
FAVORITE: The Haunted Bookshop - Christopher Morley. One long TBR list disguised as a wonderful, light, romantic mystery.
LEAST FAVORITE: okay, put a gun to my head...No, not even with a gun to my head can I name a least favorite. I guess this really is my favorite era. Either that, or I just choose to ignore the more difficult works written back then.
# of 19th-century books: 3
FAVORITE: Oh, how can it not be Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte?
LEAST FAVORITE: Pleading the Fifth again. I guess the 19th century is another one of my favorite eras, despite what seems to be evidence to the contrary.
# of 18th-century books: 0
Of course, by the logic I used for the last two categories, this would be my favorite era of all. It's not, but that doesn't mean I should have completely ignored it in 2010. Oh well...
# of 17th-century books: 1
Have I mentioned Othello already? I have? Rats! It really ought to be here.
# of 15th and 16th-century works: 0
Maybe I'll invite them and the 18th century to a party this year to let them know I don't hate them.
# of Pre-15th-century works: 2
FAVORITE: The Bhagavad Gita
LEAST FAVORITE: None. Beowulf already showed up as a favorite elsewhere.