Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Recap and 2012 Goals

When the year started, I was coming off a high of reading 120 books in 2010 but looking forward to a year of remodeling and possibly moving and realized that there was no way that goal was achievable in the midst of all that so I scaled it back a bit and I'm happy that I was able to not only meet but surpass my original goal.  Admittedly there were some shorter novellas in there which I think had a lot to do with it but there were longer books as well so I think it all balances out.

I think my biggest achievement is that I read 40 new authors this year.  Had to race a bit at the end to get that in but I did and I'm happy I did it.  Some of them I loved (Ilona Andrews, Neil Gaiman, and Karen Marie Morning) and some I simply enjoyed for what they had to offer (Simon Green).  Some I learned a lot from (all the authors of the middle school history series and the autism books).  I can't look back at this year and find one book that I simply didn't enjoy on some level.  Not all were favorites by any means but all had something that could be enjoyed.  I think my least favorite was a toss-up between 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Watership Down.  Neither of them gripped me as much as I wanted them to and seemed to plod quite a bit.  I'd have a hard time picking a favorite tho as there were so many good ones to choose from, so I'm not going to.  

The only bummer is that I wasn't able to complete the page count I had set-up for myself but it was fairly high and my average page count for books was down from the previous year.  This next year will see the end of our remodel and should finally include the move.  It should also include a 5+ day cruise during which I want to see just how many books I can burn through.  LOL

So my goals for 2012 are 110 books, 40 new authors, and 35,000 pages.  My other goal is to see if I can read more books than I end up adding to my to-read list.  Not sure that is actually possible as I get them for gifts, pick up new ones at used book sales and stores, grab what looks interesting from the Kindle freebies, read the ones my kids get that they love and want to share with me, plus get new ones in all my favorite series and by my favorite authors.  Right now according to Goodreads, I have 1,171 books on my to-read shelf.  Shelfari has it 1,164.  Not sure where the discrepancies  are and I'm too lazy to go try and figure it out.  It will be interesting to see where those numbers are in a year.

Friday, December 30, 2011

104:109 The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor by Kirkman & Bonansinga

Based on the comic and television show, this is the backstory of Philip Blake, the Governor of Woodsbury.  Having run into him in what I've read of the comics, I have to say I wasn't expecting the ending this took but it was a compelling read that drags you in and keeps you reading until the end.  A must read for fans of the comics.  If you are just a fan of the tv show, you might want to wait until he's actually introduced as a character there first.

Page count: 308p/32,165p ytd

And with that, I hit my goal of 40 new authors for the year.  No way am I getting in another almost 3,000 pages read in the next day so that goal isn't going to get met but still, lots of reading has been done and most of it was good.  Time to start thinking about what my reading challenges will be for next year.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

104:108 The Analects by Confusious

I have mixed feelings about this one and I think a lot had to do with the translation I was reading.  There were some absolutely brilliant pieces of wisdom in this that I wholeheartedly agree with but for the most part, I found it jumpy with a lot of inconsequential pieces in there (the part about how to draw a bow for example).  I also found it highly repetitive and not just the parts where every sentence would be repeated which made it very confusing.   I've got a different translation which I've heard is better so I'm going to give it another go.  There is so much sense in many of his views on government that it's well worth the read...if you have a good translation. Maybe we could make it required reading for our own governing bodies.

Page count: 160p/31,857p ytd

Monday, December 26, 2011

104:107 Naamah's Curse by Jacqueline Carey

The second book in the Naamah trilogy.  It's been about 2yrs since I read the first one so I admit to not remember many of the finer details but there was enough flashback stuff to remind me of the important bits but not be tedious about the reminders.  Moirin has decided to chase after Bao and the missing part of her diadh-anam that he carries within him.  They are joined and she will not feel complete until they are together again and can figure out how to live with what has been done to bring him back to life.  In her quest to find him, she finds so much more than she bargained for and must face dangers beyond any she had ever dreamed of.  Will she renounce her gods and their destiny for her and how will it affect Bao if her diadh-anam is exstingueshed through that renouncement?  Or will she find the strength to carry-on even if it means death?

A compelling read.  Unlike in the Kushiel series, there is a tenderness and sweetness to Moirin that Kushiel didn't have in the same way.  She's not well-educated and so much is based on her intuition and relationship with nature.  She's rash and impulsiveness but in that way that has you nodding your head and saying "yep, I can see exactly why she did that and I can see myself doing the same thing".  I thoroughly enjoyed this one and will be starting the last book in the trilogy as soon as I get home.

Page Count: 567p/31,697p ytd

Friday, December 16, 2011

104:106 The First Americans by Joy Hakim

Book 1 in the History of Us series which we are using for 5th & 8th grade US History.  It's a two year course so I'll be working on these for a while.  Honestly, I'm not overly thrilled with the series.  It's very jumpy in it's telling and the language isn't as engaging as I was hoping for.  Matthew loved it in 5th grade but hates it now.  I can see why.  It's working well for Jonathan tho with the super short chapters.  So long as it's working, we'll stick with it but I was so hoping for something more engaging like the Oxford series we did for middle school Ancient History.

Page count: 165p/31,130p ytd

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

104:105 Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder

This book tells the story of a year in her husband's childhood.  It was a wonderful insight into a boys' life in a different part of the country and the attitudes of the time.  I'm enjoying reading about the earlier times in our country's past and I really enjoyed sharing it with Jonathan.

Page Count: 357p/30,965p ytd

104:104 The Story of Martha by Dan Abnett

Doctor Who novel.  This tells of Martha's journey during the year of the Master's reign on Earth.  I had hoped for a bit more of her travels but mostly it concentrates on the stories she tells of adventures with the Doctor that we didn't see in the show.  It was interesting but not fabulous.

Page count: 238p/30,608p ytd

And with that I've made my book count for the year with a few weeks to spare.  I've only read 38 new authors tho and just under 31,000 pages so I'll be working on trying to complete those before the end of the year.

104:103 The Good, The Bad, and The Uncanny by Simon Green

The 10th book in the Nightside series.  Walker is dying and has decided that John is the only person who can take over his job.  Larry Oblivion is still upset by the disappearance of his brother, Tommy, who John was supposed to be taking care of during the Lilith War.  Larry and Tommy's brother Hadleigh, Walker's predecessor and now the Detective Inspectre, has been seen around which is never a good thing.  In all, a typical day in John Taylor's life.

Lot's of stuff goes down in this one and it's interesting to finally get a bit more inside Walker's head as he is taking John around trying to convince him to take his place and I think it will be interesting to see where things go from here now that Walker is gone.  John has said he won't step into his shoes but if he doesn't, who will?

Page count: 273p/30,370p ytd

Saturday, December 10, 2011

104:102 Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

I really didn't know what to expect from this book.  The cover has a picture of a little girl floating a few inches over the ground and the dust jacket talks about children who may have been more than peculiar, they may be dangerous.  The only other thing I knew is that it was coming highly recommended from the people at my bookstore and a couple of friends.

So what is it about?  Jacob's grandfather has filled Jacob's head with fantastical stories from a young age about monsters and a fairy island and peculiar children with amazing talents.  As with all children tho, Jacob grew up and eventually became disillusioned with his grandfather's tales.  Until the night his grandfather was murdered and Jacob saw something out of a nightmare in the dark.  Now he wants to figure out the meaning of his grandfather's last words and that leads him on an adventure he never could have imagined to find not only his grandfather's past but himself as well.

Incredibly engaging, well written characters.  The black and white photographs woven into the book were a fantastic touch and the whole story was captivating.  A definite must read!

Page count: 348p/30,097p ytd

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

104:101 If I'm So Smart, Why Can't I Lose Weight? by Brooke Casillo

A friend recommended this one to me and it was eye-opening.  There were some tools (as she calls them) that I found incredibly helpful and have started using already.  There were some that I had only recently figured out in the last year or so before reading this and it was nice to see validation of what I believed from another source.  There are others that I think it will take more time to internalize and I need to do her exercises on them to fully incorporate but they will be helpful in the long-run.  I read through it quickly the first time to get a feel for the information she was presenting and I want to noodle it a bit before diving into it again.  The 100 Days of Weight-Loss that I am doing seems to be very on track with many of the same concepts but I think the next time I feel my program slipping I will be picking this back up and going over it more slowly, taking time to do all the exercises and letting each one sink in more fully before moving on.

Page count: 246p/29,749p ytd

Thursday, December 1, 2011

104:100 The Cricket on the Hearth by Charles Dickens

I don't know why it took me so long to get around to reading this as it was part of a treasury of classics that I've had since I was little but I always just read A Christmas Carol and never kept going.  It was Matt's bookclub read for December so I decided to go ahead and finally read it.

It was a sweet tale and endearing although I could have wished that John had trusted in Dot enough to speak with her although that wouldn't have given us the scene of hearth and home.  

I did try reading it to Jon and Nick but it was too slow moving to keep their attention.   Pretty sure Matt is going to feel the same way.  It definitely feels more like an adult tale than a children's due to the pacing.

Page count: 90p/29,503p ytd