Friday, December 31, 2010

Best of 2010

Here is my statistical analysis of my reading in 2010. I read more than I'd expected to, being extremely busy this year, so I am pleased by the results. I did find a few great books, but overall there were not as many outstanding reads as last year. Perhaps that was also due to my level of focus and concentration this year.

Total Reading: 158


Female: 114
Male: 35
Nongendered (collections, multiple authors, etc.): 8

Genre etc.

Fiction: 100
Non Fiction: 54
Poetry: 3

In translation: 11

French (Quebecois): 3
French (Africa): 1
Norwegian: 1
Dutch: 1
Russian: 1
Portuguese: 1
Arabic: 1
Swedish: 2

And for an interesting statistic that I started keeping after seeing at the Book Zombie a year or two ago:

My Own Books: 71
Library Books: 87

I've never had such a balance between these two numbers before -- all that focus on reading from my own shelves really paid off. I have passed on quite a few of the titles that were being neglected on my shelves and feel great that they were read and have a chance of being read again.


As for my favourite reads -- I've chosen them simply as the titles that were most enjoyable to read, or most memorable in some way. Whether it was the writing itself, the ideas in the book, or simply how much fun I had reading, these were the stand-outs this year. They are not in ranked order, rather, in the order I read them. Except I must mention that Dianne Warren's Cool Water was really the outstanding read for me this year: I really loved it and have been pushing it on everyone ;)


1. Cleavage / Theanna Bischoff
I was intrigued by this tiny first novel. Found the writing and the construction of the book quite interesting and I liked the main character.

2. Cool Water / Dianne Warren
I've made no secret of my love for this book. It is definitely my favourite read of the year, and apparently the Governor General's Award committee agreed ;) It's an excellent book that I think everyone should read.

3. Sounding Line / Anne deGrace
A novel inspired by the true life mystery of a UFO crashing into Shag Harbour, Nova Scotia. It was a quiet read also focused on a family tragedy and had a great setting and characters. Memorable.

4. Gaudy Night / Dorothy Sayers
This was my first introduction to Sayers (and to Harriet Vane and Peter Wimsey) I loved it. I've now read four more of her novels, and am totally enchanted by Harriet and Peter. This is my favourite of her books though.

5. Where the River Narrows / Aimée Laberge
I've had this on my shelf for years but finally read it. Fabulous historical novel of Québec and a woman's family history. She's also a librarian, which caught my interest!

6. Things Go Flying / Shari Lapeña
Entertaining and new to me, I enjoyed this family story that is slightly off... with visits from beyond, and more.

7. Penelope's Way / Blanche Howard
This is a novel covering one year in a woman's life. It's her 70th year, and her vigorous approach to life and learning is fun, thoughtful and energizing.

8. The Woman in White / Wilkie Collins
I finally read this one this year, and it was great fun. It was Margaret Atwood's fave this year as well, and as she says, there's a reason it's never been out of print!

9. The Mischief of the Mistletoe / Lauren Willig
The latest in the Pink Carnation series, this was pure entertainment. A rogue Christmas pudding, a hero named Turnip, and a cameo by Jane Austen herself made this Regency-set romantic/humorous novel perfect for holiday reading. I never did review it, but I always look forward to new books in this series.


1. The Tale-Tellers / Nancy Huston (non-fiction)
A wonderful book focusing on the storytelling nature of humankind. Excellent.

2. Against the odds / Marjolijn Hof (juvenile novel)
Translated from Dutch, this was an amazing and lucky find. It doesn't talk down to young readers in any way.

3. Harvey / Hervé Bouchard (graphic novel)
I never did review this - but I received a copy from the publisher, Groundwood Books, and so I read it. And I cried over a graphic novel. True.

4. Lost Gospels / Lorri Neilsen Glenn (poetry)
I loved this volume of poetry from Brick Books. It's a keeper.

As always, it is very hard to select just a few "best reads" of the year. I like many of the books I read for many different reasons, so it's difficult to compare those reasons for enjoyment. But, these are a few that I can recommend as books that moved me, entertained me, and/or stuck with me. I'm looking forward to seeing everybody's 'best of' lists as well -- it always adds to my tbr immensely.


  1. I am especially hoping to be able to find Where the River Narrows and Cool Water here (lotsa luck ... you'd think finding a Canadian imprint here wouldn't be so hard), but these all sound pretty interesting.

    Happy New Year, Melanie!

  2. It sounds like a great year! I agree that Gaudy Night is a great book, as is The Woman in White. I hope 2011 is an equally good year for you!

  3. Fabulous on reading from your own shelves this year! That's such an accomplishment :-)

  4. This was the first year I compared how many books I got from the library to those off my own shelves, too. I was surprised how close the numbers were. Last year I only read three library books!

  5. Bridget - that is too bad that Canadian writing is so hard to find. I'll keep an eye out for pbk copies...

    Dorothy - I already have some great reads lined up! Hoping to run across some wonderful, serendipitous reads this year as well

    Aarti - I was surprised by the totals! But pleasantly so.

    Jeane - 3 -wow, I guess working in the library I have a lot more temptation every day when I see what is coming in ;)

  6. The Woman in White is one of my favorite all time books--how cool that it's on your list and Margaret Atwood liked it as well! I also love Gaudy Night. There are lots of new to me authors here--more to explore! Happy New Year!

  7. Good job reading from your shelves, that's an impressive number! Happy New Year!

  8. 158 books is an awesome total! I only made it to an even 100 this year, maybe when I retire I can get a few more read. ;) Best to you this New Year's Day!

  9. The Woman in White is the only one I'm familiar with from your list, but you sparked my interest in the Dianne Warren, especially the fact that it won the GGs. I didn't realize. Happy new year!!

  10. Cool Water doesn't look like it's available in the US, at least not yet. I will have to try and get my hands on a copy somehow!

    I read and loved WIW, too - and hearing that Margaret Atwood enjoyed it as well puts us in great company, I think!

    I read a lot more this year that in years past as well (not as much as you, though) and didn't find that I enjoyed as many books as I have in other years. I guess it is more about quality than quantity!

    Here's to a great year of reading in 2011!

  11. Thanks everyone, and I agree, WIW was great and I can't believe I waited so long to read it! ;)

    And I am very surprised that Cool Water isn't available in the States yet -- get on it, publisher peoples! :) Or of course, US readers could order a copy from or another Canadian online vendor...

  12. I picked up Cool Water in the drug store of all places as I was waiting for a prescription the day before my book-buying ban took effect. Glad I did after seeing it here!

  13. nathalie - a drugstore seems like a suitable place to find this... it might be where you'd find it in Juliet! And I am glad you got your hands on it the day before your book-buying ban - you won't be sorry :)


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