Friday, December 26, 2008

Reading Year in Review 2008

I don’t like book challenges because my reading tastes are too eclectic to stick to one genre, but I had hoped that by joining the 100 Books Challenge (no specific requirements outside of the number of books) I would increase my reading in 2008. It didn’t happen. I actually read 54 books this year which fits the goal I set for myself 20 years ago of one-book-per-week.

I had hoped to increase my book intake this year, especially with audiobooks. (I raved about them in my “Best of 2007” blog), but several things happened to change that goal. First, I found that audiobooks are good, but never quite as satisfying as reading an actual book. Second, we moved and all the transitions to the new city TOOK TIME and made fitting in extra reading time a real challenge. And third, I discovered that I don’t like speeding through books to meet a goal or deadline. I want my “reading life” to be challenging, but not a chore. And rushing through a book is like watching scenery race by through a car window. I prefer to savor the view. Here are my thoughts on the books I read this year:

Book that required the most effort but gave the most pleasure: Middemarch by George Eliot.

Book that gave the most pleasure with the least amount of effort: Mrs ‘Arris Goes to Paris

Best audiobooks: Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell (through Librivox) and China Court read by Julie at Forgotten Classics

Most inspirational: Renew my Heart by John Wesley and Imitation of Christ by á Kempis

Biggest surprises (books I did not expect to like so much) Much Ado about Nothing by Shakespeare, Hard Times by Dickens, and Elijah of Buxton

Most comforting (excluding the Bible): Jane Eyre


Anonymous said...

I have download some audiobooks, but I never read them.I still like the feeling of reading the actual books:the smell of old paper, the close feeling of words and I can make notes between the lines...It is a huge effort to read 54 books a year!!I try to keep the progress of reading 1 or 2 books a week,but sometimes I have to spend more than 3 weeks to finish a good book~~Never mind, I enjoy the time when reading~~Hope u can catch up more wonderful books in 2009

DebD said...

I love these kinds of lists and enjoyed Middlemarch when I read it a few years ago.

Anonymous said...

What a great list! I agree with you about audiobooks -- good, but I need that visual, tactile connection.

I'm going to put the Wesley book on my TBR list.

Anonymous said...

Jane Eyre is my all time favourite reads..

Beth F said...

Nice post. I know what you mean about not wanting reading to become a chore. I've set up my challenges this year to catch me up on my TBR stack and wish list. That means I probably won't be reading that many brand new books, but I'm usually a few years behind anyway!

I average 2 books a week, without speed reading.

Robin M said...

Great post. You are right, reading should never be a chore. I challenge myself to read different genre's and keep track of what i'm reading. Have discovered many books that would have never considered in the past. Surprisingly, I did enjoy Jane Eyre.

Anonymous said...

I have a similar problem with audiobooks. I enjoy them, but I find it tough to make time for them because they just don't replicate the feel of actually reading.

Carol in Oregon said...

What I enjoy about audiobooks is that I can convert chore time to reading time. Also, I live in a rural area where it takes 1/2 hour + to get anywhere. My life is somewhat cloistered: one son left at home (who works part-time), so I can listen to books without shutting family members out.

What I dislike about audiobooks is that the best quotes get away from you. It's also easy to disconnect mentally and suddenly have no idea what where you are in the plot. I often start my reading/listening in a spot before the place I stopped to pick up the context.

Great post, Hope, as usual.

Carol in Oregon

Julie D. said...

Hope, thank you! You made me so happy that China Court made your list. It was such a difficult book to read, hoping that the time jumps and different points of view got across ok.

I love both audiobooks and regular reading ... I will pick up a book after hearing the audio and then that voice becomes what I "hear" when reading it. For instance, Neil Gaiman's Anansai Boys is fantastic both in audio and text.

Heather VanTimmeren said...

I love your blog's title and description. After reading several contemporary novels this past year, I'm making a conscious effort to read classics and things of value. Your list is so concise and helpful. Several of these will go on my TBR list.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for commenting on my review of Cry, the Beloved Country. Sorry for the lack of a spoiler warning. I should get better at including those.

It's really a worthwhile read!

Laura Essendine said...

I too use audio books as a back up. Here in the UK you can borrow them from the local lending library for a small fee (free if you have visual impairment) so I take a couple whenever I have a project on at home like decorating or sewing. When you're doing something mundane it's lovely to let your mind wander and I tend to try different genres in audio books than my usual reading taste.

The BBC do some excellent adaptations of some of the books you've mentioned and they're very highly recommended. Middlemarch was just lovely.

Laura Essendine
Author – The Accidental Guru
The Accidental Guru Blog
The Books Limited Blog

Carrie said...

Middlemarch! I was supposed to read that this past year but didn't. Glad to know you enjoyed it. Maybe I'll get to in 2009. I suppose anythign is possible at this point!