Book rundown, 2010

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Welcome to the fifth annual overview of the books I’ve read in the past twelve months! This is that magical time of the year when, with a level of detail and tedium that can be quite literally painful, I survey every single damn book I read. Remember the magic from previous years? 130 books in 2006, 141 books in 2007, 83 books in 2008, and 101 books in 2009?

That same magic returns in force this year, and it is better than ever before! This will be the most magical book rundown seen yet, because this year, for the first time ever, I will regale you not only with bizarre little statistics but with the actual list of titles and authors I read! Now you, too, can follow along at home! Let’s get started!

Total books read, cover-to-cover: 112

Age Levels:

  • Adult: 102
  • YA: 9. This is a much lower count than in previous years. Lately I’ve been craving the depth and complexity that are usually (but of course not always) missing from Young Adult books.
  • Children’s: 1. Oops. Need to get to work on that.

Books read that were published in 2010:

  • 47, give or take. This number has been creeping up steadily each year, partly because I try to have fresh content for my book reviews at the library’s blog, and partly because, in trying to maintain a professional awareness of current books, I find myself reading a disproportionate number of descriptions of new books, rather than old books– and that, of course, is how most titles make their way into my To Be Read spreadsheet.

Nonfiction: 27

Fiction: 85

Genres:  (as some books have more than one genre, total exceeds 112)


  • Biography: 3
  • Crafts: 1
  • Diet: 1
  • Economics: 1
  • Grammar: 1
  • History: 2
  • Humor: 2
  • Instructional/How-to: 8 (three cookbooks, one craft book, one cleaning book, one diet book, one how-to-plant-trees book, one how-to-find-a-job book)
  • Literary Criticism: 1
  • Medical: 1
  • Memoir: 3
  • Music: 1
  • Science: 7
  • Social Science: 2
  • Travel: 2
  • Trivia: 1
  • True Crime: 1


  • Fantasy: 29
  • Historical Fiction: 21
  • Horror: 10
  • Humor: 8
  • Literary Canon: 2
  • Literary Fiction: 5
  • Mainstream: 6
  • Mystery: 20
  • Science Fiction: 14 (only this many because I got suckered into reading Kage Baker’s Company series. By the time I realized I didn’t like it I was too far in and had to finish.)
  • Superhero: 1
  • Suspense/Thriller: 6


  • Graphic novels: 18, of which 6 were nonfiction
  • Cartoon collections: 1: The Book of Bunny Suicides, by Andy Riley
  • Comics, sorta: 1: Edward Gorey’s Amphigorey
  • Novellas: 2 stand-alones and one collection of novellas
  • Short stories: 5 collections


  • Annual fat Russian novel: Notes from Underground, by Dostoevsky. There is something seriously messed up about the Russian psyche.
  • Re-reads: 12 (10 by Jim Butcher, 2 by Connie Willis)
  • Annual grammar book, A Little Book of Language, by David Crystal: disappointing



  • 82 total

Favorite new (to me) authors:

  • Frans Gunnar Bengtsson
  • Mark Bittman
  • Stephen DeStefano
  • Lev Grossman
  • Stieg Larsson
  • Linda Medley
  • Stephanie O’Dea
  • Bram Stoker
  • David Wong

Best book of the year:

Can’t pick between these two. Castle Waiting, by Linda Medley, filled me with joy. The Folding Knife, by K. J. Parker, filled me with despair.

Honorable mentions:

  • Let the Right One In, by John Ajvide Lindqvist
  • The Long Ships, by Frans Gunnar Bengtsson
  • Food Matters, by Mark Bittman
  • Coyote at the Kitchen Door: Living with Wildlife in Suburbia, by Stephen DeStefano
  • Notes from Underground, by Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky
  • The Magicians, by Lev Grossman
  • Skinny Dip, by Carl Hiaasen
  • Clan Apis, by Jay Hossler
  • Full Dark, No Stars, by Stephen King
  • Stieg Larsson’s Millenium trilogy
  • Make It Fast, Cook It Slow, by Stephanie O’Dea
  • Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary, by David Sedaris
  • Dracula, by Bram Stoker


  • Kage Baker’s Historical Fiction cum Science Fiction Company series has a couple of great characters and an extremely catchy plot hook, but she lost me with the pro-pedophilia, pro-rape message
  • The Possessed: Adventures with Russian books and the people who read them, by Elif Batuman, was boring. Boring I can forgive. What I cannot forgive is a book that promises to talk about Russian books and the people who read them, and then doesn’t.
  • What Color Is My Parachute?, by Richard Bolles. Why do I read bother with self-help books? I despise them. I might also point out that I have this year collected a healthy pile of rejection letters, balanced out by exactly zero (0) job interviews.

And finally… all the books I read! Sorted by author!

Aguirre-Sacasa, Roberto Stephen King’s the Stand: American Nightmares
Ajvide Lindqvist, John Let the Right One In
Anderson, Alun After the Ice: Life, Death, and Geopolitics in the New Arctic
Arnold, J.D. BB Wolf and the Three LPs
Atkinson, Kate Human Croquet
Bailey, Neal Female Force
Baker, Kage In the Garden of Iden
Baker, Kage Sky Coyote
Baker, Kage Mendoza in Hollywood
Baker, Kage The Graveyard Game
Baker, Kage The Life of the World to Come
Baker, Kage The Children of the Company
Baker, Kage The Machine’s Child
Baker, Kage The Sons of Heaven
Batuman, Elif The Possessed: Adventures with Russian books and the people who read them
Bender, Aimee The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake
Bengtsson, Frans Gunnar The Long Ships
Bittman, Mark Food Matters
Bolles, Richard What Color Is My Parachute?
Bray, Libba A Great and Terrible Beauty
Briggs, Patricia Moon Called
Brown, Jeffrey Cat Getting Out of a Bag
Brown, Jeffrey Incredible Change-Bots
Bryson, Bill In a Sunburned Country
Burns, Charles X’ed Out
Butcher, Jim Fool Moon
Butcher, Jim Grave Peril
Butcher, Jim Summer Knight
Butcher, Jim Death Masks
Butcher, Jim Blood Rites
Butcher, Jim Dead Beat
Butcher, Jim Proven Guilty
Butcher, Jim White Night
Butcher, Jim Small Favor
Butcher, Jim Turn Coat
Butcher, Jim Backup
Butcher, Jim Side Jobs
Butcher, Jim Changes
Butler, Robert Olen Severance
Carey, Jacqueline Kushiel’s Dart
Carey, Jacqueline Kushiel’s Chosen
Carey, Jacqueline Kushiel’s Avatar
Coben, Harlan Caught
Cronin, Justin Passage
Crystal, David A Little Book of Language
Deaver, Jeffery The Burning Wire
Deaver, Jeffery The Edge
DeStefano, Stephen Coyote at the Kitchen Door: Living with Wildlife in Suburbia
Dosa, David Making Rounds with Oscar
Dostoevsky, Fyodor Notes from Underground
Doxiades, Apostolos Logicomix
du Maurier, Daphne Classics of the Macabre
Eastland, Sam Eye of the Red Tsar
Franklin, Ariana A Murderous Procession
Franzen, Jonathan Freedom
Gaiman, Neil and Sarrantonio, Al Stories: All-New Tales
Garcia, Kami and Margaret Stohl Beautiful Creatures
Geary, Rick The Borden Tragedy
Gorey, Edward Amphigorey
Greene, Amy Bloodroot
Gregory, Daryl The Devil’s Alphabet
Grossman, Lev The Magicians
Heatley, Michael The Girl in the Song
Hely, Steve How I Became a Famous Novelist
Hiaasen, Carl Skinny Dip
Hill, Joe Heart-Shaped Box
Hill, Joe Horns
Hosler, Jay Clan Apis
Keller, Michael Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species: A Graphic Adaptation
Kernan, Piper Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison
King, Stephen American Vampire
King, Stephen Blockade Billy
King, Stephen Full Dark, No Stars
Kinney, Jeff Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth
Konigsburg, E.L. The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place
Krakauer, Jon Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman
Larsson, Stieg The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Larsson, Stieg The Girl Who Played with Fire
Larsson, Stieg The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest
Linnea, Ann Keepers of the Trees: A Guide to Re-Greening North America
McKinley, Robin The Outlaws of Sherwood
Medley, Linda Castle Waiting
Mina, Denise A Sickness in the Family
Neal, Nate The Sanctuary
O’Dea, Stephanie Make It Fast, Cook It Slow
Oliver, Lauren Before I Fall
Parker, K. J. The Folding Knife
Pollan, Michael Food Rules
Raicht, Mike The Stuff of Legend
Riley, Andy The Book of Bunny Suicides
Roach, Mary Packing for Mars
Rucka, Greg Batwoman: Elegy
Sachar, Louis The Cardturner
Saint-Exupery, Antoine de The Little Prince
Sedaris, Amy Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People
Sedaris, David Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary
Shell, Ellen Ruppel Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture
Simon, Scott Baby, We Were Made for Each Other: In Praise of Adoption
Singla, Anupy The Indian Slow Cooker Cookbook
Small, David Stitches
Stoker, Bram Dracula
Strauss, Rachelle Household Cleaning Self-Sufficiency
Taylor, Mark Crisis on Campus
Wells, Martha Death of the Necromancer
Willingham, Bill The Great Fables Crossover
Willingham, Bill Witches
Willis, Connie The Doomsday Book
Willis, Connie To Say Nothing of the Dog
Willis, Connie Blackout
Wong, David John Dies at the End
Wood, Brian Blood in the Snow
Wood, Brian Plague Widow

15 responses »

  1. eleemosynary archivist

    Read quickly; to be digested slowly. First newly created literary effort of MMXI .. Well read,Jess.. out-4-now 04:58/01-01-11May the New Year be a memorable one..EA/tgb

  2. Love Clan Apis

  3. I was thinking of you when I posted a similar list to FB last night. I've only read a few of the Company books but seem to have missed what bothered you – is it more in the later books? I'm surprised that Kushiels Dart didn't make your best of – I loved that book and think about re-reading it even though I don't have much time for re-reading these days. I loved like I love Outlander. I read all the Harry Dresden books last year, except the new ones. After the ending of Changes, I can't wait to read the next one. Did you like Sidejobs? The reviews weren't great, but I actually thought it was pretty good.

  4. the lesbrarian

    e. archivist: I'm just glad you read the books I tell you to. Most of my patrons are not nearly so compliant.

  5. the lesbrarian

    Todd: Clan Apis surprised me for how enjoyable it was. It was nice having all that biology sneak into my head under the disguise of a good story.

  6. the lesbrarian

    Other Jessica: The first four books or so of the Company series are just fine. The yucky parts show up later. Kushiel's Dart was borderline best-of for me. I really enjoyed them at the time, and I agree that they might be worth a re-read. It's just that I'm generally opposed to love stories, which is why Jacqueline Carey and Diana Gabaldon don't rate higher with me.I enjoyed Sidejobs and gave it to Mom for Christmas. I can't wait for April to find out what happens next.

  7. This is a great list, and I'm inspired. My New Year's resolution is to keep a list of all the books I read this year. I wish I'd done that my whole life. It would be interesting to chart how my interests have changed/developed/regressed over time. I didn't used to like mysteries, but now I find myself reading more of them. Ian Rankin, Ruth Rendell, Steig Larsson (more thrillers, I guess), Henning Mankell. And I've been turned onto Nicholas Blake (aka Cecil Day-Lewis) and Alexander McCall-Smith. I also enjoyed Jill Walsh's Dorothy Sayers novel, "A Presumption of Death." I didn't think I was going to like it, but once I got started I couldn't stop.Happy New Year and Good Reading.

  8. the lesbrarian

    Pam: I keep a spreadsheet. I make note of the author, title, genre, other genres, Nonfiction or Fiction, format (essays, short stories, etc.), and the year I read it, and whether it was a re-read. You don't have to be this elaborate, but I wholeheartedly encourage you to start keeping thaqt list.Glad to see you've joined the ranks of mystery readers. Carl Hiaasen is my favorite du jour, and I always feel obligated to put in a plug for John Dunning. You might try the Pers Wahloo books, since you liked Larsson and, more to the point, Mankell.I'll stop with the librarian stuff now. 🙂

  9. eleemosynary archivist

    Jess(the bibliographer) Thanks to your timely suggestion, the last book this fellow bibliophile read in the old year was E.A. Abbott's "Flatland". Ushered in MMXI with a glass of Cabernet recollecting the wonder Alice & Einstein shared for the Time-Space Continuum. Obrigado. ps: TwilightZone TV marathon following day included an episode drawn+/- from Abbott's Other Worlds Chapter..EA

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