Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Rest of 2010: Reading Goals

As I've started working on my Best of 2010 list (it will be published here on December 31), I've been taking a look back on my reading year.
  • Books read (as of today): 68 I'm quite a bit behind my reading total for 2009, but one of my goals was to read deliberately, and I've done that. I've prioritized reading the major book award finalists. I may be reading less, but I'm reading better, reading more challenging literature and enjoying reading more than I did in 2009.
  • Genres: My reading this year has been predominantly contemporary literary fiction originally written in English.There has been a fair mix of historical and contemporary settings, but my focus on reading the prize winners and finalists has returned me to old favorite genre: literary fiction. When I started blogging, I explored genres outside of my comfort zone, and I enjoyed it. I found, however, that I spent so much time reading what everyone was talking about, I lost myself as a reader. 2010 has helped me find me again. I'd like to temper my reading with more backlist titles, but I also love being in the conversation about the modern literary landscape.
  • Length: I admit, I am a little afraid of chunksters. I may be commitment-phobic, but I'm working on it. I'm getting better at not avoiding books simply because of their length, but I still have a long way to go.
Overall, I'm really happy with my reading this year. I hope to take it even farther next year, but now I not only know I can, I know I enjoy it.

Before I can set my goals for 2011 (I am thinking about them already), I need to finish my goals for 2010. Here are the books I still hope to read before the end of 2010 (so I can't possibly finalize the Best of 2010 list yet!)
In Other Rooms, Other WondersI HotelLord of Misrule
Wolf Hall: A NovelParrot and Olivier in AmericaThe Finkler Question: A Novel

  • Pulitzer Prize finalist In Other Rooms, Other Wonders by Daniyal Mueenuddin
  • National Book Award finalist  I Hotel by Karen Tei Yamashita
  • National Book Award winner Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon
  • Orange Prize shortlist and 2009 Booker Prize winner Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
  • Booker Prize shortlist and National Book Award finalist Parrot and Olivier in America by Peter Carey
  • Booker Prize winner The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson
Yes, folks, I am a mere six books away from reading all of the Pulitzer Prize for Literature finalists, Orange Prize shortlist, Booker Prize shortlist, and National Book Award finalists. Sure, I haven't met a single goal of reading these lists before the prizes were announced (impossible for the Pulitzer, of course), but I did (or will) read them, and that is a triumph for me. In 2009, I read exactly zero of those.

My other goal reads before 2010 ends are the three novels in Amazon's Top 5 Fiction of 2010 that aren't in a series:
Freedom: A Novel (Oprah's Book Club)Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam WarTo the End of the Land

  • Freedom by Jonathan Franzen (I'm almost done!)
  • Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes
  • To the End of the Land by David Grossman
What are your reading goals for the rest of 2010? Which of these nine books I hope to read before 2010 ends should I start with?

9 comments:

  1. I'm really impressed at your year of reading deliberately. I really hope that you finish your 6 books as that would be a great achievement. I love the fact that Wolf Hall is on your list twice - I felt as though it needed the effort of two books ;-) Good luck!

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  2. I just added the top 3 photoed to my wish list. I Hotel, is one I am really curious about.

    You've read some great books this year Carrie.

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  3. I have Wolf Hall on my list, I can't wait to read that one!

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  4. I love the idea of reading deliberately--it's a phrase that for me encompasses what I want my reading to be.

    I agree that it's tough, as a blogger, to resist the pull of what everyone else is reading. You want to be part of the conversation, but you don't get to read the things you might really want to.

    I look forward to your Best of 2010 list!

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  5. I think you did great with your deliberate reading! One of my goals was to like more of the books I read this year than last, beyond just reading more. While i haven't done a specific math check, a cursory glance makes me think I achieved that so I am pleased. I'd be interested to know what you think of the booker win.

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  6. Wow! I am so impressed with your tenacity for reading all the prize winners and nominees! I need to go ahead and make a list like this for myself.

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  7. I have heard great things about In Other Rooms, Other Wonders - so I'd add that to the top of your list! I just bought it at a used sale and want to read it. I too, shy away from chunksters, but I've read three of late - Middlesex, American Wife, and So Much For That (which isn't THAT long) and they were all excellent. I didn't even notice their length.

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  8. Looks like you're having a great year so far. I keep track of how many books I read for myself, but the actual number doesn't really matter as long as I'm enjoying the books I choose. Good luck meeting your goals for the rest of the year!

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  9. I think a lot of readers find that it's easy to "lose themselves" when reading based mostly on others' recommendations, and thus slowly moving away from their roots. Obviously sometimes people find exactly what they're looking for in this manner (I have found my niche this way), but going back to what you enjoy - that's the most important. Reading is meant to be an enjoyable experience. Expand your horizons, sure, but ultimately we should read books and love them.

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Thank you for taking the time to comment. Happy reading!