Happy almost 2011! I’m pleased to be back from my annual Christmas trip to Georgia (Atlanta-ish), and glad to have been re-united with my suitcase, which made it back to NYC two days earlier than I did. I’m planning a very low-key night here in slushy Brooklyn: I’d hoped to go see the steam whistles on the Pratt campus (my favorite New Year’s Eve event, seriously—go watch someone else’s daytime warm-up video of it here, and then imagine all that steam and even more of it on a dark and chilly night, and imagine the noise of it, the biggest whistles so deep you can feel them thrum in your chest). But my boyfriend and I are both sick, so leaving the apartment is looking unlikely, and while he bought us some pear cider with which to celebrate, I’m not sure either of us will even be awake at midnight. Honestly, I’m ready for 2010 to be over. There have been good things, including a really fun solo vacation to San Francisco (featuring tons of bookshops, tons of walking, and tons of good coffee) but there’s also been a lot of feeling grumpy and frazzled. I am aiming for a 2011 that will contain less grumpiness and frazzledness, and more of the good stuff (static trapeze! long walks! bike riding! cooking!).

As for books, though, 2010 has been a good reading year for me: when I was feeling too hot to cook/too grumpy to do anything, I usually managed to find something I wanted to read. My book list for this year contains 63 books, which is significantly more than the amount I read last year, though note that I’m counting three picture books, and I read a whole lot of kids’/YA chapter books this year, too.

The breakdown:

  • Picture books: 3
  • Other kids’/YA books: 17
  • Fiction (for grown-ups): 26
  • Non-fiction: 11
  • Poetry: 6
  • Works in translation: 10
  • Books by women: 27
  • Books by men: 36

Favorites: Bluets by Maggie Nelson: I think this was my favorite thing I read all year. Delicious delicious delicious poetry. Everything I read by Connie Willis: though I see the flaws in her writing (some stylistic tics, characters who aren’t that fleshed out), it’s great for what it is: exciting/plot-driven historical fiction, with time travel. Fire and Hemlock and The Homeward Bounders and Dogsbody by Diana Wynne Jones: she’s just so good! The Rehearsal by Eleanor Catton: stylistically exciting, unexpected, an all-around delight.

Re-reads: I think just The House with a Clock in its Walls, though I might have read the other Bellairs books when I was a kid too, I don’t know: this one’s the only one I remember having read for sure.

Books I expected to like way more than I actually did: Montmorency and the Assassins, which wasn’t quite as smart as I wanted it to be. Psychogeography, which was snarkier than I wanted it to be.

The TBR pile: I read just six books from my list for Emily’s TBR challenge, but the first one was a long one!

  • The Captive & The Fugitive by Marcel Proust, translated by C.K. Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin: I finished this one in late February, and thought it was a bit of a slog at times, it was also really excellent.
  • Eating for England by Nigel Slater: I read this one in late March: it was indeed light and fun, though sometimes repetitive.
  • The Great Brain by John D. Fitzgerald, which I read in mid-March: it was sweet, and I liked the historical details, but the lack of girl characters was a bit off-putting.
  • The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, which I read in August and found pretty unputdownable, though the end annoyed me.
  • Waiting for the Weekend by Witold Rybczynski, which I also read in August, and really liked: yay smart nonfiction, indeed.
  • Witch Grass by Raymond Queneau, which I read in November for the NYRB Reading Week challenge, and which was funnier and more satisfying than I initially thought it might be.

Plans for 2011: I’m going to carry over the rest of my TBR challenge list, because they all are still books I would like to read. I’d also like to finish up my ongoing Proust project—Time Regained is sitting on my shelf just waiting for me. I want to re-read Susan Cooper’s “The Dark is Rising” sequence. Cloud Atlas feels like it’s calling my name. And that’s about as much planning as I’ve done so far.

9 Responses to “What I Read in 2010/Plans for 2011”

  1. Dorothy W. Says:

    Good luck with finishing Proust — that’s an accomplishment! I hope you have a great 2011.

  2. Heather Says:

    Thanks! I’ve been reading Proust very slowly, with lots of other stuff in between – I read Swann’s Way back in December 2007/January 2008 – and while sometimes I feel like I shouldn’t have spaced it out quite so much, mostly it’s been working out nicely for me.

    I hope your 2011 is excellent, book-wise and other-wise, as well!

  3. Frances Says:

    I hope to finish Proust this year too, and appear to be in the same spot as you. It has been a marvelous ride, and really hope that the less-edited end does not disappoint. Good luck with the 2011 reading plan!

  4. Heather Says:

    Frances, thanks, and I hope your 2011 reading is enjoyable as well. I look forward to reading what you think as you finish Proust!

  5. Danya Says:

    Happy New Year! The steam whistles look like they’d be a lot of fun. I hope your illness has passed and the start to this new year is greatly improving. Good wishes with all the proposed 2011 reading.

  6. Heather Says:

    Danya, thanks, I’m feeling better indeed, and looking forward to the rest of 2011 being better than the very start of it. I hope the year’s a good one for you as well, reading-wise, writing-wise, and otherwise!

  7. Vishy Says:

    I am late in commenting, Heather. Wish you a very Happy and Wonderful New Year!

    Congratulations on a wonderful reading year in 2010! Your reading is so diverse! I loved the fact that your most favourite book of the year was a book of poetry.

    Marcel Proust is on my ‘TBR’ list and I hope to read his works one day. I want to read Diana Wynne Jones too.

    Looking forward to reading your posts this year. I will try to be a more regular commenter this year :)

    Happy Reading!

  8. Heather Says:

    Vishy, thanks, and happy 2011 (and happy reading!) to you as well!

  9. Vishy Says:

    Thanks Heather!

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