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1. The Oldest Books in My Closet
1. The Pleasure of My Company (March)
2. A Tale of Two Cities (April)
3. The Underpainter (July)
4. Greengage Summer (August)
5. The Forgetting Room (August)
6. Ghost Stories of British Columbia (October)
7. Gothic Tales (October)
Books seem to sink to the bottom of the TBR pile to be forgotten in favour of newer books. For the last 5 years or so, I've tried to remember my older books and either read them or--if I've really grown out of them--give them away. I've discovered some real gems buried underneath all the newer books.
2. 1001 Books List
1. Ethan Frome, Edith Wharton (May)
2. Villette, Charlotte Bronte (May)
3. What Maisie Knew, Henry James (May)
4. the Death of Ivan Ilych, Leo Tolstoy (June)
5. the Lover, Marguerite Duras (August)
6. Possessing the Secret of Joy, Alice Walker (August)
Books from the 2006 edition of 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die. I use this list to discover authors and novels that I wouldn't otherwise read (or sometimes to encourage me to pick up books I've been meaning to get around to reading)
3. More 1001 Books
1. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Anne Bronte (September)
2. Regeneration, Pat Barker (November)
3. Love in a Cold Climate, Nancy Mitford (December)
4. Breakfast at Tiffany's, Truman Capote (December)
5. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen (December)
I've been reading about 25 books from the list each year, so I easily need a second category for this topic.
4. Big, Fat & Ugly
1. When Christ and His Saints Slept (Jan 9) FAT
2. the Bloody Chamber (May 21) UGLY
3. Light on Snow (June 2) BIG
4. The Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers (July 22) BIG
5. Giovanni's Room (August 27) UGLY
Ugly: I love beautiful books. Not just attractive covers, but also tactile appeal--nice paper, the right weight and balance, easy of opening . . . the whole package. Thus, any books that don't meet my standards of beauty need to get themselves out of my house. All books with yellowing paper, not enough white space, and ugly cover art are the ones I'm after. And mass market paperbacks. Yuck.
Big: These are books that take up too much room, especially hard cover editions. Included here are books that hurt my wrists when I read.
Fat: Chunksters, related to Big books, above.
I want to move these books out so I can fill my shelves with only beautiful books.
5. Children & YA
1. The Anybodies (June 5)
2. Psyche in a Dress (Aug 8)
3. Tom's Midnight Garden (Aug 13)
4. The Halloween Tree (Oct 25)
5. The Girl Who Cried Flowers (Dec 31)
A few years ago I was thinking of writing some children's books, and I got very interested in Kid's Lit. I've now moved on to other interests, but I have a lot of unread children's and YA novels hanging around. Time to read them or pass them along.
1. How to Read Novels Like a Professor, Thomas C Foster (February)
2. Have a Nice Doomsday, Nicholas Guyatt (May)
3. Brightsided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking has Undermined America, Barbara Ehrenreich (May)
4. Planet of Slums, Mike Davis (May)
5. Travel as a Political Act, Rick Steves (August)
6. Murder in Amsterdam, Ian Buruma
1. Cat's Eye, Margaret Atwood (April)
2. Life After God, Douglas Coupland (May)
3. The Girls, Lori Lansens (Aug)
4. The Little Girl Who Was Too Fond of Matches, Gaetan Soucy (Aug)
5. The Wars, Timothy Findley (Nov)
Another category returning for a third year. Still trying to catch up with the literature of my own country.
9. Award Winners
1. the Love of a Good Woman, Alice Munro (April) Giller Prize
2. the Slap, Christos Tsiolkas (April) Commonwealth Writers' Prize Best Book
3. Fault Lines, Nancy Huston (July) Prix Femina
4. The Eye in the Door, Pat Barker (November) 1993 Guardian Fiction Prize
5. Ghost Road, Pat Barker (November), Booker Prize
6. Amsterdam, Ian McEwan (December), Booker Prize
Another repeat category--this is another area that I'm trying to catch up on. Last year I planned to read mostly Booker, Giller and Orange books, but it worked out that I read all sorts of award winners. Not sure if I'll focus on any specific area this year or not.
10. Books Other People Want Me to Read
1. Palace Walk, Naguib Mahfouz (Jan)
2. Who Owns the World, Kevin Cahill (Jan)
3. Remarkable Creatures, Tracy Chevalier (Jan)
4. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Mary Ann Shaffer (Feb)
5. Family Album, Claribel Alegria (Feb)
6. Imperfect Birds, Anne Lamott (Feb)
7. Italian Journey, Goethe (Mar)
8. Ines of My Soul, Isabel Allende (Mar)
9. My Story: Bloody Tower, Valerie Wilding (May)
10. Salvation City, Sigrid Nunez (June)
11. Song Over Quiet Lake, Sarah Felix Burns (June)
12. Horse, Flower, Bird, Kate Bernheimer (July)
13. Sky Burial, Xinran (August)
14. Kabul Beauty School, D Rodriguez (August)
15. Garden in the Wind, Gabrielle Roy (September)
16. Sanctuary Line, Jane Urquhart (October)
17. Water for Elephants (October)
18. Annabel, Kathleen Winter (November)
19. Yes You Can! Your Guide to Becoming an Activist, Jane Drake (December)
These are books assigned for university, ER books, book club, gifts, and Belletrista review books.
Thanks, Mathgirl. I've added notes describing what I'm doing in each category. I also want to mention that for categories 1 - 9 I will only read books from Mnt TBR, specifically books that I own as of December 31, 2009. Category 10 can include either TBR books or new books.
I must be spontaneous when I pick books to read, so I would never complete my categories before I actually read the books. However, it is fun to jot down some options and then compare at the end of the year to see how it all turned out. Unfortunately, I have a knack for not reading the books once I've written them down. But still, in the spirit of fun only, I'm going to give myself some suggestions for each category.
1. The Oldest Books in My Closet that I'm sick of seeing include . . . The Preservationist, Death of a River Guide, Demolished Man, Galileo's Daughter and First Fruits.
2. & 3. 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die -
Well, my Dickens-a-Year will be The Tale of Two Cities, and my Austen-a-Year will be Pride and Prejudice, and I'm pretty confident I will actually read those two.
Some other possibilities are: the Tenant of Wildfell Hall, the Awakening, Orlando, the Third Man, Cat's Eye, and Memoirs of a Geisha.
edited to add: Dangerous Liasons, The Woman in White, and the Life of Pi.
15> I read Galileo's Daughter several years ago and thought it was very interesting. It's more about Galileo than his daughter, but I knew almost nothing about him (except his name, of course) and I found it very readable.
That's good to know, ivyd . . . his daughter lived in a nunnery, so I wasn't sure if that could hold my interest for the length of the book.
Galileo's Daughter sounds very interesting, and I've added it to my wishlist.
I've heard a lot of people mentioning Galileo's Daughter. I wonder if there would be enough interest for a group read?
LOL Zoe, weren't you just saying that you were in over your head with group reads? Also, you need to stop requesting really good ones because it just makes my group read pile bigger!!
#15 Death of a River Guide has been on my TBR pile for a while too. And I've resolved to read at least 20 books this year that have been hanging around a while, so maybe I'll join you when you get to that one.
1. When Christ and His Saints Slept, Sharon Kay Penman
Finally, my first book for 2010 completed. This one fulfills one FAT requirement for my Big, Fat and Ugly category. And it was indeed fat--it took me 14 days to read (and it was the only book I was reading, too).
Just found your thread - happy new year!
I somehow own 2 copies of The sunne in Splendour by Sharon Kay Penman, and I think one is on its way here in the boat. But it's so big and most of my reading is done in 20 minute chunks. Have you read it?
Looking forward to following your reading this year - those categories look great.
I haven't read that one, but I hear it's her best. I think it's going to take a lot of 20 minute chunks to get through though!
Some great books lined up Joyce. I did love Allende's Ines of my Soul but be forewarned, it's pretty grisly in places. I probably wouldn't have finished if it wasn't Allende's brilliant writing.
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I loved Mansfield Park--I think it's my favourite Austen. That might be because I studied it at school and we pulled it apart. There's a lot going on in it. I hope you enjoy it too!
I read Mahfouz's Children of Gebelawi last year based on a plot synopsis on Writer's Almanac. It was really interesting (although the gimmick was inevitably distracting), but unsympathetic characters do seem to be a pattern with him.
Here's the synopsis : His novel Children of the Alley (1959) is also well known. In it, Mahfouz portrays God in an allegorical manner, and he writes about feuding brothers who resemble Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed. The book was deemed blasphemy and was officially banned in all of the Arab world except Lebanon.
Oh, I think that's the book that almost got him killed. Interesting.
3. Who Owns the World: the Surprising Truth about Every Piece of Land on the Planet, Kevin Cahill
This ER book was the second book for my Books Other People Want Me to Read category. I want those hours back! It was truly dreadful! I've posted a review on the book's review page.
Oh Nickelini - that is unfortunate about the Cahill book.... and a true indication that people's reading tastes do differ, sometimes quite drastically. ;-0
Loved that review on the Cahill book. Did you see it made hot review status? Very funny.
Joyce, thank you for saving me from buying that one!! Another thumb for you... I hate that feeling of wasting my life on bad books.
Another thumb. The time you spent reading the book may have been wasted, but the time you spent writing the review to save the rest of us from the same fate certainly wasn't! Don't you just HATE that someone that cavalier about facts and accuracy can even get a book published, let alone sell any?
4. Remarkable Creatures, Tracy Chevalier
Another ER book, another book for my Books Other People Want Me to Read category. This time I loved the book though. The review is on the book's review page.
I SO want to read this book! I liked your review Joyce. Re:the bit about adding illustrations and Hippolyte's Island - what a wonderful book THAT was!
I think you'll like Remarkable Creatures, Terri. It's not a literary masterpiece or anything, but very enjoyable nonetheless.
I've enjoyed Chevalier's books so far - Pearl Earring, of course, and another that escapes me just now. I love the fossil hunting aspect and love historical fiction and stories about unconventional friendships and about women -- soooo! Onto the wishlist it goes.
5. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Mary Ann Shaffer
Yet another book for my Books Other People Want Me to Read category, this time my book club made me read it. Which is okay, because it was a very enjoyable, charming book. Definitely a comfort read. More comments at my 100 Book thread.
Arghh, Nickelini, I now want to abandon my home improvement projects and devote myself to creating an altered book.
They're so much fun . . . and easier than home improvement! (Not as good for the resale value of your house though).
6. Family Album, Claribel Alegria
Another book for my Books Othe People Want Me to Read category, this time for Belletrista.com. Look for my review in the upcoming Latin American issue.
7. Imperfect Birds, Anne Lamott
This is my third ER book this year, so of course it goes in my Books Other People Want Me to Read category. I'll post comments today on my 100 Book thread, but I was disappointed in this one.
Joyce, I really like Lamott's nonfiction/essays but have not been impressed with her fiction thus far.
Ah, well, I might be with you on that one, Terri. I really liked Bird by Bird, so I was expecting more with this one.
8. How to Read Novels Like a Professor, Thomas C Foster
The first book for my Non-fiction category. Worth reading--comments at my 100 book thread.
>58 This has been on my TBR pile for a while. It's one I intend to read at some point this year for my books & authors category. I'm hoping to learn some things from it that will help me be a better reader.
9. Italian Journey, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Yet another book for my Books Other People Want Me to Read category. Comments on my 100 Books thread.
10. Ines of My Soul, Isabel Allende
Look for my review in the upcoming Latin American issue of Belletrista.com.
I'm only aiming at six books in each of my 1010 category, but this is my eighth book in the Books Other People Want Me to Read category. That tells you what type of reading year I'm having.
11. The Pleasure of My Company, Steve Martin
My first book in the Oldest Books in My Closet category. It's not nearly as old as some books I own, but it's older than most of them, so it counts. Comments at my 100 book thread.
12. The Love of a Good Woman, Alice Munro
I had planned to use this one for my Oldest Books in My Closet category, or maybe CanLit, but then I saw how many awards it had won and so it's going in Award Winners.
13. the Slap, Christos Tsiolkas
I was going to put this in the Books Other People Want Me to Read category because the only reason I read this now is because it's my book club's April book. However, it won the Commonwealth Writers' Prize Best Book in 2009, so I'm putting it in Award Winners.
I really enjoyed your review - but I'm not reading The Slap! After Elizabeth Bowen I'm back wanting to like my characters.
14. A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
I obviously could have put this in my 1001 Books category, and I was tempted to put it in my Ugly Books category (yucky mid-20th century mass market paperback), but this one really had to go in the Oldest Books in My Closest. I bought it around 1990 (may have been as early as 1988) and I attempted to read it that day on the bus home, but didn't pick it up again until around 2000. That time I think I read chapter 1. But this time I stuck with it!
15. Cat's Eye, Margaret Atwood
The first book for my Canlit category. Comments to follow on my regular threads tomorrow.
18. Ethan Frome, Edith Wharton
Surprisingly good novella for my 1001 Books Category.
19. Have a Nice Doomsday: Why Millions of Americans are Looking Forward to the End of the World, Nicholas Guyatt
Another one for my Non-fiction category. Comments at my 100 Books and ClubRead threads.
20. the Probable Future, Alice Hoffman
The first for my magical realism category, although it's debatable whether this is MR or not.
21. Brightsided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Underminded America, Barbara Ehrenreich
Number three for my Non-fiction category.
22. the Bloody Chamber, Angela Carter
How can this slim volume with the attractive cover count under my Big, Fat & Ugly category, you might ask. Well, although I love the cover, the inside of the book was tres ugly--teeny, tiny font, lack of white space and cheap, yellowing paper. Several times I put this book back on Mnt TBR because I wasn't in the mood to read the smudgy small letters. That qualifies this book as ugly. Comments on the writing itself on my regular threads.
It does make a big difference in enjoying a book--how it's put together. There's a pleasure in holding a book with thick, creamy pages, and wide, balanced margins to rest the eyes. And the unpleasantness of smudged type too close to the binding or even a less than beautiful font.
24. Planet of Slums, Mike Davis
Another one for my Non-fiction category.
25. What Maisie Knew, Henry James
Number three for my 1001 Books category.
26. Light on Snow, Anita Shreve
Although this book was a quick read, and it was only 305 pages, I'm counting it as BIG for my Big, Fat & Ugly category. It's a hardcover that took up way too much space in TBR. Check this one off as "read and outa here".
27. The Anybodies, NE Bode
First book for my YA & Children's category. Comments on my usual threads.
28. Salvation City, Sigrid Nunez
Will review for a future issue of Belletrista.com, which makes this a book from the Books Other People Want Me to Read category.
30. The Death of Ivan Ilych, Leo Tolstoy
A brilliant little novel for my 1001 books category.
31. The Underpainter, Jane Urquhart
I was going to put this in my CanLit category, and then I thought maybe Award Winners (it won the Governor General's Award), but in the end the spirit moved me to put it under Oldest Books in My Closet.
32. Fault Lines, Nancy Huston
One for the Award Winners category, as it won the Prix Femina in France. I was going to put it in my CanLit group, but the author lives in France and the Canadian content is rather slight, so I'll save those spots for something more Canadian.
33. The Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers, Xiaolu Guo
This was a pretty quick read and under 300 pages, but my hard cover edition was unnecessarily large, so this one is going in my Big, Fat & Ugly category.
35. The Girls, Lori Lansens
Canadian literature category. Comments on the book at my usual threads.
36. Psyche in a Dress, Francesca Lia Block
One for my Childrens and YA category. Definitely would be in the adult part of the YA. Lots of sex and drugs and talk of rock-n-roll. I liked it more than I expected I would.
37. Orlando, Virginia Woolf
The second book for my Magic Realism category. I know, some people will be aghast and say "you can't considered Virginia Woolf as magic realism." Guess what? Yes I can. Sure, Orlando pre-dates the term, but the book includes exactly the elements I love in magic realism. And since the term is notoriously slippery, and isn't definitive, magic realism it is! YMMV.
Definitely one of my top reads for 2010.
38. Tom's Midnight Garden, Philippa Pierce
This kidlit classic definitely belongs in my Childrens and YA category.
39. the Lover, Marguerite Duras
One for my 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die category. I definitely could live a long and happy life without this book.
40. Travel as a Political Act, Rick Steves
A highly recommended book for my Non-fiction category.
41. The Little Girl Who Was Too Fond of Matches, Gaetan Soucy (translated from French by Sheila Fischman
A very interesting book for my Canadian literature category.
42. Murder in Amsterdam, Ian Buruma
Going into Non-fiction. Comments as usual on my 100 books challenge and ClubRead threads (links above).
43. Sky Burial, Xinran
Lucky number 13 for Books Other People Want Me to Read.
44. Greengage Summer, Rumer Godden
A fourth book from the oldest books in my closet.
45. The Forgetting Room, Nick Bantock
Another from the the oldest books in my closet.
46. Giovanni's Room, James Baldwin
Because I own a ratty mass market edition, this is an ugly entry for my Big, Fat & Ugly category. And I guess there is some ugliness in the text itself. However, it was a fabulous read and I enjoyed it immensely.
47. Kabul Beauty School, Deborah Rodriguez
I had no interest in this book but a friend put it in my hands and encouraged me to read it, so it's going in Books Other People Want Me to Read.
48. Possessing the Secret of Joy, Alice Walker
No. 6 for 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die.
49. The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera
This is going to strike some people as strange, but I'm putting this book in my magic realism category--not because the book actually is magic realism, but because that's the reason I read it . . . let me explain. A few years ago my university ran a course on magic realism that I wasn't able to take. But I kept a copy of the reading list, and the Unbearable Lightness of Being was one of the books required. I've never heard this book described thusly anywhere else, but thought I'd give it a try, and read it with an eye open for M.R. elements. There were two or three places that I'd say were definitely magic realism, but overall, nah, this isn't magic realism. Quite a wonderful book, though.
51. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Anne Bronte
It only took forever, but I finally finished this one for the More 1001 Books category.
53. Ghost Stories and Mysterious Creatures of British Columbia, Barbara Smith
With this book, I complete my Oldest Books from My Closet category. I bought this book in 1999 because I was beginning to work on a novel about a house in my neighborhood where I imagined a ghost lived (the story went nowhere). Anyway, I thought this would give me inspiration or something, but I also had very low expectations of its literary merit, and it went directly into Mnt TBR where I expected it to live forever. Surprise, surprise, it's ghostly voice called out to me and I actually read it. You just never know what is going to bubble out of Mnt TBR. More comments on this book at my regular threads, and off to the charity donation box it goes.
TBR piles are like glaciers, in that they throw up stuff randomly, one a few months old, then a five-year old book...
55. Gothic Tales, Elizabeth Gaskill
One of the Oldest Books in My Closet, this was a collection of four excellent and five "meh" stories and novellas. The four that I liked--I really liked. Full comments at the usual places.
56. Water for Elephants, Sara Gruen
Number 17 for my Books Other People Want Me to Read and it truly belongs in that category because I certainly had no interest in reading this!
57. Halloween Tree, Ray Bradbury
One more for my Children's and YA Lit category.
58. Annabel, Kathleen Winter
Number 18 from my Books Other People Want Me to Read category, and the very best of the lot. Comments to follow later at my usual comment threads, but I just want to say that I highly recommend this book.
Great to learn that Annabel comes highly recommended. No time this year to read it but have it in mind for next year!
59. Regeneration, Pat Barker
Another of the 1001 Books group. Comments soon at my usual place. Recommended.
60. The Wars, Timothy Findley
Put this one under CanLit, although I could have put it under 1001 Books, Oldest Books in My Closet or Award Winners. Highly recommended.
62. Ghost Road, Pat Barker
Into my Prize Winners category with this Booker Prize winner.
63. Love in a Cold Climate, Nancy Mitford
Another of the More 1001 Books group. Comments soon at my usual place. I had mixed feelings about this one, but in the end recommend it.
64. Breakfast at Tiffany's, Truman Capote
A short one to fill in my More 1001 Books group.
65. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
Yet another for More 1001 Books.
66. Yes You Can! Your Guide to Becoming and Activist, Jane Drake & Ann Love (no touchstone)
Number 19, and the last one for my books other people want me to read category.
67. Amsterdam, Ian McEwan
This Booker Prize winner goes into Award Winners.
68. The Girl Who Cried Flowers, Jane Yolen
My last 1010 book this year goes to Children and YA.
I set up my 1010 to include only books that were physically in my TBR pile as of December 31, 2009 (except for the 10th category, which was for books that other people wanted me to read).
Knowing that I read between 80 & 100 books a year, and seeing how effective the 888 and 999 challenges were for managing my reading, I approached the 1010 challenge with a strong sense of skepticism. I suspected that 10 categories was the pushing the limit of usefulness and meaningfulness. I know my reading, because in the end, I turned out to be right. For me, a 666, 777, 888, or even 999 challenge would be great. But any more categories, and it falls apart. Especially since I was only counting my TBR books.
I didn't really know how many books to try for in each category, so my decision to go with 6 was pretty much arbitrary. Here are the final results:
1. The Oldest Books in My Closet: 7 books
2. Books from the 1001 list: 6/6
3. More books from the 1001 list: 5/6 (in actuality, I read 20 1001 books in 2010--the others just went in other categories)
4. Big, Fat & Ugly: 5/6
5. Children & YA: 5/6
6. Non-fiction: 6/6
7. Magic Realism: 4/5
8. Canadian literature: 5/6
9. Award Winners: 6/6
10. Books Other People Want Me to Read: 19 books
Well, you can see that other people's ideas of what I should be reading took over and threw this all askew. Of course, no one is forcing me to read anything, but I included this category to show the reading commitments I had that distracted me from my TBR pile. Of these books, 1 was for school, 3 were for my book club, 2 were books friends force into my hands, 5 were ER program books, and 8 were books I read for Belletrista.com.
So obviously I'm not going to do the 11-11 challenge--it isn't going to help me manage my TBR pile. If you want to follow my reading, please join me at Club Read ( http://www.librarything.com/topic/104427), or my Books Off the Shelf challenge ( http://www.librarything.com/topic/104871).
The 1010 Challenge was my first big one. As the year went along, I realized that I should have had a category or two that allowed me to read things that didn't fit the other categories. I designed my 11 in 11 with that in mind. I also only committed to 7 in each category although I did read over 100 last year. (I allowed myself flexibility of up to 11 in each.) We will miss you though!
I still plan on following the group though and seeing what other people are doing, so I'll be around. I think your plan makes lots of sense, and I could do that too. But I'm kind of challenged out. My only real goal for 2011 is to read one big book a month, starting each first day. Other than that, I will continue to try to reduce my TBR.
This topic is not marked as primarily about any work, author or other topic.