Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The 50-Book Challenge (2010)

Around the beginning of 2009, I came across a challenge on a forum I used to frequent called "The 50-Book Challenge." The challenge: to read 50 books in a year. I once got asked on average how many books I read, and I'm a fast ready, so I said that I could probably read about 1 a week, give or take the size of the book and my interest in it. So, I decided to start to keep track of all the books I read in that year. I actually ended 2009 with 51 books! (Why I didn't blog about it, I don't know. ^_-)

So, I decided to list the books I read last year -- 2010. I once again surpassed the challenge and actually read 57 books. Oooo! *LOL* Anyway, here's the list, with a few notes about whether I recommend it), and after I will make a few comments about some specific books.

Books Read During 2010

 1. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum
 2. Midnight Never Come by Marie Brennan
 3. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
 4. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (Recommended)
 5. Guardian's of the West by David Eddings (Re-read) (Recommended)
 6. King of the Murgos by David Eddings (Re-read) (Recommended)
 7. Demon Lord of Karanda by David Eddings (Re-read) (Recommended)
 8. Sorceress of Darshiva by David Eddings (Re-read) (Recommended)
 9. The Seeress of Kell by David Eddings (Re-read) (Recommended)
10. Dreaming in Hindi by Katherine Russell Rich
11. Confessor by Terry Goodkind
12. The Virgin Suicides by by Jeffrey Eugenides
13. The Know-It-All by A.J. Jacob (Recommended)
14. Eragon by Christopher Paolini
15. The Tennis Partner by Abraham Verghese (Recommended)
16. The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards
17. The Virgin of Small Plains by Nancy Pickard
18. Dealing with Dragons (Enchanted Forest Chronicles, #1) by Patricia C. Wrede
19. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen (Re-read) (Recommended)
20. Animal Farm by George Orwell
21. Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
22. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd (Highly Recommended)
23. The Marvelous Land of Oz by Frank L. Baum
24. Ozma of Oz by Frank L. Baum
25. Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
26. Moon Called by Patricia Briggs
27. Searching for Dragons (Enchanted Forest Chronicles, #2) by Patricia C. Wrede
28. Calling on Dragons (Enchanted Forest Chronicles, #3) by Patricia C. Wrede
29. Talking to Dragons (Enchanted Forest Chronicles, #4) by Patricia C. Wrede
30. The Scent of Rain and Lightning by Nancy Pickard
31. Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach (Highly Recommended)
32. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (Recommended)
33. Elantris by Brandon Sanderson (Re-read) (Recommended)
34. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
35. Home: A Memoir of My Early Years by Julie Andrews Edwards
36. Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson
37. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See (Recommended)
38. Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz by Frank L. Baum
39. Maximized Living Nutrition Plans by K. Roberto and Dr. Lerner
40. The Road to Oz by Frank L. Baum
41. Steampunk-Style Jewelry by Jean Campbell
42. Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs
43. The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale (Recommended)
44. Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella
45. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Recommended)
46. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (Recommended)
47. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (Recommended)
48. The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
49. Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin
50. Towers of Midnight (Wheel of Time, #13) by Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson
51. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
52. The Book of Time by Guillaume Prévost (English Translation)
53. The Gate of Days by Guillaume Prévost (English Translation)
54. The Circle of Gold by Guillaume Prévost (English Translation)
55. The Emerald City of Oz by Frank L. Baum
56. The Nutcracker by E.T.A. Hoffmann
57. The Patchwork Girl of Oz by Frank L. Baum

I would have to say my favorite book of all 57 I read was The Secret Life of Bees. Even though some might say this is just a simple coming-of-age story, something about it really struck me. (This was about halfway through my challenge, but it really resonated with me. I also watched the movie a few months back, and I found it a faithful adaptation.)

Another really good one was The Book Thief. I actually didn't know much at all going into the book, and it was eye opening for me, showing how even many Germans (just the regular folk) didn't have it too great during WWII either.

I don't normally pick up nonfiction, but having been part of a book club where we read some, I decided to venture out a little more. A fellow book clubber recommended Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers. It seems like the strangest book, and it is, but SO fascinating!! I think my favorite chapter is how the remains of victims of a plane crash can help determine what caused the crash. Very interesting stuff!! I don't think I would have normally even read a nonfiction book like this, but I do recommend it.

And, while some might think it a little pop fiction (which I used to try and stay away from, but, eh *shrug*), and young adult SciFi, I cannot help but mention The Hunger Games books. Quick, but engrossing reads, with an author that isn't afraid to kill off characters.

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan is such a sad tale, overall, not just because of the way Chinese women were treated back in the foot-binding days, nor because of the horrific act of foot binding (and all that it entailed), but because it follows two friends and how that friendship fares throughout the years. (BTW, have you ever looked at foot that has been bound. SO strange!! *shudder*)

And last to mention, is the hilarious The Know-It-All. It has so many funny anecdotes, that I would barely pick up book for night reading and chuckle, and Brian would say "Already?" Yes. Already! It's another nonfiction book, about a guy who decides to read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica and write about his experience. Thankfully, he doesn't comment on each entry, and not EACH of his entries is funny (some are thoughtful), but overall, I was highly amused.

So, there ya go! How about you? Any good reads last year? Any recommendations? (My "to-read" list is dwindling, so I appreciate any input. ^_^


Melinda January 19, 2011 at 4:35 PM  

I actually read 86 last year! Having a library less than 2 miles away really helps, and going every 3 days during the summer for Anna to stock up! I just read "Fairest" by Gail Carson Levine and I loved it! It was a fast and simple read, but the story is a lot of fun! You should also read the other books by Shannon Hale that are sequels of a sort to Goose Girl, if you haven't already. They are really fun reads as well, and each book is told from the view point of a different character. I hope this helps!

Charles Gramlich January 20, 2011 at 12:29 AM  

i read the Secret life of bees a year or so ago and thought it was decent. Not great but decent. I also read The Wizard of OZ and thought it was horribly written. I will never read any more of Baum's work. I've got a Sanderson I want to read. I enjoyed a lot of trashy books last year, reading a lot of pulp fiction type books. It's good there's a lot of books for a lot of different kinds of folks.

Christine January 20, 2011 at 4:02 PM  

I found some new authors last year that I've really enjoyed. A lot of noir paranormal romances. Stacia Kane being one of my new favorites.

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