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2009: the year in review

Oh, goodness, is it really 2010 already? Happy new year! Though, technically, the new decade doesn’t start until next year. It seems like yesterday I was standing in some stranger’s backyard in London watching fireworks in celebration of Y2K (my family had been vacationing in Egypt for Christmas—in a mostly Muslim country, go figure—and we stopped in London on our way back to the States). That was the year that Robbie Martin’s “Millennium” was playing, over and over again! I wasn’t keeping a reading journal or keeping track of what I read back then, but I do remember what I read in December or January of that year. Death on the Nile was one, as was One Hundred Years of Solitude (I was on a Gabriel Garcia Marquez kick that fall and winter, and read everything I could get my hands on by him). I also read a fair bit of Judith Tarr that winter.

As for five years ago, this time last fall and winter, I read books like I Am Charlotte Simmons (memorable because it was awful), a bit of Jean Plaidy, a lot of David Liss, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, The Master, by Colm Toibin, and The Egyptologist, by Arthur Phillips. I’d just started reviewing books on, and that’s why I can better remember some of these books.

This time last year, when I’d been blogging for about a year, I read books like A Foreign Affair, Niccolo Rising, Drood, and Bleeding Heart Square.

As for more recently, this year I finished a total of 141 books (the full list can be found here), which is actually one more than I finished last year! I was introduced to some new great authors, including Susanna Kearsley and Cynthia Harrod-Eagles, and I became more familiar with the novels of Elizabeth Chadwick, Mary Stewart, and others. Prior to this year, I’d only read one of Persephone’s titles; but after reading The Priory in March and visiting London in September, where I went to the incomparable Persephone Bookshop in Lambs Conduit Street (twice), I’ve now read four more, am currently read Susan Glaspell's Fidelity, and have a number of others on my TBR pile.

I also returned to a lot of authors: 28 of the authors I read this year were second-time-arounders, and countless others I’ve now read three or more of their books. I read 59 new-to-me authors.

I seemed to read a lot of historical fiction this year, and “traveled” to: England, Scotland, United States, Italy, Egypt, France, Spain, Russia, Ireland, Wales, Turkey, Mexico, China, Canada, Japan, Norway, and Greece. In time, I’ve traveled everywhen from ancient Egypt to present-day. To be sure, I read some duds this year, but they seemed to be fewer and far between—maybe I’m getting better at picking books I’ll like?

I went back to my reading list for 2008, to see what my goals were for 2009—to reduce my TBR pile “to a more manageable size.” Ha! At the end of last year, my list was about 100 books—now it’s nearly double that size, about 190 (not all of which are books I own, but I’m rather indiscriminate about the books I add to my TBR!).

The stats:

Number of books read: 141
Number of re-reads: 1
Number of distinct authors: 110
Male authors: 19
Female authors: 91
Most frequent author: Cynthia Harrod-Eagles (11)
New-to-me authors: 69
Second-time around authors: 28
Longest book completed: New York: The Novel (Ballantine; 860 pages)
Shortest book completed: The Victorian Chaise-Lounge (Persephone; 99 pages)
Most productive month: May, August, November, December (14 books each)
Least productive month: February (6 books)
Books first published in 2009 (my edition):
Reviews posted in 2009: 49

Genres (some may overlap):
Fiction: 131
Chick lit: 4
Historical fiction: 94
Classics: 7
Mystery: 14
YA: 0
Short Stories: 0
Nonfiction: 10
History: 8
Biography: 2
Memoir: 2
Women’s Studies:
Essays: 2

Books from the 1001 Books to Read Before You Die list: 1
Author nationalities: US, UK, Canadian, Spanish, Dutch, New Zealand, Italy, Norway
Settings (country): England, Scotland, United States, Italy, Egypt, France, Spain, Russia, Ireland, Wales, Turkey, Mexico, China, Canada, Japan, Norway, Greece, Netherlands
Settings (US states): New York, New Jersey, Indiana, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Vermont, Iowa, Washington

Favorite books of 2009:
Everything by Elizabeth Chadwick
Sophia’s Secret
The Priory
The Last Queen
The Angels Game
The Jewel Box
The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte
In a Dark Wood Wandering
Cleopatra’s Daughter
anything by Mary Stewart
The Street Philosopher
The King’s Mistress
The Making of a Marchioness
Miss Buncle’s Book
The Lacuna
Little Bird of Heaven

Least favorite books of 2009:
The Reliable Wife
The Russian Concubine
The Dud Avocado
The Traitor’s Wife
The Swan Thieves


Katherine, it's an honour to be in your list. Here's a New Year's gift for you in return (always happy to share Robbie Williams, he's one of my favourites :-)
Serena said…
Wow, 141 books...that's a lot. I barely reached 100 books...but I reviewed them all! Thanks for the recap.

Happy New Year
Gwendolyn B. said…
Wow! That's a pretty impressive wrap-up and a lot of books read! Hope you have as much fun in 2010! Happy New Year!
Marg said…
Susanna Kearsley is one of my favourite discoveries of last year, and both Alex and I chose The Winter Sea/Sophia's Secret as our favourite of the year for Historical Tapestry's end of year round up.
GUIS said…
Happy blogoversary!

Happy new year!
SueFitz said…
Wow great summary - Hope that I can borrow and you won't mind.

Congrats on your blogoversary!
Aths said…
Happy New Year!!

141 books? Holy Smokes! I only read one-third of that, what with school and all. But hopefully, this year will be better!

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