"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." —J. R. R. Tolkien

Sunday, January 03, 2010

My Book Picks of 2009

Happy New Year, everyone! 2010 is going to be a great year all around. I just know it!

So I set a goal at the start of 2009 to read 50 books. The good news is that I made it to 88 books for 2009! Very, very fun to be reading so much!
The bad (?) news is that I had a list of about 8 classics I'd planned to read. How many did I get through? 1/2. Yes, I made it half way through UNCLE TOM'S CABIN by Harriet Beecher Stowe (which I do plan to finish at some point).

I'm setting the number at 75 for 2010. Why not more than 88 you might ask? Because I feel like I read enough in 2009, and I don't want reading to ever become a point of stress. I love to read and don't want to feel like its a chore or a job at any point. So 75 it is for 2010. Who's with me?

Here's how I summarize the reading for the year:
  • MG: 38
  • YA: 45
  • Adult: 5
Here are my "best of" awards for the year in reading:

Best MG: CITY OF EMBER by Jeanne DuPrau
I loved CITY OF EMBER! I read it start to finish in a single sitting. It was filled with action and adventure and suspense. I did read book 2, THE PEOPLE OF SPARKS, but it didn't come close to its predecessor for me, and so I didn't continue on with the series. But CITY OF EMBER totally rocked and I recommend it at the library all the time.

Best Series: GREGOR THE OVERLANDER by Suzanne Collins
This five book series is the perfect MG series to recommend to elementary and middle school fantasy readers. It's neat and clean, well-planned, and an overall solid series entirely.

If I had to name one novel that fit my style the most for the year, this is it. It's like the novel I wished I'd written (though I have no intention of writing zombie novels any time in the near future). I can't wait for March when the sequel comes out!

Most Anticipated that lived up to it: CATCHING FIRE by Suzanne Collins
I'm so looking forward to the conclusion of the trilogy. CATCHING FIRE met and exceeded my expectations. I can't wait to find out what happens (but I love the anticipation, too).

Best Adult: THE LIFE OF PI by Yann Martel
I loved this novel. I was so awed by the power of the end. I dream of writing like this and am so happy I read no spoilers ahead of time. Totally recommended.

Made the Biggest Impact: LIFE AS WE KNEW IT by Susan Beth Pfeffer
Aside from not being able to put this book down, after I finished reading it, I started buying extra canned goods each time I went shopping. The vivid images of the apocalypse and being hungry were very impactful (to say the least).

Best Graphic Novel: RAPUNZEL'S REVENGE by Shannon/Dean/Nathan Hale
Okay, I only read one graphic novel, so there really wasn't much competition here, but I loved everything about this book from the text to the pictures to the overall look and feel.

Best Page Turner: THE PATRON SAINT OF BUTTERFLIES by Cecilia Galante
This book hooked me from the first word. I stayed up late into the night reading it. A (very) close second to this was THE CHOSEN ONE by Carol Lynch Williams. Hmmm... maybe something with kids in trouble at communes?

Best Audiobook listened to: PEEPS by Scott Westerfeld
It was a light audiobook year for me. I only made it through 10. That said, when I started listening to PEEPS, I didn't think I'd be keen on the narrator, but I ended up loving the narration to the point that I was disappointed at the different narrator in the sequel THE LAST DAYS (which I listened to next).

Book I'd recommend to all teens and parents: TH1RTEEN R3ASONS WHY by Jay Asher
This wasn't my favorite read of the year, but I would recommend it to every teen and their parent I know as a great book to read and discuss together. Whether I agree with the thoughts of the main character, this really captures how teens think. So read it already!

So there it is: a year of reading summed up in one short blog post.

How about you? What were your favorite reads of the year, and how many books to you plan to aim for in 2010?

And Happy New Year!


Tricia J. O'Brien said...

I loved City of Ember and Catching Fire. Sitting in my TBR pile are Life As We Knew It and the The Forest of Hands and Teeth so I guess I should move them to the top of the pile!
Among books I really enjoyed this year were The Adoration of Jenna Fox and Libyrinth.
Happy New Year to you, too!

Keri Mikulski said...

Great list.. Loved 13 Reasons Why..

Not much reading this past year, but I'm vowing to do more in 2010. :)

Happy New Year!

beth said...

Love the way you did this list. I might have to copy you in the future...

I'd say the best book to recommend for teens was RAMPANT--it's ideas on sex and whether or not to do it and what constitutes rape was brilliant done. Not preachy, but factual and emotional and realistic.

Best book I read...MG = The Shifter; YA = The Forest of Hands and Teeth...and The Hunger Games.

Anna said...

You've listed so many of my favorites! This cracked me up: "After I finished reading it, I started buying extra canned goods each time I went shopping." I did the exact same thing right after I read Life As We Knew It! My husband laughed at me, but the book made him pretty paranoid too. :-)

Anonymous said...

Isn't it funny how the classics keep moving to the bottom of the pile? True for me, too, even after years of being a Lit major! Maybe try Great Expectations? One of the funniest books I ever read. :)

Danyelle said...

Awesome list! And awesome books. Hopefully 2010 will be even better. :D I still have to read City of Ember. Time to get it out of my TBR pile.

susiej said...

Great list. My daughter's been wanting 13 Reasons Why after her teacher recommended it. And Gregor the overland is one of my son's most favorite series.

Life Of Pi is unforgettable. I loved subtle humor/social crit of first half but cringed a lot in the second. Would love to hear your take on that island. Have never found anyone who thinks on it as much as I do. (I admit I look for symbols in everything.)

BTW I posted my list of reads and Emerald Tablet is on it. http://elfmama.livejournal.com/

PJ Hoover said...

You will love both, Tricia! i loved ADORATION also, but have not read Libyrinth. I'll have to move it up in my stack :)

It's a great goal for 2010, Keri! Reading has really helped me relax. Not to mention it's helped me be more objective.

Totally copy, Beth! And I'll have to read RAMPANT also. Not preachy is good :) Also I've been eying THE SHIFTER. And if you recommend it...

PJ Hoover said...

I am so glad I'm not the only one, Anna! I became psycho after reading the book. What a vivid impact it made. And my husband totally laughed at me, too :)

It's funny, Becky? Really? Then I will have to check it out. I have rarely heard of a classic referred to as funny :)

Danyelle, THE CITY OF EMBER was a great read. Very quick, too. I loved the world and the characters so much!

Susie, the island was a little baffling to me too. What do you make of it? in fact my husband almost debunked the whole end of the novel based on the island. I was speechless after I finished reading it. (and yes, it was very cringe-worthy).
Thank you for including EMERALD TABLET in your list of reads! I am flattered and so happy you enjoyed it!

MG Higgins said...

Life as We Knew It and City of Ember are now on my list. Thanks for the recommendations and Happy New Year!

Carrie Harris said...

I posted my favorite reads for the year already, and I'm totally with you on the challenge for 2010! I'm planning on doing at least 50 books, as well as the 2010 Debut Author Challenge!

The best part about this is obviously the excuse to buy more books. :)

PJ Hoover said...

They're great books, MG! Happy New Year to you too!

I so agree with that excuse, Carrie! I LOVE getting new books :)

TerryLynnJohnson said...

You always manage to do things in a unique way. Love how you've organized these books. I've also got a list on my blog. (and a book give away contest)
I've been looking everywhere for the Emerald Tablet, but may have to order from Amazon and pay the $9.00 shipping to Canada! I'll do a review on my blog when I'm done.

Patty P said...

Great list, Trisha! Most I've read and couldn't agree more with your comments. Loved, loved, loved Patron Saint...a perfect novel for me.
And wow...88 books. That's a serious amount of reading! Good job!

PJ Hoover said...

Thanks, Terry! The list was very fun to make! And thank you for looking for THE EMERALD TABLET! I do have my doubts that many places in Canada have it.

Hey Patty! Hope all is going great! Yes, PATRON SAINT hooked me. I found it amazing and wished more people had read it. So glad you have!

Heather Zundel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Heather Zundel said...

And the best part is, Calamity Jack, the sequel to Rapunzel's Revenge comes out tomorrow! Happy dances all around.

PJ Hoover said...

Oh, I had no idea, Heather! I'll have to check it out!

Robyn Campbell said...

Thirteen Reasons Why is a MUST read. I totally agree. I was left wondering how I feel about it, but consider it EXACTLY how teens think. And I MUST read City Of Ember. What good is it sitting collecting dust? Thanks for reminding me about it.

Oh and I'm rereading the classics too. Uncle Tom's Cabin has to be on my list. Right now I'm reading Big Red and Ivy is going to read it for school.

Great way to do your list. I love it.

Happy New Year!!

I start querying some time next week. Wish me luck, success and all that jazz. :0) Oh and I would include The Emerald Tablet. Fantastic read. Ivy wishes I wrote this. At least I know the author, so that makes me cool too. :0)

PJ Hoover said...

Robyn, you are so sweet as is Ivy! Such nice things to say!
Yes, read EMBER!
And GOOD LUCK on the querying! What an exciting time. Enjoy it above all else.
(and you are totally cool)

Miriam S. Forster said...

City of Ember and Life as We Knew It are both amazing! I'd have to say my favorite unexpected series of the year were the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher.

My favorite YA was Sucks to be Me by Kimberly Pauly. I finished reading it and wanted there to be a sequel RIGHT NOW! Silver Phoenix and the Emerald Tablet were also awesome. :)

PJ Hoover said...

Thanks, Miriam! I'm really glad you enjoyed EMERALD!
I remember your review of Suck to be Me, and I keep thinking I want to read it based on your review. It's still on my list. Maybe I'll wait until paperback at this point.

Kelly said...

Love your pics! I didn't read fifty books, but I read more than I have in many years! I loved The Forest of Hands and Teeth too! I have so many to catch up on!

PJ Hoover said...

I'm slowly catching up, Kelly, and looking forward to some great reads in 2010! Yay for you for reading so much in 2009!

Kiki Hamilton said...

I loved your list with pictures and made a note to do that on my own blog in a year!!! I recognized most of those books but sadly, had only read a few. Some are waiting on the shelf for me even as we speak. It's all about TIME ..... !

PJ Hoover said...

Thanks, Kiki! There is so much great stuff to read!
I'll look for your post next year :)